Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mad Hatters

Some of my designer pals and I donned our favorite hats on Sunday and headed up to the wonderful Peabody Essex Museum (which is not in either Peabody OR Essex) in Salem, MA for their special exhibition called HATS: An Anthology by Stephen Jones. Celebrated milliner Stephen Jones partnered with the V&A in London to mount this touring exhibitions of some pretty amazing hats from many periods in history, including many of his own creations. The exhibition is beautifully produced, presenting the hats in groupings - bonnets, flowers, themes, client driven pieces, etc. Here are some of my favorites (there were more by the nice museum man made be stop taking photos!) and what kinds of interiors they might inspire or their wearers may could have spent time in:

Floral Hat, about 1910. London, straw and silk, V&A. Worn by Heather Firbank

This hat just screams garden party and of course, that brings to mind the wonderful "Downton Abbey".

 Stephen Jones' Still Life, Spring/Summer 2005. Tulle and perspex. Courtesy of Stephen Jones.

Of course, when a hat is made of tulle and a paint brush - Degas is all that comes to mind. I also thought of Carlton Varney and all things pink and green.

Christian Dior Haute Couture by Stephen Jones. Olga Sherer Inspirée par Gruau, Autum/Winter 2007. France, Leather, wood and sequins. Courtesy of Christian Dior Archives.

It's hard to tell in the photo, but the paints are made of sequins, including the little daubs on the end of the paint brush.  I could see the wearer of this hat being right at home in the Mario Buatta space below right or coming to life as the painter of the Judith Godwin abstract in the J. Randall Powers living room below left. 

Bergere Hat, 1760's. France, straw. Courtesy of V&A

This hat is really daintiness personified and Marie Antoinette as pretend shepherdess at Le Petite Trianon came immediately to mind.  The David Easton space, below left, showcases his love of French design style. The use of wild flowers on the round table adds a wonderfully whimsical touch.

The image above was all about top hats and bonnets, including Stephen Jones' top hat (bottom left); a black bonnet, circa 1835, England, velvet & silk (top left); Jo Gordon's "Kiss of Death" (see below); "Prince Albert" top hat, circa 1850; Stephen Jones for Comme des Garçons Homme Plus, Autumn/Winter 2008/2009 (pink); Stephen Jones "Merry Widow" (top, right).

‘Kiss of death’ bonnet, Jo Gordon, ‘Kiss of death’ bonnet, satin with pheasant feathers, England, 1996, given by the designer © V&A Images/Victoria and Albert Museum.

One of the other attendees at the show mentioned that she'd seen this wild creation in a movie, but I didn't catch the title.

Stephen Jones 

And, my friends and I - showing off our chapeaux. We were kind of roving ambassadors for the show! We had a lovely, elegant dinner at Nathaniel's restaurant at the historic Hawthorne Hotel, and yes, we wore our hats! I bought a cute fuchsia felted wool slouchy hat for winter at the gift shop and actually wore that to dinner - I could not see well under the brim of my black hat above!

Details about HATS at the PEM, here.

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