In Rome, I particularly love the history, churches, sculptures and architecture and the fact that you can walk along a tiny cobbled street and turn the corner to find the Trevi Fountain. London is evocative of other eras and full of history.
The success of a hat definitely lies with balancing the personality of the wearer with the type of occasion. Don't listen to those rules about face shape.
Shopping can be a nightmare - first finding something to wear and then finding something to go with it, it's so difficult when there's so much choice. It can feel like entering a battleground.
I believe in originality, primarily. However, it's important to know what there has been before to aim in that direction. Art history informs us. It informs our mind. I like to look at books, exhibitions, paintings, as a computer, subconsciously taking on information.
Hats are the epitome of Englishness, and a royal wedding is the penultimate moment for a hat designer. I'm Irish, but I am a royalist and I believe in fantasy.
There is no attitude required. The hat brings the attitude. And when people try on a hat they like, it is a bit of fun. It makes them laugh. You don't laugh when you put on a pair of shoes, but you do with a hat.
There's a technicality to designing and wearing hats. A hat is balancing the proportions of your face; it's like architecture or mathematics.
The classic hat image was during the Forties and Fifties, and Elizabeth Taylor was the epitome of that; she was the ultimate celebrity of excess and glamour, and she worked major sun hats.
Hats are attached to special moments in people's lives - weddings, or the races. In difficult times, people still get married; they still want to look their best.
My mother had a sewing machine. I was never allowed to use it, but I was so fascinated by this little needle going up and down joining fabric together that I'd use it when my mother went out to feed the chickens.
What I love most about Her Majesty is that she has kept hats alive in people's minds for more than 60 years. You can't think of her without imagining her with a hat or a crown. I would, of course, love to design one for her.
At home, I had seven brothers, one sister. I sewed clothes for my sister's dolls although she was grown and gone away. I was a weirdo but didn't think I was a weirdo.
The only person I never made a hat for was my mother because my mother didn't really - she preferred to make her own hats. I mean, she was intrigued by everything, but she didn't want one of my hats. She made her own.
Women come into our shop for that ultimate moment in their life. They're buying a dream. They're buying a moment for themselves. That's what I sell - moments.
I empathise with the fact that people want to look their best. A hat is all about how it makes you feel - it's so much better than a nip and tuck, and a lot less painful.
Hats are for life's ultimate moments. They're worn at races, at weddings. Occasions many of us, who aren't royals and celebrities, only attend once or twice in a lifetime.
I love the romance of what I do, although because of Isabella, Lady Gaga and Grace Jones, people think I have crazy customers. Sometimes I get more enthusiasm from the housewife who wants a hat and believes in it.
Hat-making is laborious and time-consuming. It's a very tactile medium, and you can develop the skills, but it's one of those things: you either have it, or you don't. I love bringing something to fruition with my hands that gives people pleasure.
I was just, as a child, very different from the others, and didn't really care what they thought because you know, a child doesn't really have inhibitions; you sort of gain your inhibitions later.
Often, what makes my job so exciting is designing for the mother whose dream has been to wear one of my hats at her child's wedding. I feel as responsible for making her feel like a million dollars as I do for somebody in the public eye.