Looking back at the career of famous hatter, Stephen Jones

Looking back at the career of famous hatter, Stephen Jones

Stephen Jones hats between simplicity and extravagance

“A true visionary, Stephen is capable of dreaming up unforgettable creations. Even if they are simple, everyday hats, they are unique,” ​​explains Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of womenswear at Dior. “I also remember my first Dior haute couture collection [spring/summer 2017],” she continues. “After the show we threw a Bal des Têtes inspired party [a sumptuous ball put on by Baron Alexis de Redé at the Hôtel Lambert in 1956]. Stephen has created extraordinary pill boxes for us. That’s when I really understood what this hat was all about.” For Jones, whose enthusiasm for his work is contagious, a hat’s style doesn’t matter as long as it pushes the boundaries of millinery, whether through volume, proportion, materials or ornaments. “A hat is a visible accessory that gives character and personality,” says the Cheshire-born designer, a heritage he shares with Lewis Carroll, inventor of the famous Mad Hatter in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1869).

In a fashion industry constantly striving for novelty, Jones’ exceptional longevity cannot be explained solely by his wild imagination and unrivaled know-how. “His hats are creative, iconoclastic and revolutionary,” explains Adrian Joffre, a longtime friend of Stephen Jones and co-founder of concept store Dover Street Market with Japanese designer Rei Kawakubo. “He breaks the rules but at the same time respects the traditions. His work is like him: flamboyant, magnificent and very special.” Jones himself readily admits that he likes to play with contradictions. He first attended High Wycombe College of Art before studying fashion at the famous Central Saint Martins in London, where he graduated in 1979. “As a student, I loved flipping through old issues of Vogue. In the 70s, comfortable wardrobes and rustic styles were in fashion. I hated all of that. But I loved the photos of dresses by Balenciaga, Dior and Jacques Fath taken by Henry Clarke, so full of elegance and sophistication – edgy poses and a graphic aesthetic that, to me, you can also find in Sex Pistols singer Johnny Rotten more totally Desire to be the best and the most energetic. It’s an extreme attitude that I find very glamorous and contrasts with all the comfortable clothing that was in fashion at the time.”

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