Stephen Jones & The Accent of Fashion


Famed British milliner Stephen Jones celebrated the 30th anniversary of his house this fall as MoMu, the famed fashion museum in Antwerp, mounted a retrospective of his groundbreaking oeuvre.  An unrivaled collection of over 120 items– the largest outside Britain– combined with pieces from Jones’ personal archives [and those of various designer-collaborators] traces the modern day milliner’s humble beginnings as a proponent of the ‘New Romantics’ movement in early 80s-era London to his collaborations with world-class designers like John Galliano, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Marc Jacobs, Azzedine Alaïa, and more.  Started as a reaction against the ‘raw character of punk and new wave scenes,’ the New Romantics embraced a ‘symbiosis of fashion and music’ through a highly theatrical look that involved dramatic makeup, accessories, and hats.  Stephen’s fate was sealed with a personal appearance in a Boy George video, in which he (and members of the band) wore hats designed by Jones himself.

The exhibit’s notes liken hats as essential to fashion as accents are to written language; “Just as accents in a text can lead the reader to its intended reading…a Stephen Jones hat brings its own specific punctuation to a silhouette and the overall image of a collection.  [In language], accents often sit at a 45-degree angle, the angle most often used by Jones when placing a hat on someone’s head.” We here at the Vault had the pleasure of visiting the show in person, and share here some photographs of the exhibit as well as some vintage accents from decades past.




1937                                                                                        1947


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