Daily Archives: September 12, 2012

Millinery Marvels

Look at these hats!  And fair warning:  the last one is a little racy. Besides the re-dedication of the Witch Trials Memorial ceremony, the other big Salem event of this past weekend was the opening of Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones  at the Peabody Essex Museum.  The exhibition features over 250 hats from the last millennium (although most were fairly modern), chosen by Jones in collaboration with the curators at the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, where the exhibition was first on view a couple of years ago.  The hats, sourced from Jones’ own workshop, private collections, and the Victoria & Albert, are showcased in an innovative and interactive way that emphasizes not only the objects but also hat-making and hat-wearing. Every time the PEM ventures into the fashion realm–from shoes to wedding dresses to the celebrated closet of Iris Apfel–there are crowds, and I’m sure this exhibition will be extremely popular as hats are immediately accessible. As Stephen Jones says, “With hats, what you see is what you get.”

I went to the exhibition preview late last week and snapped some photographs, but many of them came out murky or flashy so I’m supplementing this preview with images from the Victoria & Albert collection for the sake of clarity: details are very important with hats!

Philip Treacy hat (1995) in Salem and the V & A image.

A display from the Salem exhibition,  a straw hat by Madame Suzy (1937) and Jo Gordon’s “Kiss of Death” hat (1994).

A mock-up of a milliner’s workshop.

In addition to these hats, there was a Tudor cap, a leather Jester’s hat, several Schiaparelli “shoe hats”, baroque nightcaps, bonnets, fascinators, helmets, and avante garde creations of all kinds, including the x-rated example below: Kirsten Woodward’s aptly-titled Sex on the Brain (1996).  Pretty intricate–and intimate.

And pictured below is the master millinery among his hats, from the companion volume to the exhibition, also called Hats:  an Anthology by Stephen Jones (with Oriole Cullen,V & A Publishing, 2009).

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