28 March 2009

exhibitionists, part two

This week, G and I visited Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones at the Victoria & Albert Museum:

Stephen Jones, a London milliner, began researching the museum's vast hat archives in 2007, and the exhibition he's curated--showcasing hats from the 16th century to today--is nothing short of fabulous.

I'd never considered this before, but because hats are 'unconstrained by the need for fastenings or neck holes, sleeves or soles', milliners have a great deal more freedom than other fashion designers. Jones explores their many sources of inspiration: older hats, architecture and geometry, travel and exoticism, and the natural world.

There were so many amazing historical hats and some wonderfully theatrical modern hats. But keeping my own social calendar in mind, this squashy hessian hat with seed packets stuck in the brim would be perfect for working on the allotment:

image: Belinda Seper wearing her Stephen Jones hat, Sew & Sew from the Handmade in England collection, S/S 2005

And perhaps this number for the allotments' Spring Social:

image: Sarah Jessica Parker wearing her garden-inspired Philip Treacy hat, 2008

Unfortunately I couldn't find a good picture of the beaded Cauliflower Headpiece by Deirdre Hawken, which would be just right for the Seedling Sale. So a perfect excuse to visit the exhibition!


  1. I went to this exhibition last week and thought it was fabulous. It's always good to know someone else enjoyed it.

  2. What a fabulous exhibit! Lots of strange and wonderful hats to be sure. The National Portrait Gallery has been my first stop on my two previous trips to London, I just love it! I remember being so thrilled to walk into the room that held Jane Austen's portrait by her sister, Cassandra. Sheer bliss.

  3. Apparently hats weren't rationed in WW2 (I THINK I've remembered that rightly), so everyone could feel a tiny bit fancy, even in austere times. Love that 'allotment' number!

  4. My favorite part is when the museum folks start telling stories about all of the sinister things people used to do with hat pins -- yikes!!!

    (I bet I could whip you up one of those seed packet hats in no time. A little burlap, some hemp twine, a handful of old seed packets...I have all of it on hand!)

  5. The hessian hat looks as though someone has sat on it to eat a picnic - perhaps it is multipurpose.

    I am so glad that you reported on this exhibition because I don't think that I am going to have time to go.

  6. What an original and interesting post. Lovely. Nicola

  7. I loved the V&A hat exhibition and also managed to get along to the Mad Hatters party last Friday. The Easter Bonnet parade was fab and we even managed to decorate some hats ourselves...none of which survived the journey home, sadly. Bur I am inspired. Very.