The Fashion Folk S01 ep17 : Stephen Jones, Jones Hatmaker, [London]

Interview with Stephen Jones

I am a milliner, but I am also a therapist, a psychiatrist, all those different things, because I think that when you are a milliner – it is such a personal thing to do. Whether I am working with a lady from the countryside or a pop star or John Galliano, it is all about getting as close to them as possible and then trying to sort of put their character and my character into a hat.

 

12.46

In French often people use the work ‘spirituelle’ to describe the hats of Stephen
Jones which means it is something which has got like a sense of humor,
something which is a little bit light and airy, something insubstantial. Those are all
the things that make a good hat. You know I don’t think that it is about doing
something, which sort of imposes on you.
The reality is that I am a milliner, but I am also a therapist, a psychiatrist, all those
different things, because I think that when you are a milliner – it is such a personal
thing to do. Whether I am working with a lady from the countryside or a pop star
or John Galliano, it is all about getting as close to them as possible and then
trying to sort of put their character and my character into a hat.

13.47

You were telling me back then that you were doing things for Boy George, for
Madonna for these sorts of people, what was the spirit then and how do you
compare the spirit of today?

13.56

I think that the spirit has really changed because the spirit then was that fashion
was something new. When I was 20, the world of fashion, the world of mass
fashion was still to happen. The designer decade was still to happen. Now for
people who are 20, they have grown up within the world of fashion already and
their attitude of fashion is very different from my attitude to fashion.

4.27

Now fashion really is items. People are spending more money on the cover for
their new Nokia phone than an actual outfit. So that telephone is becoming more
of a fashion item than a pair of shoes. I think people are buying more classic
clothes, but they are putting the fashion into the things which are sort of more
outrageous in the way of accessories.

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

15.05

If you’re a really creative designer you would want to be associated with Paris, if
you were a commercial or a cool international street wear designer you may want
to show in New York.

KD What about London?

London?

KM – Horse riding?

Yes, strange mix – strange mix. That is what makes London interesting. On the
one hand you have country ladies wearing tweed skirts, on the other hand you
have Vivienne Westwood inventing the clothing of Punk.

15.44

Britain did not get its act together because Britain is a Protestant country and
because of that we do not believe in glorification of the self as opposed to a
Catholic country where they believe if you make something beautiful it is the
glorification of God.

KD You think it comes down to religion?

Part of it yes.
Just because as children we are sent to Sunday school and told you have to be
pure in spirit all those sorts of things as opposed to a Catholic child who is….

KD Told go out there, go buy Dolce & Gabana!

You know, Armani baby wear.

 

Jewellery Theatre Carravaggio

16.32

The most successful artists really one into their public as well. Why does Damian
Hurst…

16.40

Is he really an artist? I have had this argument with a few galleries – some of
them think O.K. fine he is an artist and some think he is a product of Satcchi and
Satcchi.

16.52

Well I think he is an artist, but I think that he is an artist like Alexander McQueen
is an artist, or John Galliano is an artist in the way they know how to manipulate
the media. I think for artists, now that is part of it.
It is not to say that they are there and the media and the public are there - they
are one in the same thing. Those people who are in charge of those businesses
are not normal accountants.
It is Domenico De Sole and Tom Ford who is a designer and a lawyer, Bernard
Arnault is a real entrepreneur, he knows that so many of the established fashion
formulas actually don’t work so he listens to somebody like John (Galliano).

Jewellery Theatre Elements

17.38
KD You mean they really work together?

17.40
Yes. They see each other quite a lot. I won’t say that if in the middle of the night if
John is having an artistic crisis about handbags he will phone Bernard and say
hey Bernard… but you know , they get on quite well.
17.59
KD Why didn’t you go into the couture business?

18.02
Why didn’t I …. You know I was not making hats for mummy at the age of 4. I
was very much a late developer. And it is all …. Everything that I do is still quite a
surprise to me, even though I do have a passion about it…. I think it is important
in a strange way somehow keep a distance from it.

18.25
Do you still do the same thing?

Jewellery Theatre Fairytales

18.27
I think I still do the same thing yeah. You know I never stop. Inspiration comes
from anything and everything. I never mentally stop designing. I keep a note book
with me all the time.
The reason that I work with designers is not only because I enjoy it and it is a
privilege, but because it feeds my own thing and keeps me on the ball.

18.53
I think that I know that this looks nice and that doesn’t. But sometimes they will
tell me “this doesn’t look nice” and if I respect them as a designer I’ll say “o.k
maybe I don’t know and you know” and I will follow what you are doing and then a
few weeks later, a month later, my design world has been turned upside down.

OFFICIAL WEBSITE: Stephen Jones, Jones Hatmaker, London