On Tuesday morning, I took a break from the Fashion Week madness and headed uptown to the Bard Graduate Center for a press preview of the new exhibition, Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones. I must not have read my invitation very well, so I was quite pleasantly surprised when I arrived for a tour of the gallery, and found that the tour was administered by Stephen Jones himself. The exhibition, which was a collaboration between the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and Stephen Jones, is essentially the realization of the book of the same name, providing a sweeping history of the millinery canon. Spanning from a twelfth-century Egyptian Fez hat, to a recent creation by up and coming designer Nasir Mazhar, the exhibition covers all bases, with plenty of relevant Stephen Jones hats interspersed between.
I am an owner of the aforementioned book, and a obsessive hat wearer, so attending the exhibition made me feel like I had died and gone to hat heaven. The show spans three floors, and is divided into sections meant to display the process of creating hats, the way that they are worn, and the clients who are wearing them. One of the greatest highlights is the recreation of Jones's original studio, complete with a small Stephen Jones doll that Philip Treacy made for him after he had finished his apprenticeship. The exhibition also includes the winner of the Talenthouse contest that I posted about earlier, Aliona Kononova, who made a spectacular dandelion shaped hat out of metal wire and magnets. I asked Jones how he selected the winner out of the five-hundred entrants, and he said that after a very difficult two day process, but Kononova's design was selected because of its hopeful and optimistic feel, and sound looking construction, which he could only judge from the photograph. I unfortunately could not get a good photo of Kononova's design, so you will have to stop by the show yourself to take a look at it, along with the hundreds of other jaw-dropping hats on display. The show runs until April 15th of next year.