Add a touch of vintage flair to your race-day outfit with the help of a York designer who loves to raid the past

IF you like to make a statement, believe fashion is just another form of theatre, and have a nostalgia for yesteryear, then look up York designer Jo Pull.

Jo launched her bespoke label Knot & Bloom two years ago, specialising in using antique materials to create hats and headgear with their own historical story.

Ideal for a special occasion – such as a day at the races – each piece is unique and handmade, using beautiful vintage flowers, fabrics and beading sourced from specialist antique textile suppliers.

Jo has forged such good relations with these dealers that they often contact her to give her first dibs on finds.

"I have one supplier in Devon who often sends me photos of bits and pieces that I might want," she says.

These "bits and pieces" could be a plume from the 1920s, a vintage button, or an exquisite Edwardian fabric.

And her best find? "A pair of original 1920s flapper-style feathers. They were so delicate, and looked and felt fantastic. I used them on a comb."

It's all these things – and more – that go into making the one-off pieces in Knot & Bloom's collection, which are priced from £90 to £250.

Jo sells ready-made pieces, but also works with clients to make bespoke headwear for a specific occasion or to go with a particular outfit. Jo needs four to six weeks notice to prepare a bespoke piece for a client. These can be anything from a hat to a headdresses, a comb to a fascinator.

She shuns sinamay – the traditional fabric of milliners – instead relying on a mix of more eclectic materials. "My main point of difference is that I like to work with textiles.

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MAKE A STATEMENT: One of Jo's vintage-inspired designs

"My USP is to take something vintage and make it work for today. I love the colours, style and quality that you can get – and I love that element of theatrical style."

And she adores feathers too. One of her creations is a turban-like hat, wrapped in feathers. "That was a vintage hat that I found, took apart, and reworked. I love vintage with a contemporary twist."

Another is purple hat with a pink bow, inspired by the 1920s.

In her 2018 collection, you will find a mini top hat adorned with a piece of pink fabric from the 1920s that was originally a flapper-style headband. It has been brought up to date by the addition of some soft flamingo-pink goose feathers and a navy silk ribbon and tiny wool bow.

Another piece is based around a beautiful black feathered hair clip that Jo discovered. "Building on the idea of creating a statement that was intriguing and only really visible from behind, I created a centrepiece to the clip that includes vintage navy marabou feathers, vintage lilac and navy hackle feathers and a 1950s white and pink floral bouquet with velvet leaves."

Jo believes that headwear – whether hats, bands, or decorative combs – is the key to making a statement with your outfit this year.

"The Met Gala in New York this year was amazing. Headwear and headpieces were the focus and as important as the outfits everybody was wearing. It's great to see all these people being adventurous."

Jo, who hails from Northallerton, has a BTec in design from York College and studied textile design at Chelsea Art School. One of her first jobs was working in the archive of Liberty in London. "We dealt with 40,000 prints that we had to photograph and digitise," she recalls.

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DIY STYLE: Jo on her wedding day with the hair piece she made for herself

She got the idea for her business after making her own headpiece for her wedding – after failing to find anything suitable to buy.

She moved back to Yorkshire three years ago, settling in York, where she lives with her two small children. She said: "I love York. I love the vibe of the city. It has a rich and welcoming cultural feel to it and lots of exciting things are happening.

"And I feel York reflects me: there is lots of heritage here which needs to be preserved yet work for today."

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