Hats: The Millinery Genius Of Stephen Jones

The Queensland Art Gallery (QAG) is about to play host to the landmark exhibition ‘Hats: An Anthology’ – curated by one of the world’s most prolific milliners, Stephen Jones, in collaboration with London’s Victoria & Albert Museum, where it originally exhibited in 2009. If you are bald, have bad hair, or generally love accessories like nobodies business you will find this exhibition appropriately mouth-froth-worthy.

The innovative layout design that QAG have come up with for displaying the collection sounds intriguing and well worth checking out: the exhibition has been designed to resemble a whimsical garden in which groups of hats are arranged like decorative floral bouquets. Tres superb – and another example of the world class curatorial talents of the crew that is spread across QAG and Queensland’s Gallery of Modern Art.

Of course, the collection itself is the real reason to attend. It includes historical items and iconic hats – such as the wide-brimmed black silk tulle hat from Christian Dior’s first collection in 1948 and Mary Quant’s blue beret from the 1960s, as well as hats worn by historical and cultural icons – Elsa Schiaparelli’s black felt beret worn by Marlene Dietrich in Witness for the Prosecution (1957), Philip Treacy’s bridal headpiece created for Camilla Parker-Bowles’s marriage to the Prince Charles (2005); and Jones’s own creations like the Kylie Minogue’s Visor Headdress from her ‘Showgirl’ tour.

While his name might not be quite as “on the lips” as Philip Treacy, his artistic and fashion-related accomplishments are virtually incomparable:

– He has designed a biannual collection of bespoke hats/headpieces since 1980;
– He is the atelier de la modiste in charge of making hats for John Galliano’s couture shows at Christian Dior;
– He has partnered with a number of designers and couturiers for past collection shows, including: Vivienne Westwood, Balenciaga, Commes de Garcons, Lanvin, Guy Laroche, Giambattista Valli, Burberry, Hermes – and pretty much anyone else that matters; and
– has an endless list of celebrity clients including: Björk, Pink, Tori Amos, Alison Goldfrapp, Christina Aguilera, Grace Jones, George Michael, Madonna, Bryan Ferry and Usher.

The exhibition opens on 27 March and runs until the 27 Junes and will appear in Australia exclusively at the Queensland Art Gallery. Make haste – in London, a month after opening, record-breaking visitor attendance figures were reported, and the Evening Standard gave the exhibition four stars out of five.

For more info visit the Queensland Art Gallery website