Stephen Jones

Hats On


Who can forget the image of the late Queen Mum, clad in powdery pastels and waving from a balcony or horse-drawn carriage, the feathers in her hat bobbing in the breeze? Or, at the other end of the millinery rainbow, the oversize, overadorned, boldly colored numbers that young ladies—much like Eliza Doolittle—wear to Ascot, hoping to grab headlines? Englishwomen love their hats, and although London has its share of fashionable milliners, one stands out for his vast mosaic of work—and for its crossover into the toniest reaches of fashion. Stephen Jones, who’s been in business for more than 20 years, is the top designers’ all-time favorite. For the most recent Dior couture show, there were hats made from paint-splotched artists’ palettes, Venetian masks and a ballet-slipper bonnet. For Giles Deacon, Jones concocted full-length black yeti marabou hats—and matching outfits. For Comme des Garçons, he has twisted metal into delicate crowns. For private clients—including Naomi Campbell, Erin O’Connor, Dita Von Teese and Gwen Stefani, among others—he’s equally at home creating a Rasta cap from colorful cotton yarn. Hats, Jones believes, are one of life’s joys. “A hat,” he says, “makes a woman how she dreams to be, rather than how she is.”

Thibault Montamat