Since1978, Montecristi Hat Company has been established as the world’s best custom hatter. Or is it milliner? Santa Feans have been lucky to have easy access to this top quality resource for men and women’s custom-made panama and fur felt hats. Situated in an historic residential district, on McKenzie Street, just a few blocks from Santa Fe’s Plaza, what once was an adobe home is now a quiet hive of the international hat making industry.
It was in the early 1970s that owner Milton Johnson developed a close connection with the hat making craft and styles within the Ecuadorian village of Montecristi. “I first visited South America in 1973. I had just finished reading “Cien Anos de Solidad” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and from that wonderful and fantastical novel I took the name Macondo, for the company I established for trading textiles and pre-Colombian artifacts. After two years wandering around Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia in search of product, I stumbled into the humble village of Montecristi, close to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador. There I encountered the intriguing and beguiling Montecristi Panama hat. Understanding and expounding the mystique of this legendary hat has become my life’s work. In 1978 I established Montecristi Custom Hat Works. During the 25 years since, we’ve acquired an international reputation as the world’s finest custom hatter, not only for Panama straw hats but for our fine fur felts as well.”
Milton’s collection is extensive and offers a wide variety of styles for men and women. His creations remain timeless through fashion’s changes. Just to mention a few in the women’s line, there’s the “Greta,” “Balenciaga” and the “Georgia O” modelled after Georgia O’Keeffe’s signature style. The wide brim definitely a necessity for spending hours walking or painting under the New Mexico sun. Most styles are available in Panama weave or fine fur felt.
Here’s Georgia with her good friend Orville Cox at Canyon de Chelly, photographed by Ansel Adams…a lovely image!
Whether you live in Santa Fe or are visiting, be sure to stop by and say “Hi” to Milton, and browse his unique and stunning collection of hats, hatbands and accessories. Or click the below link and get to his website to learn more. He creates and ships custom orders worldwide.
If you stop by maybe you’ll meet Leroy too, the ginormous and gentle Labradoodle welcoming committee. Whenever I pointed the camera at him, he turned profile as if knowing this was his “best side.”
For more information on Montecristi Custom Hatworks, call (505) 983-9598 and visit: http://www.santafeselection.com/unique-shops/montecristi-custom-hats-santa-fe For his best prices, remember to tell Milton you heard through Maria’s Santa Fe Selection. Thank you!!