As Spring Racing carnival is just about upon us, the search begins for the perfect race day look, whether for a classic look in black and white for Oaks Day, something floral and fun for Ladies Day, or the bold look that will turn heads and steal the show at Fashion on The Fields and Melbourne Cup. Those looking to crack the fashion trifecta need to consider not only the dress and shoes, but also – and perhaps most importantly – their crowning glory. 

Meet Zorza Goodman, one of Melbourne’s most talented and sought after milliners whose fashion aesthetic embraces beauty in celebration of unique bodies and looks. Goodman spoke to The Melbourne Critique about personal adversity, freedom through fashion and her latest collection that takes metallic and crystalline forms, creating pieces that double as wearable works of art.

Zorza, why millinery, and how did you come to work in this field of fashion?

I actually started off in science, but fashion kept pulling at my heartstrings. So, after my honours year, I went to TAFE and did fashion during the day and millinery in the afternoons. I have a strong belief in not just designing the dress but finishing the look with my own accessories. Millinery was also a cover up for a large facial scar on my forehead that I hated seeing, which was a bad reminder of an even worse childhood. My biggest issue in the fashion world was a complete lack of taste regarding the larger, more full-figured lady and gent. The only solution was to create for myself and loved ones.

Where do you seek inspiration for your work?

It’s funny. Everywhere! I will see a desert and think, what a hat that would make. I see a flower and all I want to do is dissect it to discover just how many petals I need and their shape. If you walk through life blind, there is no imagination, but if you are open and exploratory, it surrounds you with open arms and colourful swirls.

Your brand name is Taboo Millinery. What is in a name, and what sets your designs apart?

We all want something we can’t have, right? Same thing with my work! It’s Taboo! It’s bespoke, one-off, no one else can have another! My pieces bring whimsy and a story to tell. One client recently – funny enough another milliner – asked me for a piece. She described herself as a Viking warrior to me once before, so that is what she got: a crown of gold swirling between handmade beads. When she wore it, she stood out. You could see her posture was strong and the energy she gave off was fierce! She ended up winning Best Dressed at the races. What an honour. I will never mass produce; I will never repeat a design in another colour and I will always listen to my clients’ needs!

Is there a particular focus for your most recent pieces for Spring Racing Carnival 2017?

This year for me personally, it has been a battle royale, emotionally. I lost three family members and my identity in a way. I can see a clear divide in my work. First, they appeared as sweet nothings: light, airy floral crowns in pressed metal and all the colours of the rainbow. Then, my crystal collection: edgy and sharp, for a lady who has a goal to stand out from the beige crowd and show her real self.

What are your tips on trends and how to remain fashion forward this season?

Six months ago, I made my halos and crowns and they are now trending like hot cakes. Metals are always a winner with colour blocked dresses in pastels. Please, ladies. Every body is unique! Dress for your size. Do not hide behind your fabric! I refuse to wear black! Yeah, I have a belly and back fat, but God dang it, I am going to work it! If you cannot find anything that speaks to you, ask for help! Try things on! Get a garment sewn! Or if you are brave, there are milliners that offer you classes to learn how to make your own headpieces for the races. Live life to its fullest. With open heart, it’s more colourful!

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