Podcast Ep. 13 STEPHEN JONES, FROM CLUB KID TO CHRISTIAN DIOR

Stephen Jones

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EPISODE 13 FEATURES STEPHEN JONES

Stephen Jones is the most extraordinary, the most famous, and the most marvellous milliner working in fashion today.

This interview took place at the National Gallery of Victoria in August on the eve of the opening of the exhibition, THE HOUSE OF DIOR: SEVENTY YEARS OF HAUTE COUTURE. (It's on until November 7th, 2017 - if you're anywhere near there, you'd be a fool to miss it.)

THE HOUSE OF DIOR: SEVENTY YEARS OF HAUTE COUTURE @NGV

THE HOUSE OF DIOR: SEVENTY YEARS OF HAUTE COUTURE @NGV

Stephen was in town not just because he has collaborated with the Paris fashion house since the ‘90s, when his mate John Galliano took over as creative director, but because he worked on the exhibition. He restored and created 160 archival and new headpieces for the event, and came to Melbourne to install them.

Have you met Mr. Jones? The man himself, hard at work on hats for the Dior exhibition.

Have you met Mr. Jones? The man himself, hard at work on hats for the Dior exhibition.

During Galliano’s tenure in particular, from 1996 to 2011, Stephen made for Dior some of the most jaw-droppingly fabulous hats known to fashionkind. Scroll down for pics, my friends.

Stephen also designed hats and headpieces for the designers who came after Galliano at Dior: for Raf Simons and now for Maria Grazia Chiuri. He’s done loads of hats for other designers too, everyone from Rei Kawakubo and Vivienne Westwood to Jean Paul Gaultier and Marc Jacobs. Stephen often collaborates with the incredible Thom Browne – one of my favourite pieces was made in the image of Thom’s dachtsund Hector.

Disco Hector hat for Thom Browne, Spring '17

Disco Hector hat for Thom Browne, Spring '17

Stephen also designs for private clients, and I’ve been to visit Stephen in his jewel box of a London shop, through which likes of Lady Gaga and Rihanna order their Stephen Jones hats.

But it’s not just his own hats that absorb Stephen Jones. As we mention in this interview, he curated a major exhibition about millinery at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London in 2009.

HATS, AN ANTHOLOGY BY STEPHEN JONES was a massive hit, it broke attendance records proving that even if we don’t habitually wear hats like we used to, we still want to see them, we’re still transported and fascinated by them.

Stephen calls the hat the accent on an outfit. 

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In this episode, we touch on those things, and so much more. We talk the importance of Christian Dior and his New Look, and of the London club scene and the New Romantics. 

Also, just... STINGRAY

STEPHEN JONES FACT FILE

Stephen was born in Cheshire in 1957, and went to school in Liverpool.

He graduated from Central St. Martins (then Saint Martin's School of Art) in 1979.

In 1980, he opened his first Hat Salon in Covent Garden.

Stephen, briefly, appears in Boy George's 1982 video for Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? (Can you spot him?)

"YOU CAN'T DANCE IN A BIG HAT" - Stephen Jones

By the mid-'80s, he was collaborating with the likes of: Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, Zandra Rhodes, Comme Des Garçons, Rifat Ozbek and Vivienne Westwood. Stephen made Sarah Stockdale's Vivienne Westwood crown-hat as seen on the cover of i-D's August 1987 issue .

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Stephen made pretty much every hat that counts, basically (at least the ones not made by Philip Treacy). Hat's off to him.

Stephen Jones for Christian Dior Haute Couture AW 2007

Stephen Jones for Christian Dior Haute Couture AW 2007

Stephen Jones for for Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2004

Stephen Jones for for Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2004

For Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2004, Stephen designed cat and jackal masks as well as masks of Tutankhamen and the Egyptian gods of Horus, Anubis and Bast. 

For Christian Dior Haute Couture Spring 2004, Stephen designed cat and jackal masks as well as masks of Tutankhamen and the Egyptian gods of Horus, Anubis and Bast. 

Stephen Jones veil for Raf Simons' Christian Dior S/S 2012 collection.

Stephen Jones veil for Raf Simons' Christian Dior S/S 2012 collection.

Like Simon Doonan who we met in last week’s episode, Stephen was a Blitz Kid. The below photograph was taken by the revered British music Peter Ashworth who shot iconic album covers for the likes of Visage, the Eurythmics and Soft Cell. Ashworth photographed Stephen and other Blitz figures, including Leigh Bowery and Steve Strange.

Stephen at Blitz. Portrait copyright Peter Ashworth

Stephen at Blitz. Portrait copyright Peter Ashworth

It’s so interesting to hear about the creativity of that scene in the early 80s, which is also where John Galliano came up, and people like late Leigh Bowery, the Australian performance artist, who was one of the most important fashion figures to ever come out of Australia, and yet so many people don’t know about him. And we talk about Marie Antoinette, Anna Piaggi and Princess Di, because they were all major hats fans. And I reckon you might be after listening to this.

Here's John Galliano at Blitz

Here's John Galliano at Blitz

“You shouldn’t ask, why do you wear a hat? What you really should be asking is, why are you not?... …Hats change and enhance-indeed they complete a silhouette. Always work up as well as down. You are meant to dress top to toe, so don’t forget the final flourish…think of Charlie Chaplin his bowler, Robin Hood without his cap, rappers without their baseball caps, the Queen without her crown, the image doesn’t work. There is a hat for all seasons, all faces, all moments.’- John Galliano

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LINKS TO MAKE YOU THINK...

The V&A holds one of the finest collections of millinery in the world, revealing an exciting record of the changes in headgear over the past 17 centuries.

The first super-famous milliner was ROSE BERTIN. Born in 1747, she made Marie Antoinette's famed poufs au sentiments - elaborate hats and coiffures that featured things like SHIPS and miniature gardens.

CHRISTIAN DIOR once made a living selling sketches of hat designs to Paris couturiers. Here's a bunch of fab pics of Dior's subsequent fabulousness.

Making hats is an art form. Here's Stephen in action:

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Until next time,

Clare x