The history of the hat is really quite fascinating. It is a major contribution to the meaning of fashion but many years ago it stood for something quite different. When a friend or family member passed away, you wore your very best hat to the funeral. If you donned a hat on a Sunday, that meant you were off to church.
These days the hat has gained quite a foothold on the fashion world and signifies style and finesse. The trend has gone in a totally different direction now. It seemed to come full circle when Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, exchanged their vows in 2011. Guests attended the royal wedding ceremony in the most unique of hats from extravagant and lavish to simple and stately. Feathers and lace were caught in the crowd and tulle and swirls made for interesting conversation.
It is no wonder that London has now come to be known as the 'Hat Capital' of the World. If you had to pick one designer who lives his life for hats, it would have to be Stephen Jones. Jones is considered to be one of the world's most radical and influential milliners of the late 20th and early 21st centuries. His hats are like his life, wild and colorful with no limits. Each hat is custom-made by hand, sometimes taking him days to finish just one.
In Stephen's words, "Accessories are the punctuation for clothes that make a statement. The hat is an exclamation mark and like a party on your head."
Jones has created hats for celebrities such as Madonna, Diana Ross, Belinda Carlisle, Kylie Minogue and Usher. Princess Di was one of his regular customers. He has been a designer's dream as he creates hats for some of the leading couture shows. Vivienne Westwood was thrilled to have him design for her show. Jones once did a hat for Christian Dior with over 2000 sequins, a sight to behold. He designed a line of hats for Fiorucci in 1979 and his creativity never seems to cease. Jones has been known to make hats for Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler shows. Bloomingdale's was so impressed that they bought his designs in 1984.
Every collection completed has a descriptive and imaginative name along with a theme behind them. Desert Rose and Covent Garden takes us back to 2008, Albertopolis and Vanda take us back to 2009, ABC and XYZ bring us into 2010 and Drifting and Dreaming and Topsy Turvy rounded out the year 2011.
Not only is Stephen Jones popular in London where his salon and workshop are located, but he is revered in Japan and branching out there in the nation. He seems to be in constant demand everywhere he goes. His hats have been featured on Glenn Close in 101 Dalmatians, in Jurassic Park, on Keira Knightley in Atonement and I am sure you could spot them in many more films. These hats have been used in ad campaigns across the world and Jones himself has co-curated the 2009 exhibition called Hats: An Anthology which was on display at the Victoria & Albert Museum.
With such a diversified lifestyle, Stephen Jones has an endless supply of energy to accompany his constant creativity. After all, hats are a means of self-expression of your personality and your mood and the designer who can give you the ultimate gift to convey that fashion statement is Stephen Jones.