If you know about Stephen Jones, then you’re probably already excited. If you don’t, then don’t worry, neither had I. And boy, am I excited now!
The hat has been making some bold statements lately, thanks to the Duchess Kate craze and Lady Gaga alike, and you can be sure that these ladies are no strangers to Stephen Jones Millinery. Millinery? What’s that you say? Not just plain old hatmakers, no! Milliners are far more fabulous than that! “Distinct from hat-making, with its large-scale production of standard hat types, millinery focuses on the creation and decoration of elegant, experimental and often whimsical hats.” Why, thank you for clearing that up, Victoria & Albert Museum.
As perhaps the most widely respected name in millinery, Stephen Jones is following in the tradition of the V&A’s first fashion show in 1971, Fashion: An Anthology by Cecil Beaton, and putting hats on the map as museum-worthy works of art, with his exhibition: Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones.
This amazing collection is currently on display here in the US, at the The Bard Graduate Center in New York City. So if you’re in the vicinity, you may actually have the opportunity to witness the evolution and life cycle of what Jones calls, “the cherry on the cake, the dot on the ‘i’, the exclamation mark, the fashion focus. Everyone from showgirls to dictators knows that by wearing a hat they will be the centre of attention.”
Carefully hand selected from the museum’s 17 centuries’ worth of headwear, Jones describes his process: “This is my very personal anthology of hats, a mish-mash of dates, places, stories and illusion that are squished into a sense of order by a mad hatter’s logic… It is my own viewpoint of where hats come from, how they are made, where they are sold and the extraordinary people who wear them.”