Stephen Jones: Dressing the royal funeral, unveiling his latest ideas
It’s been a busy week for Stephen Jones, London’s most influential milliner, whose hats are much in demand for this week's memorials for Queen Elizabeth II.
Jones entire store in Covent Garden has been given over to black hats - from classic trilby or classy cloches; to refined fascinators and, of course, bowlers.
“Everyone has been by,” explained Jones, as he greeted editors in for London Fashion Week at a presentation of his latest collection in his boutique.
Jones remained discreet about which members of the nobility were his clients. Though one could easily spot his creations at services in both Edinburgh and London this past week.
His inspiration for next spring was Morocco from a Moorish fez with tassel to Beau Geste kepi with sun flaps at the back.
“After not being able to travel, I wanted to go back to one of the first foreign countries I visited, Morocco. That’s where I met Jean-Paul Gaultier, and we began working together, which started a whole lot of visits to Paris,” Jones recalled.
Gaultier actually recognised Jones from his appearance in the iconic pop video, 'Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?' by Boy George, where he appears as a posh fan.
His latest trip to Marrakech led to beautiful tulle headbands, sculpted Brâncuși-style, to arty mini hijabs and caps made of thin strips of straw over a tulle structure.
“It’s nice to be able to work on the road,” smiled Jones, attired in all-black, including tie and lightly crumpled Commes des Garçons calico jacket.
“That way you don’t have to worry about ironing!” He chuckled.
Jones also played with raffia, using it to trim a trilby, bucket hats and corporal caps worthy of a hipster Gary Cooper. While travelling, Jones continues to work, cutting and trimming canvas into fresh shapes on a small wooden head, as he finds inspiration from local culture and nature. Like a marvellous petrol blue leaf shaped hat, whose half-sized prototype he showed proudly.
Back in the 80s, Jones was a 'Blitz Kid', a 'New Romantic' who hung out with Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran and Isabella Blow; and shared a home with Boy George and Grayson Perry. He would go to be-hat the likes of Grace Jones, Diana Ross, Madonna and Bryan Ferry, among many many others.
At 65, Jones is very much an institution, and still very much in demand. He began working with Christian Dior when John Galliano took over creative control in the mid-nineties and still works with both Maria Grazia Chiuri and Kim Jones at Dior today.
Next week will find him in Milan, where he creates hats and headgear for both Jeremy Scott at Moschino and Boss.
But on Monday, his remarkable skill at sculpting hats into objects of refinement will be evident at Westminster Abbey.
Accompanying the queen on her final journey.
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