“I love the challenge of someone saying ‘I want this,’ and then putting my spin on it,” says Guip. “Especially for weddings, the less traditional something is, the more excited I am about it.”
She designs and constructs each headdress by hand in her downtown NYC studio using nature-inspired materials like feathers, silk flowers, glitter-flecked pinecones, and the occasional painted butterfly.
[My clients are] highly creative, worldly women who have a true sense of self. They have a lot of confidence and a sense of whimsy.
The resulting pieces are, quite literally, individual works of art. Since its soft launch last spring, the headdress collection has gathered a fashion-forward following that includes painter Tali Lennox, “Masters of Sex” star Caitlin FitzGerald, Alice + Olivia designer Stacey Bendet, and DJ Mia Moretti. This spring, Guip is taking her first bridal orders.
Wilhelm, she says, is about connecting to a place of joy, thinking out of the box, and imprinting one’s own signature on things. “[My clients are] highly creative, worldly women who have a true sense of self. They have a lot of confidence and a sense of whimsy.”
For custom orders, Guip generally consults with clients via email and, if they live in the area, invites them for a studio visit. Based off the desired color scheme and general headdress shape (many clients use the pieces online for reference), Guip personally hand picks materials from NYC’s flower district and online sources. To create depth, she likes to play with texture and incorporates offbeat pieces, like the spiky pastel buds she recently used in a custom headdress for Bendet, or synthetic foliage that she covers in sparkles.
Once I started making them, I couldn’t stop,” she remembers. “I was like, ‘This is so much fun!’
The line started by accident when – after more than a decade designing swimwear, loungewear, and lingerie for J. Crew – Guip started hand dyeing silks as a personal project. One thing led to another, and she was soon fielding orders and experimenting with new materials like feathers, which became a staple for both her headdresses and caplets.
“Once I started making them, I couldn’t stop,” she remembers. “I was like, ‘This is so much fun!’”
Now, she finds joy seeing how each piece naturally comes to life based off her clients’ requests.
“All of this has happened so organically and that’s how I want it to evolve. People start making requests and I just design into it.”
A selection of Wilhelm headdresses can be viewed online at wilhelm-nyc.com.
Custom orders can be placed via the website or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
– Text and studio photos by Larkin Clark; product photos courtesy of Wilhelm