This week I had the pleasure of hotfooting it up town to see one of my oldest friends milliner Stephen Jones collect an award given by The Champagne Bureau. Set in the historic building The Undercroft at Banqueting House, Whitehall where we were treated to a selection of fizz from De La Joie De Vivre and a multitude of nibbles whilst admiring a selection of archive hat's from the House of Stephen Jones.
For over three decades Stephen has been changing the way we wear our hat's, in fact I think it's true to say he brought millinery back into the limelight at the time. In his acceptance speech he remembered his first salon in the basement of PX in Endell Street (we're talking 1979 here!) where I worked as a shop girl... thanks for the name check dear. From his creative beginnings Stephen has never ceased with a work ethic that is both inspiring and fascinating. His attention to detail and focused attitude was and is always a thing that I've been mesmerized by.
In the 80's we shared a flat with Lee Sheldrick who did many wonderful illustrations for Stephen and later deejay and archivist Jeffrey Hinton. Even then Stephen would go to his tiny Soho headquarters in Wardour Street and whip up seasonal collections which in the early day's I modeled for him. We would have soiree's throughout the day with tea served and a set list of Stephen's favorite 'easy listening' soundtracks creating a delightful ambience as we turned our heads this way and that to show the full detail of each hat. I loved these small affairs I have to say. Stephen Jones Millinery then moved to a larger premises in Heddon Street and I continued to model for him on occasion.
Me, modeling Stephen Jones 80's
Nowadays Stephen is based in Great Queen Street, Covent Garden. He has a shop front full of his latest collections which actually when you walk in is quite breathtaking. You really can study the detail and craft that goes into each hat and headpiece. Rather prolifically Stephen also designs the the hats season after season for other designers including Giles, Comme and Raf Simmons for Dior, personalities both in music and the arts, has just launched his second perfume 'Wisteria Hysteria' as well continuing a pace with own seasonal and diffusion collections.
As Stephen said in his acceptance speech 'Joie De La Vire' (joy of living) is a description quite apt when describing his creative work. Chin-chin Stephen, let's raise a glass to your outstanding career! #ChampagneJoieDeVivre