The renowned milliner, whose hats are favored by celebrities and fashion magazines, partnered with Airbnb on a special Fashion Experience at her Chinatown studio, where guests created a veiled headpiece. Here, Burris shares her favorite New York spots.

GIGI BURRIS is one of the world’s most sought-after milliners. The fifth generation Floridian, who now calls Brooklyn home, started out studying fashion at Parsons. It was natural for Burris to design a hat for each ready-to-wear outfit and, following a year at Parsons Paris, she returned to NYC to apprentice as a couture milliner. “I fell in love with this idea of craft and working with my hands, and I knew I wanted to do something in that old school realm,” Burris says. “My thesis collection was nominated for designer of the year, and people were into the hats more than anything else because they’re so unique.”

Seven years on, Burris has built a mini millinery empire that supports local artisans and turns out everyday hats—from felt fedoras to straw berets—for high-end stores around the world, as well as extravagant bespoke headpieces, feathered and beribboned, for brides, fashion shoots, and celebrities. “Our blocking factory is three generations; our flower-maker has been in business for over 100 years. I’m on a first name basis with my vendors and it’s just such a beautiful, old romantic way of making things,” says Burris, whose big break was being part of the 2014 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund. “There’s certainly a nod to femininity,” she says of her work. “But at the same time, it’s a bit subversive. You’ll see in our gritty Chinatown studio, there’s definitely a downtown element—it’s not lady. There’s something a little darker about it but it still has an element of whimsy.”


Burris hosted a headpiece-making workshop in her Chinatown studio, where guests sipped champagne and tried on hats, scoring personal styling tips from the designer. For the occasion, Burris commissioned cookies from her favorite bakery, that makes fondant versions of her hats.

The intimate group was guided through the process of creating a voilette—a veiled headpiece made with fine grosgrain ribbon, delicate lace, and silk flowers, which they got to take home. “A voilette is a little face veil,” says Burris. “It’s quite an advanced skill! It’s not lame and crafty but something special that they will be able to wear.”


“I live in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn but we recently moved our studio to Chinatown, so I find myself spending a lot of time there. It’s gritty for sure, but it’s a very New York experience.”

Coffee: Chillhouse on Essex St. It’s a coffee shop in front and a nail salon and a massage parlor in the back. They have great tonics and their manicure is one of the best I’ve had.

Cheap Eats:  My studio is right by Vanessa’s Dumplings. If I’m feeling like a splurge, I’ll get a scallion pancake.

Fine Dining: I love Ludlow House. They have a really good Peking duck restaurant there called Duckedup. My new favorite restaurant that’s just down the street is Jajaja. Tip: go during the weekday for lunch when it’s really quiet because the wait for dinner is insane.

Shopping: My favorite store is The Webster in Soho, it’s so chic and I love the staff there. My husband and I love John Derian for the home.

Nature: Our good friends have a place upstate near Hudson and our favorite thing is to take the train and stay with them or we’ll get an Airbnb for the weekend.

Workout: I worked with an amazing trainer before my wedding who has a holistic wellness studio on the Westside called J Train Wellness with an acupuncturist and massage therapist on site. It’s really immersive.

Hair: My good friend Tommy Buckett at Serge Normant has been doing my hair since I moved here. He’s the perfect person if you want a relaxed haircut that also looks expensive.

Beauty: I really like Mario Badescu for facials; it’s simple, inexpensive, and a very New York experience.

Bar: Our office is right by Mr Fong’s so we go there a lot. The Flower Shop down the street is really cute, and Mood Ring in Bushwick.

Galleries: I love the galleries in Chinatown. This neighborhood has so many cool young artists, and there’s more in Nolita and further east. You can walk around on a Thursday night and everyone’s having a little vernissage.

Souvenir: A really good tattoo. I think we have some of the best tattoo artists in the nation. That or a black and white cookie.


Experience in the Spotlight highlights visionary Airbnb Experience Hosts in their cities. Featuring experts including award-winning chefs, celebrated musicians, world-class architects, and professional athletes, we view each city through the eyes of local creatives as they share a wealth of insider tips, secret spots, favorite haunts, and the destinations that inspire their creativity.

Airbnb partnered with celebrity milliner Gigi Burris on an exclusive Experience in New York, where guests sipped champagne, got personal hat styling tips, and crafted a headpiece to take home.