Stephen Jones: My 20 favourite hats

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

1. Marlene Dietrich's Spanish comb

The great thing about this hat is the placement on Dietrich's head. One thing I learnt from working with John Galliano is that hats are all about making a frame for the face. And this is one of the best frames I've seen. The harmony between hair, make-up and clothing is perfect, yet somehow you are still drawn to her face.

2. Simone Mirman's Langoustine Fantasia

Simone Mirman was the Queen's milliner in the 1960s. I just love the fact that this hat is based on langoustine. Philip Treacy summed it up when he said, "Wearing a hat is like having a party on your head." That's exactly what this is. It's eye candy, it means nothing, it's just fun.

3. Queen Mother's tulle

Cecil Beaton took this photograph of the Queen Mother in 1939 just before the outbreak of war, so it was deemed too extravagant to publish. The hat is now a dirty chocolate brown, because it's so full of dust, but it's a truly magical image.

4. Straw policeman's helmets

The navy-blue policeman's hat is such a great British icon and I just love the fact that someone has thought to remake it using straw. The only two places where they wore them were Luton, which is the centre of the straw-hat business in the UK, and Singapore.

5. Carmen Miranda's turban

Turbans are wonderfully basic – take a piece of fabric and wrap it round your head. Carmen Miranda started out as milliner, so when she said I want a pompom here or piece of fruit there, she knew exactly what she was doing.

6. Billie Holliday with gardenias

What is more beautiful than fresh flowers pinned to a woman's hair? Billie Holiday loved gardenias. The chalky-white colour looked so beautiful against her skin and the amazing scent went everywhere with her. They came from South America and were fabulously expensive but she got new ones every day. They were her luxury.

7. Stephen Jones' Rose Royce

This is the only one of my own designs I've chosen. It's basically a top hat and everybody – man, woman or animal – looks sexy in a top hat. I was trying to find a new way to represent flowers and ended up with this – a rolled-up piece of satin. It pulls together so many things that I love about millinery – it's simple, lyrical and easygoing.

8. King Tut's crown, by Dior

This shape has all sorts of symbolic meanings about power and religion but at the same time it is simply one of the most pure and beautiful architectural forms. There is something very beautiful about the line it creates. It elongates the neck and traces a gorgeous path through the chin and out through the crown of the head to the heavens.

9. Mrs Gertrude Shilling's 1973 Europe hat

This is Mrs Shilling, mother of the milliner David Shilling. She was a wonderful eccentric and every year her hats were the talking point of Ascot. Here she is in her EEC hat (the designs were often vaguely topical). She always had to get dressed around the corner because she couldn't fit into the car, and one year her hat was so big that she couldn't even get through the gates.

10. Elizabeth Taylor's headdress from Boom

Elizabeth Taylor wore this in a film called Boom. I love it because I'm sure it's the work of some crazed old set designer and it's all stuck together with a hot glue gun. There's some really cheap white marguerites and fake coral which looks as though it is made from cigarettes. But it just goes to prove that you can make a million-dollar hat out of dime-store material.

11. Dior bicorn, 1949

The great thing about Dior is that even though he did incredibly extravagant work, when you see the originals they are very disciplined and this hat is much smaller than it looks. It's a shape I've revisited quite a lot because, if you have width to the side of your face, it gives a gorgeous jawline and cheekbones.

12. 1940s day hat

This was made in the 1940s, back when everybody wore hats, by an American company called Braggard. I love the fact that it's a real expression of frivolity yet it's made in green and brown, not fuchsia pink. It would have been worn by a woman in a tweed suit on her way to lunch.

13. Seventeenth-century leather bonnet

This is the one I found in the drawer at the V&A. It's a boiled leather cap with the most simple stitching. The leather is about 5mm thick and absolutely rock-hard. This is something I would have loved to have made for Comme des Garçons but there it was, done... 400 years ago.

14. Schiaparelli shoe hat

I've been inspired throughout my career by this 1940s hat by Schiaparelli, which just happens to look like a shoe. Surrealism and millinery are a perfect match. There are only three in existence, so they are incredibly expensive. The V&A has purchased one for the show, so I am very excited.

15. Marlene Dietrich's Schiaparelli beret

What could be more elegant than a black beret? It's the T-shirt of hats. It can be worn in so many different ways then rolled up and put in your pocket. There's something universal about it – adults and children wear them and so do the rich and poor. When we contacted the Film Museum in Berlin to ask for one of Dietrich's berets they said, "Yes, we have 85 of them. Do you want Schiaparelli or Kangol?"

16. Queen Elizabeth II's headscarf

I do love a headscarf and the Queen has worn one all her life; even while driving a tank. It's a fabulous design as it's a simple square of fabric, practical, disposable, yet individual. In the 1950s every housewife wore one.

17. Darth Vader

Exactly the same shape as a Japanese samurai helmet, denoting power and strength. I went to see Star Wars when it came out in 1977, my second year of college, the second year of punk. It was an exciting time for me.

18. Dancer's hat from My Fair Lady by Cecil Beaton

This is the hat from My Fair Lady that we discovered flattened in a cardboard box in a costume cupboard in LA. It is one of my favourite hats of all time. It's a velvet, asymmetric pointed hat, which is quite a simple thing in itself, yet its proportions are very extravagant and beautiful. I'm going to restore it myself.

19. Eighteenth-century straw hat with straw flowers

This is so British and so pretty. It's also well preserved – whoever dyed those flowers certainly knew what they were doing. Hats can be wild and wacky, formed out of plastic and flashing lights, but sometimes it's quite nice to make things which are familiar and reassuring.

20. An ibex's horns

We thought Mrs Shilling was bonkers, but this is even more so. This is a fabulous, extraordinary headdress. The symmetry is perfect. I've tried many times to make the perfect set of horns but it has always eluded me.

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
film Ridley Scott reveals truth behind casting decisions of Exodus
News
people
Sport
footballArsenal 2 Borussia Dortmund 0: And they can still top the group
PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Arts and Entertainment
An unseen image of Kurt Cobain at home featured in the film 'Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck'
filmThe singers widow and former bandmates have approved project
News
Andy Murray with his girlfriend of nine years, Kim Sears who he has got engaged to
peopleWimbledon champion announces engagement to girlfriend Kim Sears
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden and Edwina Currie are joining the I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here! camp
tv
Arts and Entertainment
George Mpanga has been shortlisted for the Critics’ Choice prize
music
News
Albert Camus (left) and Jean-Paul Sartre fell out in 1952 and did not speak again before Camus’s death
people
Arts and Entertainment
Roisin, James and Sanjay in the boardroom
tvReview: This week's failing project manager had to go
News
Ed Miliband visiting the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. The Labour leader has spoken more openly of his heritage recently
newsAttacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But are the barbs more sinister?
Arts and Entertainment
'Felfie' (2014) by Alison Jackson
photographyNew exhibition shows how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
News
i100
Life and Style
Fright night: the board game dates back to at least 1890
life
Environment
The vaquita is being killed by fishermen trying to catch the totoaba fish, which is prized in China
environmentJust 97 of the 'world's cutest' sea mammals remain
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Fashion

    Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst- Insurance

    Negotiable: Argyll Scott International: Senior Business Analyst - Insurance ...

    Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

    £25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

    £16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

    Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

    £30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

    Day In a Page

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

    It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
    Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

    Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

    The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
    Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

    Sarkozy returns

    The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
    Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

    Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

    Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
    Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

    Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

    Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
    There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

    In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

    The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

    UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

    It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

    It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
    The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

    Staying connected: The King's School

    The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
    Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

    Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

    Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

    Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

    The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
    Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

    When two worlds collide

    Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?