Stephen Jones is one of London’s great talents. He has been a milliner at the centre of the fashion world for 30 years, and is famously loved. He has created hats ranging from spectacular head-dresses for Kylie Minogue to the chicest pill-box for Carla Bruni. As a milliner he has collaborated with many fashion designers, including Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, and Jean Paul Gaultier. He currently works with John Galliano, Marc Jacobs, Comme des Garcons and Giles Deacon. One of his hats, a gold Nefertiti crown, made for Dior’s haute couture fashion show in 2004, appeared on the front page of 110 newspapers.
In 2009 Jones curated an exhibition ‘Hats: An Anthology‘, at the V & A (brill catalogue by the way), and in 2010 MoMu, the Fashion Museum in Antwerp, gave him a big retrospective, showing work over the 30 years. Highlights included giant hats, a special contribution from Anna Piaggi, and a documentary by Gitte Meldgaard. If you didn’t make it to Antwerp you could console yourself by buying the wonderful catalogue instead.
Jones is known for his creative invention, but nothing comes out of nowhere, and Jones is one of those people who always knows about unusual books, good music and less well-known artists. We asked him what he’s been looking at and reading lately. He came back with the inspirations behind his latest collection. Sometimes, all you have to do is ask….
At the moment we are sampling my Spring Summer 2011 collection, which I have been sketching over the summer. It’s almost like a painting. with a background, middle ground and foreground.
The Background: Brian Eno; Ambient hats; a wash of shade
The hats in the background are inspired by Brian Eno’s groundbreaking record Another Green World of 1975 where he started to play with the concept of ambient music. This I rediscovered when I was having a few days holiday in Lord How Island, a tiny speck in the South Pacific . Thank God for ITunes!
The Midground: Issey Miyake; driftwood; flowers
The midground is inspired by the oeuvre of Issey Miyake in his book Irving Penn Regards Issey Miyake, whose amazing dresses are timeless and span the oft discussed gap between fashion and art.
The Foreground: Marion Adnams; surreal; scrolls
The foreground is inspired by the work of Marion Adnams, a little known British Surrealist working during the forties and fifties, who I first discovered at Manchester City Art Galleries exhibition, Angels of Anarchy. Her essentially English paintings have a bizarre and charming femininity. One of her paintings, The Distraught Infanta, featured of the cover of a wonderful book of poems, Singing in the Dark, by Alison Brackenbury.
All this in a hat!!!!