A Theatrical Background in MillInery



Orsini-Medici Couture Millinery

Elsie Collins: Master Milliner, Apparel/Costume Designer/ Dressmaker/Teacher.

"I literally wear every hat In this business!"

I am an award winning apparel/costume designer, milliner, and teacher.

My work has been recognised by the RI State Council on the Arts, with a grant award and an exhibition entitled, One Hundred Years of Fashion: 1850-1950 at the Slater Mill Historic Site.

I started my dressmaking training at the age of 10, with my master dressmaker mother, and sold my first dress design at the age of 16, to India Imports of RI.  

That dress eventually became their best selling dress for the next 35 years.

I went on to serve a three year apprenticeship to an Italian tailor in the late 70's, and honed my pattern making and apparel design skills at the

Rhode Island School of Design.

With 40+ yrs. in dressmaking,  a shop owner, and 20+ yrs. in the theater, millinery has been an easy transition.

Theaters my costumes and hats have been seen in include: 

The Walnut Street Theater  (Phila.,PA)

The Shakespearean Theater of Maine

Trinity Repertory Company (Prov., RI)

Barker Playhouse (Prov., RI)

Providence Performing Arts Center (RI)


The Edinburg Fringe Festival (Scotland 2012)

My clothing designs and hats have traveled all over the globe. They have found homes across the USA and Canada, and are living exciting lives in England, Scotland, Wales, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, as well as Finland, Norway, Sweden, and as far away as Australia, Malaysia, and China. I have also been lucky enough to meet people who have offered me new paths in which to apply my apparel and millinery skills.

Some of my most memorable clients include Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, Paula Vogel, world renowned master glass artist, Dale Chihuly, and educator Dr. Joan Countryman (assistant to Oprah Winfrey for her Leadership Academy for Girls in S. Africa). 

Published in the spring of 2015, were two romantic novels on which my hats and costumes were used for the covers.  Another memorable moment for me was meeting the great UK milliner Stephen Jones in Salem,MA. at his exhibition, 

Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones

I live vicariously through my hats!!  They have taken on a life all their own, and I now include my new label Orsini~Medici Couture Millinery in each one, in honor of my late, dear mother and grandfather, who passed their incredibly historic DNA on to me. Our family crest is now my new logo, with the addition of top hats on the bears!! (just couldn't resist!!). The Orsini name (meaning little bear!!) can be traced back to the Italian Renaissance, where the Orsini and Medici families ruled all of Tuscany for over 400 years. My grandfather was a descendant of Clarice Orsini, who married Lorenzo de Medici in the late 1400's.
Our cozy new studio is just minutes from the Blackstone River, and the Slater Mill Textile Museum,  in historic Pawtucket, Rhode Island, and is the largest studio yet. At just over 1,200 sq. ft. students from out of state have the convenience and the option of B&B-ing with us, for less than staying in a hotel!! Gourmet meals are served, as I love to cook as much as I love making hats!!!

We are a smoke free studio, but not feline free.  

Romeow is our new Director of Hospitality & House Manager (in training)

Romeow   Director of Hospitality & House Manager (in training)

"Romeow",   Director of Hospitality & House Manager (in training)