Milliner Biographies
Laura Whitlock Millinery Lisa Farrell Millinery
Laura Hubka Millinery Loreta Corsetti Millinery
Carla Faso Millinery Veronica Chin
Burning Bush Millinery

Laura Whitlock Millinery

Milliner Laura Whitlock draws upon skills she learned, "Creating hats for characters from Juliet to Cleopatra to Lady Bracknell," to create period inspired hats with a decidedly contemporary flair. Laura refers to the fact that she began professionally as a milliner for theatre. "After receiving my BA in Theatre, with an emphasis in costuming," Laura explains, "and a lot of art history thrown in, I worked in regional theatres including San Diego’s Old Globe, The La Jolla Playhouse, and The Denver Center. I was fortunate enough to hone my skills with some of the finest theatrical milliners around."

Since settling in Chicago twelve years ago, Laura has continued to create hats for the stage as well as for film. Her local credits include work for The Court Theatre, The Lyric Opera, and Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. For the screen, she has created hats for The Babe, The Hudsucker Proxy and My Best Friend’s Wedding. Laura also teaches millinery and costume crafts to students at The Theatre School of DePaul University.

This costuming background sets the stage for her own line of hats, Laura Whitlock Millinery, which she founded in 1990. Her work includes pieces in fine fabrics from warm wools to lush velvets to airy silk organza, finished with impeccable hand workmanship. She creates hats, which range from cozy, practical winter cloches to fantastical floral cocktail whimsies. Laura is proud to list among her accomplishments having been a past president and a founding member of The Millinery Arts Alliance, Chicago’s only organization of professional hat makers. She was thrilled when the organization was named Victoria Magazine’s "Women Entrepreneurs of the Year" for 2002.

Laura's current collection of hats can be seen by appointment at her studio by telephoning 847-675-5150, or emailing. Laura's collection is also available at all MAA events.

Laura Hubka Millinery

Laura Hubka suspects she was a sculptor in a former life.  Although her designs often begin on paper, it is not until her hands and materials converge that her creations begin to take on life.  Like all artists, Hubka’s philosophy maintains that the creation of beauty is not a job it is a divine imperative. Sometimes your career chooses you.

 Because she takes great pride in her craftsmanship as a milliner, Laura Hubka trims each of her pieces with a delicate hand.  To her, a work of art is all about color and texture, the contrast between a plush velour and a shiny vintage buckle.  The silhouettes are often classic and never fussy.  The lines are clean and flattering to a woman’s face.  The result is contemporary, wearable and shamelessly feminine.

 A native Chicagoan, Laura Hubka studied millinery in both her hometown and New York City.  She has participated in events with the Chicago Cultural Center, The Peninsula Hotel, and GenArt.  In 2004, Hubka was honored to receive GenArt’s prestigious Fresh Faces in Fashion award.  Her designs have been featured in The Chicago Tribune, The Chicago Sun-Times, Women’s Wear Daily, and Chicago Social.  In 2007, Hubka was the millinery restorer for the Dennis Quaid film “The Express”.  Laura Hubka teaches classes at Judith M Millinery in LaGrange, Indiana.  (A list of class dates is available at

 Hubka’s work is available at all Millinery Arts Alliance events or at her Evanston studio by appointment only.  Photos of her couture hats and a list of upcoming events can be viewed at  “Hubcaps for Your Head”, Hubka’s popular line of polar fleece children’s hats,

is available at many stores in the Chicago area.  A complete list can be found at  Laura can be contacted at

(773) 704.8668 or by email.

Carla Faso Millinery

Carla Faso designs beautifully handcrafted hats that are vintage inspired. After receiving her BS, specializing in Clothing and Textiles, from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale she went on to further her design education at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Chicago. While attending IADT Carla won a fashion design scholarship to study at the Paris Academy. In Paris Carla had the rare opportunity to study under the accomplished milliner Prudence, who designs hats for Vivienne Westwood. With a diverse background in clothing design, textiles, retail buying, and business management Carla chose to focus her passion toward the millinery arts. Carla finds inspiration for her designs from the vibrancy of nature’s colors and textiles and from the varied richness of past cultures, art and historical events. With taking inspiration from the past, her hats are cutting edge for today’s fashion trends with emphasis on color, shape and detailing.

Carla’s hand blocked straws, felts, fabric and crochet hats are usually embellished with vintage finds or her own hand crafted flowers and beaded trims. She believes that a beautifully designed hat can transform the wearer to an elevated sense of confidence, sophistication and flirtation.

Hats are available by appointment only in her Glenwood, IL studio, (708) 955-3432 and all MAA events. More photos of her couture hats can be viewed at

Lisa Farrell Millinery

Lisa Farrell has a diverse professional background from costume design to retail sales of women’s apparel and accessories for the home.  As a milliner, she designs inspired fashion pieces, intended to be worn and admired.  

Lisa's hand-blocked felts, straws and fabric hats are often embellished with handmade flowers of her own creation.  Silk embroidery, feathers and other well-crafted trims beautifully detail her classic and one-of-a-kind creations.  In pieces such as her signature chapeau, which she calls "Big Bird," Lisa shows a sense of whimsy as well.  The hat is a black satin pillbox crowned with rows of glorious iridescent coque feathers.  The effect is humorous, startling, and no less than glamorous. When asked to describe her work, Lisa sums up her hats as "Simply divine little confections for the head!"

 Lisa's work is known across the country and has been showcased internationally in The Hat Magazine from the United Kingdom in its January/February/March 2006 issue. Her dazzling designs have been featured in Lucky Magazine, Women's Wear Daily, numerous local papers such as: The Chicago Tribune and The Chicago Sun-Times just to name a few as well as appearances on ABC 7 News, WGN Morning News and CBS 2 News in Chicago. 

Lisa's achievements have been many.   Her proudest moment came in December 2002 when she was honored, along with her fellow colleagues of the Millinery Arts Alliance, as Victoria Magazine's "Entrepreneurs of the Year."  

 In 2000, Lisa opened Ooh-La-La, her millinery shop and studio in downtown Highland Park.  "Founding Ooh-La-La was the realization of a life-long dream," she states.  Inspired by the millinery salons of Paris, her tres chic boutique showcases her work in a sumptuous setting.  The shop's stunning decor features the sculptural beauty of Lisa's collection of over 400 vintage hat blocks, which she uses to shape her lavish and lovely creations.

 Ooh-La-La is located at 441 Central Avenue, Highland Park, IL 60035.  Phone: 847.433.5646.  Hours are Tuesday 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., Wednesday to Saturday 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. or by appointment.  Closed Sunday and Monday.  

Website:        Email

 Lisa Farrell Millinery is also available at all MAA events.

Loreta Corsetti Millinery

Loreta Corsetti has a passion for the past, everything from the Italian Renaissance to the innovative age of Art Deco, she takes her inspiration from the obvious to the obscure and occasionally from the absurd. By applying these aesthetics to her lavish line of chapeaux, Corsetti has built and tailored her millinery business to appeal to both art lover and hat connoisseur alike.

With a background in fine art, Miss Corsetti studied fashion design and was trained in "Haute Couture", a French term meaning high sewing. She took a semester of millinery and with techniques similar to sculpture, she fell in love with the craft.

Following college, she began her career by designing bridal headpieces for The Ultimate Bride until she was hired by a local hat shop owner as head milliner. Within three months, she was running the shop but longed for a place of her own.

In 1989, Loreta opened a boutique featuring rare, vintage apparel along with her own label couture pieces. Almost immediately, she noticed that her clientele were drawn to the hats she made mostly to adorn the shop. Recognizing the demand, she decided to streamline her business by converting retail to wholesale and focusing solely on millinery. Two years later, Loreta was selling her collections to some of the finest boutiques in the city. A year later, to Nordstroms and Henri Bendel.

The designer is known for her unequaled adornment and exquisite craftsmanship, utilizing Old World techniques and the finest materials to produce novel, avant-garde shapes. Embellishment, her strength, is the essential element in all her work and sets it apart from others. When creating a chapeau, Loreta incorporates the antique and vintage trims gathered from markets and vendors she visits in London, Paris and Florence with her own detailing. By hand, she constructs her own intricately beaded appliques, cuts, curls and assembles feather sprays and makes a variety of silk and leather flowers by using brass iron presses purchased on Portobello Road. Merging the past with the present is her way of preserving the art form but Miss Corsetti finds that embracing experimental ideas is the key to her success.

In November of 2005, Loreta Corsetti opened her millinery atelier in Chicago's Gold Coast. She wanted to create an atmosphere where women could enjoy the luxury of privacy and personal attention while choosing the perfect chapeau or ordering a custom made piece. The room is extremely feminine with details like hand painted egret feathers on the ceiling and a deco vanity which shelves support a collection of crystal, enamel, mother of pearl and cut steel buckles. It reflects the mood of the original millinery salons of Europe in the early part of the last century. Clients range from socialites to women who save up just to treat themselves once or twice a year.

Along with co-founding The Millinery Arts Alliance, Miss Corsetti counts the following accolades as high points in her career. Loreta has been featured in many magazines including WWD and Elle but will forever be proud of being named " Entrepreneur of the Year" in 2002 by Victoria Magazine along with fellow members of The Millinery Arts Alliance.

In 2005, her dear friend and colleague Laura Whitlock invited Loreta to partner on a commission to design and create the hats for director Robert Altman's production of " A Wedding", an opera which premiered at The Lyric Opera of Chicago. This opportunity was significant because seldom does a head costume designer allow milliners that kind of freedom.

In 2007, Loreta achieved a life long goal won an award for her work from the prestigious " Cappello del Mondo" international hat competition. Her work was chosen among hundreds of applicants from around the world to be featured in a permanent exhibit at the Museo del Cappello in Italy. Miss Corsetti is the first milliner from the United States to receive this honor.

1137 N. State Street, Suite 2r, Chicago, IL 60610
By appointment only via phone (312-640-6004)  or email

Veronica Chin, Burning Bush Millinery

Veronica Chin drew upon a teacher's vast knowledge of hat making to create Burning Bush Millinery in 1988. After receiving a BFA/Fashion Design from Washington University/St. Louis and a MS/Textiles, Enviroment and Design from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and working in the L.A. fashion industry, she has taught beginning and advanced millinery for over twenty-five years in many Chicago area colleges. Ms. Chin is currently teaching at the Illinois Institute of Art-Chicago and the College of DuPage. Twice a year Veronica ventures to the Amish country of Indiana to teach workshops at JudithM Millinery to milliners from all over the U.S. and Canada. She has taught hundreds of students throughout her career and many were inspired to become professional milliners themselves.

Twenty years ago, Veronica sought an outlet for her own artistic energy, and Burning Bush Millinery was born. Her hats are all one-of-a-kind, ranging from the classic to wearable art pieces. "I beleive in quality workmanship and materials"Veronica says. "Most of my hats are hand-blocked and hand-sewn. Many of the trims are crafted by myself as well." In addition to producing high-quality millinery, she seeks to delight as well, " I truly enjoy when I see a customer smile and maybe even giggle at my hats."

Veronica's designs have been featured on local Chicago TV news(Channel 5 and 7). local newspapers(Chicago Tribune, Sun Times and Pioneer Press) and a host of fashion magazines, such as Women's Wear Daily, Britain's Hat magazine and Victoria Magazine's August and December 2002 issues. Victoria Magazine awarded Veronica's millinery design expertise along with fellow members of the Millinery Arts Alliance as "Women Entrepreneurs of the Year" for 2002.

Veronica markets her hats through an ambitious schedule of trunk shows and artist's markets.Her collection is available at her studio (847)615-9035 and at all MAA events.

The Millinery Arts Alliance creating hats for the Chicago area