A Thousand Years Of Hats—And One Wig—At Stephen Jones’ Curatorial Debut-------
There arguably couldn’t be a more perfect time for Stephen Jones to be in New York talking hats—what with the American fascination with fascinators (see Princess Beatrice, newly minted Internet meme) lingering from last Friday’s Royal Wedding. The natty milliner was in town for Monday night’s Met gala and to introduce his collaborative exhibit with the Victoria and Albert Museum, called Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones. The show, which arrives in New York City at the Bard Graduate Center this September, includes hats and headpieces from throughout time and all over the world, curated by Jones and the V&A’s Oriole Cullen. “It’s funny,” he said yesterday. “I realized there’s a hat in the show called Martian’s Claw from 1960 by Michael of Lachasse that’s just like Princess Beatrice’s but in sequins.” He made 25 hats for the wedding, and reports that Philip Treacy made 36. “It was the ultimate hat day, I guess,” said Jones, a bit wearily.
Hats is, fittingly, the ultimate hat show, but pulling it together was no easy feat. Jones and Cullen researched for two years, eventually sourcing the 250 pieces from 72 separate lenders along with the V&A’s extensive collection. The works shown range from a Coptic fez from 1100 A.D. to the pieces by the latest young British milliners, like Nasir Mazhar and Noel Stewart, from the aughts, nearly a millennium later. Hats is meant to give you a 360-degree view of the craft, with a re-creation of Jones’ first atelier and a section devoted to hat wearers. You can expect to be in the close presence of Very Important Headgear like Schiaparelli’s shoe hat from 1937—of which there are only two in existence—and one of Jackie Kennedy’s pillboxes, pulled in especially for the show’s American tour. (The shoe hat is top right; a flower-adorned 1955 Christian Dior veil by Mitzi Bricard is top left. One of Jones’ own creations, “Warped Perspective,” is abpve.) Jones and Cullen also like to connect the dots with a wink and a smile. To wit, you’ll be able to see Darth Vader’s helmet sharing a vitrine with a samurai’s, the likes of which directly inspired it. Perhaps the most unexpected piece, also exclusive to the stateside show, is Andy Warhol’s shaggy silver wig. “He really wore it in the spirit of a hat,” said Cullen. “It was a statement.”