About the Designer

Kate Brown Pernia came to millinery by way of the theater. She holds a Master of Fine Arts in Drama from the University of Virginia. Having sung and danced on Broadway, Kate turned from an acting career to focus on hats.

Kate BrownWhile in New York, Kate earned a Certificate in Millinery from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology, where she studied with Ann Albrizio. Her millinery work has been seen on stage at the New York City Opera, on Broadway, and at Carnegie Hall, as well as in regional theaters in Virginia, Alabama, and Houston, Texas.

As the resident milliner for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival for two seasons, Kate was responsible for all hats and headwear for more than thirty actors in ten shows a year. These ranged from helmets and crowns in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar and King Lear to headwear for pirates and Indians in Peter Pan, and included more elegant chapeaux in Lend Me a Tenor, The Rivals, and Little Foxes.

Kate's millinery work has also appeared in galleries in Los Angeles and Montgomery, Alabama, as well as at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft, Mixed Bag Gallery, and the Arts Alliance Center of Clear Lake. Kate also showed her work regularly with the Houston Area Fiber Artists' fashion and gallery shows around Houston.

For years, Kate designed custom hats and bridal pieces under her label Katrinka (a childhood nickname). She taught millinery at Houston Community College's award-winning Fashion and Interior Design Department for ten years, and gave millinery workshops for the Costume Society of America's Houston National Conference, USITT's Southwest Theater Conferences in Albuquerque, and in Fort Worth, Texas. Kate has also shown collections and taught workshops for Houston Area Fiber Artists and the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.

During her dozen years in Houston, Kate founded Houston Hat Net, a millinery interest network, to create occasions for Houston-area hat lovers to wear hats and encourage the appreciation of fine millinery. This group inspired the Museum of Fine Arts Houston to organize their Haute Hats exhibit in 2002, which showcased the beautiful works in their collection.

A relocation to Switzerland for her husband’s career for a number of years, in addition to other personal dislocations, put Kate’s millinery work on hold for a time, but she is back home living in Arlington, Virginia. Kate has a home studio for making one-of-a-kind hats and teaching the vintage art of millinery.

Contact Katrinka Fine Millinery for more information about hats and millinery classes. Kate Brown Pernia works with women in the Washington, DC, area.