Philip Treacy's feathered, fur-trimmed or velvety creations have little in common with conventional headwear. In fact, Treacy's glamorous and fantastical hat designs have completely re-defined modern millinery. Fashion leaders such as Franca Sozzani, Amanda Harlech and Isabella Blow (the latter has worn Treacy hats from the beginning of his career) covet his work. Oversized orchids, fans of pheasant feathers, model ships and Andy Warhol-style motifs have all decorated his deftly-sculpted hats.
Treacy was born in Ahascragh, western Ireland, in 1967. By the age of five, he was making clothes for his sister's dolls. His fashion education began in 1985 at Dublin's National College of Art and Design where he started to make hats as a hobby.
Following a work experience placement at Stephen Jones, Treacy began an MA womenswear course at London's Royal College of Art in 1988. However, he decided to ditch clothing design and take a place on the college's first-ever millinery course.
In 1991, at the age of 23, he started making hats for Chanel and, in the same year, won the Accessory Designer prize at the British Fashion Awards for the first time; to date he has won three such accolades. In 1993 he staged his debut fashion show during London Fashion Week, where Naomi Campbell and Christy Turlington walked his catwalk in return for free hats. In 1994 he opened his first boutique, in London's Belgravia, and in 2000 Treacy became the first accessories designer to be invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show his work during Paris couture week.
Treacy collaborates with some of the world's finest artists and designers, including Alexander McQueen and Vanessa Beecroft, and his work is displayed in museums such as the V&A and the Design Museum in London and the Irish Museum of Modern Art. In 2004 he won the Chinese International Designer of the Year Award; 3005 sees the completion of his first interior design project, at The G, a five-star hotel in Galway, Ireland.