Friday, November 20, 2009
The Mad Hatter
He is the master of hat making and a favorite choice for a hat designer of Vivienne Westwood or John Galliano for Dior. Stephen Jones is one of the leading milliners (makers of women hats) known for his eccentricity, creativity and high level of quality of making hats for famous women from different parts of the world. The exhibition, curated by Jones, "Hats: An Anthology" has been opened in the Victoria and Albert museum in London.
With this post I am sharing several of his designs, but also other hat creations as I believe hats are important fashion items, which have lost their popularity over the years but are slowly having their come back. Hats have been important throughout the history for several reasons - first, they were used for protection of the head, then they have become a status symbol, an art form, important and inevitable accessory. The magic of wearing a hat rests in the fact that by wearing it you attract attention to your face straight away.
The term milliner was born in Britain because of the hat makers who came from Milan, Italy. The women hat makers in France are called 'modiste'. Coco Chanel first started as a 'modiste' when she came to Paris.
In the beginning of the 20th c. both, men and women wore hats as an inevitable part of their outfit and changed them according to the occasion. There were hats for people from different social status, but in general everyone needed to wear a hat and for the higher classes gloves as well (women especially). Later on, when wars started, the entire clothing became simpler and easier to wear in the given circumstances. This can be called the demise of the hat wearing.
There have been periods in the recent fashion history when hats were worn more than in other times, but they haven't become as popular as they were in past, more romantic times. Still, there are some occasions and events (like the horse races in Ascot) nowadays which are all about hat wearing. Also, fashion desginers have re-introduced hats for this and the next season through more formal and elegant ones, those which are creative and crazy or those which simply are there to protect from the sun.
Stephen Jones designs
Chanel Resort Collection