‘Vibrant…nostalgic…individual.’ LITTLE SHILPA
Shilpa Chavan, the born and now Mumbai based milliner behind global brand Little Shilpa, has clients across the world clamouring for her fantastical, rainbow-hued hats. Launched in 2009 and named Little Shilpa because the designer herself is of tiny proportions; Shilpa’s first name name means ‘sculpture’ – a happy coincidence.
Shilpa studied science before realising her passion for headwear, and only by chance stumbled across millinery. Designing headwear for the Miss India Pageant for 3 years, she finally crossed the globe to attend the Central St Martins School of Art summer school and interned with Philip Treacy.
Defying categorisation, Little Shilpa’s millinery is an exotic blend of East meets West with everything in between mixed in for good measure. India itself is a strong source of inspiration both in terms of vivid colour and exaggerated adornment, and in ‘found’ objects that Shilpa may spot abandoned in the street – these can include toys, odd flip flops and old packaging. The juxtaposition between old India and its recent modernisation is boldly highlighted. There is a powerful vibe to Little Shilpa headwear, she has used military themes for several collections, and owing to the strong structural silhouettes and modernistic materials.
The resulting headpieces are truly show-stopping and anything but conventional, winning her admirers globally. One of these is Lady Gaga who has sported Little Shilpa creations since 2009, she wore two Little Shilpa Swarovski helmets for an interview with Flare magazine. Little Shilpa has also collaborated with leading fashion designers including Boudicca and Manish Aurora. In 2009 she took part in ‘Headonism,’ curated by Stephen Jones as part of London Fashion Week.
Little Shilpa millinery has been featured in international publications including Vogue, Another Man, Crash, Vogue Homme Japan and Mixte.