The V&A's significant hat collection is a revealing and exciting record of the changes in headgear over the past 17 centuries. While the hats in the collection are usually displayed as part of an ensemble or within an accessories display, this exhibition opens up the archive in much greater depth. Taking the expert viewpoint of a milliner, Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones uncovers the rich seam of fashion, style, inspiration, craft and technique inherent in every hat.
Jones began researching at the V&A's archives on 2 April 2007. He would spend the next year going through cupboards, stores and other museum collections, looking at what amounted to thousands of hats, and as the hats emerged the narrative became apparent. Jones says: "The criteria for selecting hats were surprisingly straightforward: a delicious brim line, spectacular detailing, an intriguing provenance, designs that somehow linked past, present and future".The exhibition follows the life of a hat through the stages of inspiration and creation, to the salon and finally to the client who gives the hat its ultimate purpose and flourish.