A work of art that happens to be worn on your head is the best way to describe the creations of milliner Diana Cavagnaro whose atelier/fashionable loft is located in the heart of the Historic Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, California.

Diana is a national celebrity whose credits include numerous appearances on television, as well as articles in newspapers and magazines discussing the Art of Millinery, Fashion, and Hat Making. Diana’s creations have adorned the heads of many stars, celebrities, and socialites. Many of her designs are made for her customers who attend the Kentucky Derby, the Royal Ascot and Dubai.

In her 28 years in the hat business Diana has gained a wealth of knowledge, which she shares with the hundreds of students who come from all over the United States to study millinery with her. She is currently producing a series of instructional videos on hat making. Diana learned hat making when she served as assistant milliner at the Old Globe Theatre. Then she struck out on her own, specializing in women’s custom hats.

When Diana is not teaching, producing videos, designing and making hats she works with the American Cancer Society’s “Look Good Feel Better Program” as a volunteer. For the past 15 years she has taught cancer patients how to wear hats and tie scarves. She feels that “giving self confidence and a feeling of well being” is very uplifting for the patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatment. This is an excellent opportunity for Diana to give back to the community. Thirteen years ago Diana founded the Annual Easter Parade and Hat Contest in the Gaslamp Quarter, which is a fundraiser for UCSD Pediatrics Hematology/Oncology Research. She works several months each year on this “One Day Event” that raises thousands of dollars for research to help children with cancer.

In 1999 Diana was the recipient of the ABC Channel 10 Leadership Award for her work with cancer patients and in 2003 she received the “Look Good Feel Better” California Division Sunrise Award and the Fashion Group International’s Fashion Industry Style Award. Diana became part of an elite group when she received the Look Good…Feel Better (LGFB) National “Sunrise Award”. The award was presented on February 27, 2004 at the Boca Raton Resort & Club in Florida. The Look Good…Feel Better program is a partnership with the American Cancer Society, the National Cosmetology Association, and the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrance Association (CTFA) Foundation, which gives a free service to women undergoing chemotherapy or radiation treatment. Diana received this prestigious award as the volunteer who most exhibited outstanding dedication and commitment to the program. This opened many doors in the volunteer community. A church contacted Diana and asked her to organize an outreach workshop to sew up hats for chemotherapy patients. Diana designed a pattern for children and adult chemo hats. This was the first of many requests. As of this date Diana has supervised the construction of over 2,000 hats that have been donated to local hospitals, the Candelighters in Texas, the American Cancer Society, The Tijuana Burn Center, and the American Cancer Societies Discovery shop. In 2011 The Gaslamp Quarter Association gave Diana the Armond Award for Lifetime Achievement Award, which was presented by Councilmen Kevin Faulconer for her countless hours working to make the Gaslamp Quarter a special place.

Diana is also a journalist, for the past ten years she has written “Fashion Files”, a column for the San Diego Downtown News and La Jolla Village News as well a numerous articles for Threads Magazine, the San Diego Downtown News and the La Jolla Village News. Diana is currently an active member of The Fashion Group International® of San Diego, Inc. and of the Gaslamp Quarter Association.