“Millinery is a wonderful expression of freedom, and it’s also a display of your intent, whether social or political or whatever you want it to mean,” is how Stephen Jones, the genius British designer-maker of hats, has described his calling.
In his 40 years as arguably the most important and radical milliner on the fashion landscape, Jones has created headgear for everyone from Princess Diana and the Duchess of Sussex to the Rolling Stones and Rihanna, and has collaborated with some of the great couture houses, including a 24-year partnership with Christian Dior, for whom he has produced Dior Hats: From Christian Dior to Stephen Jones (Rizzoli).
In the 240-page tome Jones, the first English milliner to work for a French couture house, takes the reader on a journey from 1947 to the present day, through the hats of M Dior and the designs of Marc Bohan and Gianfranco Ferré to his own inventive, captivating creations made with John Galliano, Raf Simons, and Dior’s current creative director, Maria Grazia Chiuri.
As one of the original “Blitz kids” who frequented the influential eponymous London club during his time studying womens wear at Central Saint Martins during the late ’70s (other habitués included Leigh Bowery, Jean Paul Gaultier, Isabella Blow, and John Galliano), Jones was in the vanguard of the New Wave movement, and the punk spirit he developed then has never left him.
The creations he shares here reveal how a direct line can be drawn between the inventiveness of the master of the New Look to his own iconoclastic spirit. In Granville, Normandy, the Christian Dior Museum will soon be staging the exhibition Dior Hats at a date to be confirmed.
Dior Hats: From Christian Dior to Stephen Jones is available now via Rizzoli