JFOUND: Leonard, Melanie [MC2008] is a Beacon hatmaker

2019-Apr-21

Dear John,

I believe that Melanie is a member of the Class of 2008.

Mike

McEneney, Mike (MC1953)

[JR: Thanks, Mike. Much appreciated. FYI often if a story doesn’t look “Jasper-ish”, then I’ll ping Mike for a Jasper check”]

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On 4/19/2019 8:06 PM, Jasper Fjohn68 wrote:

https://highlandscurrent.org/2019/04/19/the-milliner-of-cold-spring/
The Milliner of Cold Spring
Beacon hatmaker opens shop on Main Street
By Alison Rooney on April 19, 2019No Comment

It’s never “Here’s your hat, what’s your hurry?” at Wynono & Company, the new Cold Spring millinery that will open on Main Street just in time for Easter.

In fact, it will be the opposite, says Melanie Leonard, a Beacon resident who hopes her stock of handmade hats and colorful vintage clothing will invite lingering. “I don’t want anyone to feel intimidated about coming in,” she says.

Years ago, Leonard felt intimidated about making hats, but she became friendly with a milliner, Ashley Ruprecht, who invited Leonard to her studio and wound up training her in the classic techniques.

After “falling in love with the process,” Leonard studied with Anya Caliendo, who does couture millinery. “By then I was able to make a good hat but not really express myself,” she recalls. “Anya is a strong Russian woman. She told me when things were awful, which was perfect for me! Each week you made a new style. Anya taught me true technique with her assessment of ‘nyet’ after hours of handstitching! I learned patience. Now I understand that it’s how someone feels in the hat that matters, and that I shouldn’t criticize myself if one stitch isn’t perfect.”

None of this was on Leonard’s mind growing up in Londonderry, New Hampshire, where her sartorial style was atypical. “I can truthfully say I dressed differently,” she says. “At 10 I walked around like a hippie, wearing big pants, colorful shirts. My mom would buy me Gap jeans, then we would cut parts of them out and put different fabric in.”

As a teenager Leonard recalls always being drawn to New York City; she would take a 6 a.m. bus from New Hampshire to wander around Central Park, the East Village and walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, then catch the 10 p.m. train home.

She attended college in the city, studying sociology and criminal justice at Manhattan College, and two years ago made the move from Brooklyn to Beacon with her husband, Stu McLaughlin, who is a creative director at a marketing agency and a photographer. They were joined a year ago by daughter Marlo. Leonard says she finds Beacon a “nice blend of my New Hampshire and Brooklyn backgrounds.”

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Leonard, Melanie [MC2008]

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