English designer

Stephen Jones: Milliner to the Stars

Susana Ramudo

Along with Philip Treacy, the English designer Stephen Jones has been, and still is, the most sought-after milliner by designers and fashionistas.

Born in England on July 5, 1957, Stephen Jones knew he wanted to follow a career in fashion from an early age. Years later, he would specialize in hat design. His first important work was for the brand Fiorucci in 1979, which marked the beginning of his career as a milliner. He designed his first collection in 1980, and in 1982 he launched his first fashion show in Paris to great acclaim by the experts and the fashionable set of the time.

By then he already had Princess Diana and Gala Dalí as his most loyal fans and assiduous clients, as well as designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier and Thierry Mugler, who hired him to collaborate in their collections. In New York his hats were worshiped by high society, and Bloomingdale’s in Manhattan began to sell them in 1984.


His creations are a constant at the exclusive equestrian races in Ascot, and last year the hat worn by the aristocrat Stella Tennant was the most admired.

The list of designers and fashion houses that turn to Jones to make hats for their collections is endless. Labels such as Dior, Azzedine Alaïa, Brioni, Burberry, Hermes, Lanvin and Karl Lagerfeld, and designers Roberto Cavalli, Guy Laroche, Emanuel Ungaro, Giambattista Valli, Vivienne Westwood, Jil Sander and Donna Karan have surrendered to the professionalism and perfection of the milliner. Each one of his hats has a life of its own and stands out from the rest of the accessories on the world’s catwalks.

However, his recent partnership with Marc Jacobs has gotten the biggest acclaim so far. The collaboration for the fall/winter collection presented by Louis Vuitton, featuring Jones’ hats made headlines in all the international fashion magazines.

Jones designed exclusive models for the Marc Jacobs collection, as well as Louis Vuitton, beautiful hats that evoke a new era. Perhaps impractical for everyday use, these pieces demonstrate the creative capacity of fashion as an art form. Jones created (for Jacobs) dramatic and extravagant hats that herald the return of these accessories with renewed force in the coming years, just like the fashion trends from the 1950’s.

For those who would like to view his work and appreciate its delicate craftsmanship, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London organized a splendid display of the 250 most characteristic pieces of the traditional English hat, so loved by Sarah Jessica Parker, Madonna, Dita Von Teese, Gwen Stefani, Kylie Minogue and Beyonce. Images from the anthological exhibition were seen around the world, increasing Jones’ fame and the adoration of his fans. Women who wear Stephen Jones’ hats join him in an adventure that rewards with the possibility of becoming a totally different person, an intriguing proposition that makes our imagination fly to different places and distant times.

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