“I know MY FAIR LADY off by heart, and I worked in an accessory store when I was younger. I’ve always loved that transformative process and the quality of accessories,” says Christie Murray.
Christie, the founder and creative director of CHRISTIE MILLINERY, has always been creative.
“It runs in my family. My great grandmother was a great artist, and my grandmother was a seamstress. In my early twenties I found my first millinery shop, and I had this overwhelming intuitive experience that this was what I was meant to do,” says Christie.
“But the analytical side of me decided to continue training as a physiotherapist, and I ended up working as one in Australia and Canada for many years. I took years to trust and follow my gut instinct.”
Christie arrived at a turning point while holidaying back in Australia. At the time, Brisbane’s Gallery of Modern Art was hosting an exhibition by renowned UK milliner, Stephen Jones.
The same feelings Christie had about millinery years ago came flooding back after seeing the exhibition. She realised that she owed it to herself to follow this instinct. So she moved back to Australia and commenced millinery training in Melbourne.
“I remember the exact moment when I realised that I actually LOVED my job. I’d never had that until that point,” says Christie.
Christie Millinery is a reflection of its founder. The company produces every one of its headpieces with care, and an eye for detail.
“Each headpiece is designed to be the outward expression of my client’s inner creativity and drive. They are designed to make them feel like their true selves, and channel who they really are.”
Christie’s company was built on bespoke foundations, but in the last three seasons she has branched into high-end, ready-to-wear products.
“I’ve aspired to create a collection that tells a unique story. The theme for my upcoming Spring collection is ‘Wild in the Wind’. It’s based on a poem on alchemy, which really resonates with my career change and path. Fashion is all about telling stories, and I wanted people to experience and feel the narrative through my headwear,” says Christie.
Christie joined the CEA Fashion Incubator as an accessories member in 2013, transitioning to a business hub membership in 2016. She says that it’s the only program of its kind in Australia.
“I just needed help establishing my brand and didn’t know where to start. Honestly, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for CEA. The support that they give you is amazing, and so too is the wealth of knowledge from mentoring.”
Christie says it’s also handy, as a designer, to have access to a place where she can work and use the machinery.
“It’s also good to know that you are not alone and that there’s an entire building of supportive businesses and trades going through the same problems,” says Christie.
As Christie’s company grows, she hopes to provide further opportunities for professional milliners to utilise their unique skill sets.
“I want to be an ambassador for millinery in the 21st century,” says Christie.
Christie is currently producing an exclusive capsule collection of luxury headwear with iconic Australian label CAMILLA, set to launch across the country in October this year.