Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones

I recently experienced the great agony of walking past the launch party at the Victoria & Albert Museum for the very talented Stephen Jones…..yes, sorry readers; I was not invited to this one!
Colleagues and friends of mine in the biz who were in attendance later dubbed it the party of all parties and I really cannot say I am at all surprised. Who doesn’t want to spend time in a Willy Wonka styled room full of all things sugar and spice? Now, those of you that know me are more than acutely aware of my passion for all things head wear. Anything that has potential to be reworked & styled into an adornment for the head – will usually end up exactly that. It is therefore, by no passing coincidence, that a piece on a milliner has become my very first blog post. Held during the circus that is London Fashion Week – the party was of course the celebration of the unique career of the world’s most fanciful milliner. Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones.
After my devastation of not being at the opening, I was able to pull myself together and go along with the public to see the great exhibition in the light of day. It was exactly as expected. I was transported into the magic existence of ceaseless invention & compelling allure. “Jones is a deft conjurer, who can draw whimsy from a hat. His genius is to enhance the mystery and wit of the wearer” – Hamish Bowles, VOGUE USA. Getting up close and personal with a replica of his workroom (complete with hanging fabrics and post-it notes) was a lovely touch, along with the chance to view a short video on the process involved in making one of his hand-made hats. I managed to take a few sneaky pics with my Bberry. I hope it gives you an idea of the exhibition for those of you not in London – Sorry about the quality!

Stephen Jones first burst onto the fashion scene during the beginning of London street style in the 1970s. He would study at St Martins by day – and wear his creations by night at the famous Blitz nightclub (he was one of the original Blitz kids). In 1980, Jones opened his first millinery salon in Covent Garden – still there today and soon became the preferred milliner from rock stars to royals who wanted a piece of his statement making radical designs. He now has a following of major celebrities who come to him for concert pieces, fashion designers who commission him to create designs for both couture and ready to wear shows and private clients who want something made for a special occasion. I saw one hat at the exhibition that he made especially for Italian Vogue’s Anna Piaggi. It was an assortment of miniature cardboard boxes piled atop each other in a haphazard way but with every bit of his trademark detail – a gesture towards her moving house!Jones work can be seen in the permanent collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum (London), the Louvre (Paris), The Fashion Institute of Technology and the Brooklyn Museum (both in New York), the Kyoto Costume Institute, & the Australian National Gallery (Canberra).

In summary: “To imagine an outfit without a hat is like imagining an English tea pot without a lid” – John Galliano for DIOR

The cafe @ V&A

* The exhibition runs at the Victoria & Albert Museum 24 Feb – 31 May 2009

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