This exhibition is a collaboration between the V&A and one of the fashion world’s most prolific milliners, Stephen Jones. It follows in the footsteps of the V&A’s very first fashion show in 1971, Fashion: An Anthology by Cecil Beaton.
Stephen Jones began his career on graduating from St Martin’s School of Art in 1979. Since then he has produced hat collections twice a year under his label ‘Stephen Jones Millinery’, while also collaborating with some of the most prominent fashion houses and designers of our time, including Jean Paul Gaultier, Vivienne Westwood, Thierry Mugler, Christian Dior, John Galliano, Comme des Garçons and Marc Jacobs.
Distinct from hat-making, with its large-scale production of standard hat types, millinery focuses on the creation and decoration of elegant, experimental and often whimsical hats. Jones permits us to examine the world of millinery from the inside out, following the life-cycle of a hat from its point of inception in the milliner’s mind to its final incarnation atop the wearer’s head.Cecil Beaton’s 1971 show raised the profile of fashion and put it firmly on the museum map. Jones feels the time is now right to do the same for what he terms ‘the ultimate accessory’ – the hat.