Stephen Jones OBE is the milliner-in-demand who has made bespoke hats for everyone from Mick Jagger to the Duchess of Sussex and from Lady Gaga to Grace Jones. Opening his first shop in Covent Garden in the 1980s, he has since collaborated with designers Rei Kawakubo (making hats and perfumes), John Galliano at Dior and Vivienne Westwood, amongst many others. Opening today is Stephen Jones at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton, in partnership with Harvey Nichols, an exhibition which showcases some of Jones’ most outstanding creations, from a giant swan headdress to a knitted ‘English breakfast’ hat. To celebrate the opening, Jones reveals all about where to eat, his favourite hat and top tips for any novice hat wearer.
Where do you live and why?
I live in a house just by Battersea Park, which used to belong to a milliner.
What are your favourite places to eat and drink?
In London, probably The Delaunay, because I can fall out of the front of my shop, tumble down Drury Lane and end up at The Delaunay. Either that or at home with a very simple salad, made by my husband Craig West.
You are well known for having created hats for The Duchess of Sussex amongst many other royals. Which other top regal hats will be on display at the show and why the recreation of the hat worn by King George IV from a 1782 portrait?
There are many regal hats that are on display. There is Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex; there is Lady Sarah Chatto, Princess Margaret’s daughter; Princess Eugenie. Also there are many crowns being displayed, the Crown I made for Christian Dior Autumn Winter 20015 Haute Couture collection, worn by Lily Cole and even one crown made for Suzy Menkes, which is made out of miniature Suzies. At the ‘banquet’ I am hosting in the exhibition, King George IV along with the Duchess of Sussex, are my guests of honour, but none of his original hats exist, so I recreated this hat from his portrait from 1782.
Stephen Jones’ Crown for Comme des Garçons Spring Summer 2006, Photographer: Lesley Robeson
Which is your favourite room in the exhibition and why?
The Music Room, because it redefines the word spectacular.
The Royal Pavilion, East Lawn
Is there anybody that you haven’t designed a hat for that you still wish to?
So many people, and there are new people all the time. From history, Elisabeth Taylor or Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. Similarly I have never made a hat for Willow Smith.
Which is your favourite hat that you own?
Well, it changes all the time, but possibly the leather beret that I created for Maria Grazia Chiuri at Dior.
Stephen Jones in the Music Room of the Royal Pavilion with hats made for the statue of George IV in Trafalgar Square (and his horse) for the London Olympics in 2012 © Tessa Hallmann/Royal Pavilion & Museums, Brighton & Hove
Who are your 3 favourite people/accounts to follow on Instagram?
@Sheridan.Barnett – who was one of my teachers at Saint Martins school of Art, who posts about 20 pictures a day. It’s an extraordinary art and fashion reference.
@MrKimJones – because I know he does it personally and I love pictures of his teapot Pomeranian called ‘Cookie’.
@jackyblue_ aka Jacky Marshall, the illustrator who created the image for my exhibition in Brighton.
What would be your advice for a novice hat wearer?
Try on as many hats as possible, because people tend to think they are a brim and a crown, but a hat can be many, many different sorts of things.