Photography by Trevor Smith

Nick Fouquet

Milliner

| Venice Beach

Rugged, self-assured and idiosyncratic, Nick Fouquet would be intimidating if he wasn’t the quintessential “salt of the earth.” He’s a handsome, incredibly kind dude who seems to turn everything into poetry— whether that be the simple act of living (he’s settled in places as far-flung as the South of France, Patagonia and Australia) or his life’s work (think resurrecting the art of millinery as a means for storytelling, but we’ll get to that later). In effect, Fouquet is Indiana Jones, Keith Richards, The Big Lebowski, Roald Dahl and Curious George all rolled into one— he’s a hat maker who wears more than a few hats. Designing under his own name out of a small Abbot Kinney studio, Fouquet credits a chance encounter with a cowboy as the genesis for his line of custom toppers with what he likes to call, “a bourgeois bohemian spirit and a lot of soul.” Working primarily with beaver fur felt, Fouquet designs each piece with its intended wearer in mind, wrapping his hats with various Indian and French florals, grosgrains and linens, and, from time to time, a spotted feather or vintage metalwork too. Each piece is unique— from its name (current styles include “The Tobacco Thief” and “The Belcampo”) to its patina (a sentimental, worn-in look he achieves via sanding, dirt smudging and even blowtorching). There is just one common element among them: a signature matchstick the milliner slips into each and every band. Hold one— or better yet, try one on— and it’s impossible not to feel its energy; first you sense the emotion between Fouquet and his craft, then the connection between the one-of-a-kind hat and you, its destined wearer. Come to think of it, we’d be surprised if mega-stars and hat aficionados like Pharrell, Bob Dylan and Madonna didn’t hit up Fouquet with personal orders (indeed they have). BTW, he’s been commissioned by the likes of LACMA, Stetson and Ralph Lauren’s Denim & Supply for exclusive NF designs too. Within the next year, his Venice Beach brand will surface in Miami and Japan— we call that proof Fouquet is putting hats back on the map in more ways than one… Here, he sits down with CITIPHILE to reveal his little black book on LA.

COFFEE OR TEA: Green iced tea at Flowerboy (MAP IT, x) because it’s right next door and it’s my friend’s joint.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANT: The Italian restaurant Barrique (MAP ITBOOK ITx)— the best food in the city served in the cutest bungalow. The food is unreal.

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: A virgin mojito from The Tasting Kitchen (MAP ITBOOK ITx). I’m there a lot!

AFTER-WORK HAPPY HOUR: Gjusta (MAP ITx) is a great after-work spot.

POWER LUNCH: Little Beach House in Malibu (MAP IT, x).

WHERE TO BRING OUT-OF-TOWNERS: I would take them up the PCH for a lobster roll at Neptune’s Net in Malibu (MAP ITx).

MUSIC PICK: I listen to a lot of soul and funk. Live shows at the Hollywood Bowl (MAP ITx) are always nice, but the ones at El Rey (MAP IT, x) are even better.

BEST BRUNCH: Rose Café (MAP ITx)! They recently renovated the space and it’s beautiful (plus, the food is awesome).

BEST PEOPLE WATCHING: The “boulevard of broken dreams” AKA the Venice Beach Boardwalk.

HEALTHY STAPLE: Mitsuwa Marketplace (MAP IT, x) for miso ramen.

GUILTY PLEASURE: Urth Caffé (MAP IT, x)’s pumpkin cake— can’t get enough.

LA’S BEST-KEPT SECRET: The Old Place (MAP ITx).

FIRST THING I MISS WHEN I’M AWAY: The beach.

REGULAR AT: Love Yoga (MAP IT, x) is great. They have an evening meditation that I’ve been loving lately.

DATE NIGHT STANDBY: I like to go to the Santa Monica Pier and play air hockey. It has a great view and I’m mad good at air hockey.

TO RELAX AND UNWIND: The Lake Shrine in the Palisades (MAP IT, x).

GO-TO GETAWAY: I love Malibu. First Point (MAP IT, x) is the best place to go surfing— it’s special.

CLOSET CHECK: My personal style is effortless; classic; bohemian; timeless; not contrived. I like rocking my own hats (MAP IT, x).

GIFTS FOR HER: I love sunflowers so they are my go-to gift for girlfriends. Flowerboy has rad flowers; I love that place.

BEST HOME DÉCOR: My home is beach bohemian. I treasure hunt to find objects that speak to me. My place is like an old shipwreck.

BEST HOST/HOSTESS GIFTS: Tortoise (MAP ITx).

GROOMING BLACK BOOK: I use Priv (x), a service app that offers massages in your own house. It’s what’s up.

FIT PICK: I surf often, workout minimally and, once in a while, try to play paddle tennis or volleyball with friends.

ULTIMATE LA MOMENT: When I first moved to Venice ten years ago, I was looking at places to rent and as I was walking out of “the one,” this guy started shooting rounds into the sky. It was hectic, but it felt like, “This is home!” Now, it’s all fancy here. CP

From L to R: First Row: Flowerboy; Venice Beach Boardwalk; Inside Little Beach House Malibu; Nick Fouquet hat. Second Row: El Rey Theatre; Love Yoga; Pasta from Barrique; Surf at Malibu First Point.

Shop

Street Talkerinstagram