Mark T Burke and His Yeats’ Inspired Millinery Collection

4 Nov
Born in Galway, milliner Mark T Burke has met with a meteoric rise to success. With a celebrity clientele, Mark is both launching a pop-up shop in Brown Thomas, running a millinery masterclass this November.
Mark T Burke

Mark T Burke

“I studied textile design in Galway and kind of fell into Millinery through working with theatre and costume design. The business grew organically and after winning accessory designer of the year in 2010  there was no looking back!”

How would you classify your style or look?

“My headpieces are understated yet have the wow factor. I keep them clean and sophisticated but each one has a unique element that makes it stand out as a true bespoke fashion accessory.”

What are your favourite styles; hats or fascinators?

“Hats, they’re much more popular this season. They are classic and timeless.”

Why do you think hats are so popular for the races?

“Every girl (and guy) loves an excuse to dress up, so why not. Ladies Day and dressing up for races is a great tradition. It adds class, excitement and fun to everyone’s social calendar.”

What trends will be coming into millinery for A/W 2013?

“Pastels will return and larger brims and classic hats will continue to dominate.”

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How can visitors to Ladies Days work this into their outfit?

I don’t think they necessarily have to! I would always recommend that one is faithful to one’s own style with a nod to what’s in trend, but not to be a slave to ‘what’s in’.

Do you think it’s easier to build an outfit around a hat, or find a hat to go with your outfit?

“It’s best to start with one key piece that you really love and that accentuates the look you want and then build the rest around that. Plenty of people start with the hat, others with the dress whereas some start off with a piece of jewellery! It can be a fun challenge to build the perfect look in this way and I try to cater to every style.”

 What attributes do you think a winning Ladies Day hat has?

“It must be original, elegant, well-made and appropriate to the outfit and the weather. It should be comfortable and secured well on the lady that has to wear it for the day.”

 Where do you get your inspiration from?

“Inspiration can come from anywhere. For bespoke pieces it comes from the client, their look and personality. For my own lines I draw inspiration from colour and art. For example this year my Autumn/Winter is based around the W.B. Yeats poem ‘He wishes for the cloths of Heaven’. The rich, deep colours and emotion of this iconic poem are echoed my current collection collection.”

Last year, Ascot banned fascinators and stipulated hats must have a base of at least four inches. What do you think about this?

“I think it’s great because Ascot is known for its elegance and tradition. It hosts timeless styles and they should preserve this look, I think the style was getting a bit blurred at Ascot for a while so it’s nice to see it back on track!”

Mark T Burke

What tips would you give to women when choosing the right hat for them?

“Stick to your individual style, consider proportion with your own proportions, make sure the outfit all goes together. Consider the event and the style that is expected but also tailor to your own comfort. It’s easy to look good in front of a mirror for five minutes but if that look needs to stay sharp for five hours it has to be well-made, secure, comfortable and above all you should be confident in it.”

Millinery Workshop

Mark is running a one day millinery course on Sunday November 17th, from his studio in Fitzwilliam Square, Dublin. If you would like to learn the tools of the trade, you can contact Mark at


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