Stephen Jones is a milliner to the royals, stars and regulars. Princess Diana was an early client. Madonna and Beyonce are acolytes too. He’s crafted hats for films like "Sex and the City" and he's collaborated with fashion houses including Dior and designers like Marc Jacobs. In his spare time though, he assembled “Hats: An Anthology By Stephen Jones,” an exhibition of 250 hats on view until Feb. 3 at the Peabody Essex Museum. Here are a few of Jones’ tips to wearing a hat as told to Jared Bowen.
Take a Ride Down the Fashionista Freeway
“It’s an adventure. It can be a costume. People always talk about being themselves, but the great thing about a hat is that it can take you into another dimension. You can become another person by putting that hat on. And it’s something that cheers you up. The rest of life can be about pain, mortgage and doing this that and the other. The great purpose of fashion is that, as well as offering protection, it can be entertainment for us. For the person whose wearing it and the person who’s looking at you too.”
What Women Need (to wear a hat)
“A sense of play. Somebody who enjoys you know their self expression in clothing because that’s what it’s all about. People don’t wear hats everyday. It’s not the 50's where there’s, for example where we are now, if you went out without a hat and gloves everybody would think you’re mad. Lives have changed where men work. It’s difficult to get into a car with a big hat on. But I think now people will wear hats when they can do, when there is a special occasion or something.”
“I’ve seen the [Peabody Essex Museum] exhibition 100 times now. But there’s still always something really inspiring in every hat. I always find something intriguing about the line of the brim or the color or the way that it’s made. Or the story behind it if I read the ticket. So it’s always a continual font of inspiration.”