About The Essential Hat

The Shop
The Shop

Opened in 1996 in High Street, Prahran East, the Essential Hat is a specialist hat shop stocking a comprehensive range of everyday and special occasion headwear for ladies and a wide selection of Panama hats for men.

Our High Street shop is open all year round, six days every week for customers to drop in and browse at their leisure. During the Spring Carnival season, we are open every day.

We carry a prêt à porter range of special occasion hats which includes original designs from studio milliners in Australia and Europe and also provide a made-to-measure service for clients who are looking for an individually designed hat to go with a particular outfit.

The Essential Hat is renowned for creating and providing award winning hats for the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, and in particular, the Melbourne Cup.

The Essential Hat provides a relaxed and peaceful atmosphere in which to communicate one's personal requirements. During your visit you will receive a sensitive understanding of your individual taste and needs that will ensure the personality of each hat matches that of its wearer, whether chic and stylish, elegantly restrained or gloriously glamorous.

We are recognised as one of the best millinery shops in Melbourne and Australia.




Who is behind The Essential Hat

inside the shop
Inside the shop


The Essential Hat is owned and run by Catherine Ellen, an international award winning milliner, who took over the business from its founder, Susan Drerup in 2013. The business has been operating since 1996.

Assistance is provided by a number of milliners and technicians throughout the year and more intensely leading up to the Spring Racing season.

ready for derby day
Ready for Derby Day