From simple two-toned pillbox hats to Alice in Wonderland-inspired creations, the Millinery Association of Australia’s first pop-up shop in Melbourne Central may appear small at first, but a closer look exposes an expansive array of hats.

Each creation is one-of-a-kind and handcrafted, and while the collection of colours and textures may seem overwhelming at first, the staff on hand assure us that nearly everyone who comes here looking for a hat finds one and the only way to appreciate the pieces is to go ahead and put them on.

A little bit of searching through the flurry of feathers, veils, lace and tiny ornamental birds indeed revealed an impressive range of styles and prices that should meet any race-goers needs. Showcasing the works of over 30 crafty artisans, this pop-up store is a surprising treat that runs until November 5.

We left our inhibitions at the door and embraced the intricacies of this refined and sometimes outlandish artisanal practice to bring you our top six millinery picks.

Meredith McMaster, Cream Straw Pillbox, $280
The pillbox hat is timeless and this cream and navy creation from Brisbane native Meredith McMaster is our top pick for understated class. The large bow adds just enough charm to keep it from being too simple.

Pamela Cameron, Mystery Mask, $290
This dark blue lace mask by Brisbane-based milliner Pamela Cameron reminds us of one of Lady Gaga’s outlandish costumes (in a good way). The veil over the eyes could leave you feeling a little mysterious and risqué – or maybe just putting it on will make you act so.

Susan Younis, SY 10, $340
This tall navy and cream piece of millinery looks like a wave – a very, very classy wave. The use of line is almost mesmerising and while tall hats can be slightly scary, Susan Younis’s attention to detail reveals a beautiful and simple shape.

Shara Gillahan, Georgina, $120
The simplicity of this headband, with a woven modern twist on a bow, will give plenty of room to experiment with outfit and accessories. Melbourne local, Shara Gillahan, specialises in classical elegance and a sense of sophistication and this understated millinery will appeal to many.

Annie Clifforth, No. 4, $350
The blue and black crumples along this headpiece makes it look like more like a refined and regal flower crown than traditional millinery. Melbourne’s Annie Clifforth works to represent classic fashion and haute couture and this creation is wonderfully whimsical.

Estelle Annabel, Harmony, $260
Estelle Annabe’s millinery is reminiscent of the 1920s. The detailed flower design, sequins and mint netting work in harmony to create a whimsical and sophisticated piece, fitting for the field.

You will find the Pop up Shop on Level 2, Melbourne Central in between Peter Alexander & Mimco.

Mon to Thurs 10am - 6pm
Fri 10am - 9pm
Sat 10am- 6pm
Sun 10am- 5pm