The season is almost upon us and all those interested in hats – and there's no better time of year to celebrate their flamboyancy, of course – might like to pay a visit to the genteel city of Bath for inspiration.
There, in the Holburne Museum, and nestling amid the gallery's own esteemed collection of 18th-century porcelain and silver, those interested will find a selection of the headwear of Stephen Jones, the finest milliner of the age.
The show has been put together by Jones himself, in collaboration with fashion writer, fellow Bath resident and friend (mine and Stephen Jones's, incidentally) Iain R Webb. It's called Hats: From Georgiana to Boy George, which is a neat title given that Jones rose to prominence dressing Blitz Kids (he shared a flat with George and Grayson Perry way back when) and has also always demonstrated something of a passion for referencing the Georgian era and Regency in particular. That's when he's not busy poring over Renaissance art, Victorian curiosities, the sharp lines of the 1960s, the wide brims of the 1970s and so forth. As well as being master of his trade, Jones's knowledge of hats past and present is second to none.
Still not convinced? Stephen Jones makes hats for catwalk luminaries Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Marc Jacobs, Giles Deacon and was also long responsible for the lovely and suitably crazed designs balanced beautiful on the heads of John Galliano's models. The finest hats at last year's Royal Wedding also came courtesy of this designer, whose commentary on the event was broadcast live to the nation and suitably witty and well-informed it was too.
What's not to love, then, about anything this quietly brilliant man touches? Take a trip to the South-west, take in the exhibition and partake of the waters should you so wish.
Then, why not visit Jones's jewel-like Covent Garden store? It's lilac, which is his favourite colour, and it's where a bespoke service, his main line and more are all available and madame – or, for that matter, sir –might like to pick up a little something for Ascot while he/she is there.
Hats: From Georgiana to Boy George, The Holburne Museum, Bath, until 8 May, holburne.org