Thursday, September 29, 2011

Hats: An Anthology at Bard Graduate Center (Part 3)

We had so much fun at the opening for Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones that we did not have time to see the entire exhibition, and simply had to go back last Sunday. Here are the pictures we took from our second trip, which we've incorporated into our third installment. (More about the locale of our photo below.)

Below is a hat from Tudor England. Since hats are made of soft, natural material that perishes easily (humidity and animals with various numbers of legs are often to blame), clothing that survives as long as this in a moist climate is very rare. (The feather and ribbon are both replacements, but the leather base is original.)

This hat, open and box-shaped, is almost the anti-hat. Takes thinking outside the box to new levels!

A still from a wonderful video, Hat Modes (1941). In two minutes, we see how a single felt hat can be shaped five different ways (low over the eye, high toward the back of the head, pinned on both sides, encircled from crown to chin with a veil and decorated around the crown with a ribbon) for five completely different looks.

The latest Marc Jacobs hat, making the rounds in several iterations.

This hat was made and worn by Leigh Bowery, outre leading light of the '80s London club scene.

Below is the entire outfit. This photo is also the cover of Leigh Bowery Looks, Fergus Greer's amazing compendium of Bowery's fantastical costumes.

What look could be hotter than a hat made of matchsticks?!

A Gaultier hat worn over the eyes, with tassel tears.

Another rare hat from the 17th century England, this one made of beaver fur. The 17th century hat box is also preserved.

Stephen Jones often collaborates with fashion houses. This is a Comme des Garcons hat.

This feathered hat is a stunning evocation of a bird in flight.

It's WONDERFUL to see Elsa Schiaparelli's fanciful shoe hat up close. It's actually made of black felt, except for the heel, made of luscious red velvet.

Stephen Jones pays homage to Schiaparelli's shoe hat with his own great design. The updated Jones version is made of sheer molded plastic black netting, with glass 'taps' at the toe. So playful!

New York's own Bill Cunningham, a milliner before he became the iconic photographer for The New York Times, made a shoe hat using a real shoe.

This hat in Burberry plaid belongs to Italian Vogue editor Anna Piaggi. The internet has endless pages of Piaggi in hats (more than 71 verifiably different hats, not counting photos too small to see and thoughtlessly, heartlessly, cropped photos). Where does she keep them all? DOES she keep them all? And none of the photos show this hat. Might Piaggi have a hat for every day of the year? If there were annual tours of private closets the way there are annual tours of private gardens in flower, the Piaggi closet tour would undoubtedly be the hot ticket of the year.

We don't understand why anyone calls Andy Warhol's toupees fright wigs. The later ones were marvelous to look at, and beat hell out of baseball caps for the follicularly challenged.

A third 17th century English hat - called an apprentice's cap. Gargantuan old English estates, with their endless storage space and generations of devoted caretakers, must have had something to do with the remarkable preservation of hats like these.

This hat, by Kirsten Woodward, is entitled Sex on the Brain.

Want still more Stephen Jones hats? We went to Comme des Garcons the other day (in the photo above, we posed in front of the entrance to their Chelsea boutique, bedizened with little Maos at the entrance), where there are several on display (hats - not Maos - and only a few - hats - for sale). We were not allowed to photograph, but we found the picture below from Fashion’s Night Out online on An Unknown Quantity, a wonderful street/fashion photography blog by Wataru “Bob” Shimosato. We HAVE to point out that the igloo hat, in the upper left hand corner of the display, is accompanied by a small Eskimo attached by a delicate foot long white strand.

By the way, Roberta Smith, art critic for The New York Times, has written a review of the show. Read her review here, and check out the reverence apparent in the clever title.

The Wall Street Journal also covered the show, rolling its coverage into an article about the upswing in the popularity of hats this fall. (Pictures in the article demonstrate [accidentally] that royals do not know how to wear hats. Or maybe they just don’t know how to match them to their outfits.) To see the article, click here.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *


Since we're going on about hats, and since several weeks ago we did a posting about nothing but men's hats, we have to show you this great picture (below) of Vogue editor Hamish Bowles in a Philip Treacy hat for his recent appearance under a pseudonym on The X Factor. (You can see the full article in the October Vogue.)

Click here for coverage of Bowles' adventure and more photos from And we just HAD to show you a close-up of the Christian Louboutin shoes (below). Isn't it interesting that when a woman wears flats everyone says 'BORing', but when a man wears flats everyone gasps at how beautiful they are? These are FABulous, and we want a pair too!

But we have to end with these photos, taken only yards away from Comme des Garcons, because we came across the largest cocktail we've ever seen. LOL, as they say on Twitter, which we have yet to use!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hats: An Anthology at Bard Graduate Center (Part 2)

You shouldn't ask 'why do you wear a hat?' What you really should be asking is 'why are you not?' - John Galliano

As promised, since we were so blown away by the more than 250 hats currently on display in Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones at Bard Graduate Center, here without further ado is our first sequel. Second (and final) sequel to come Friday. The quotable quotes interspersed here are all from the catalogue that accompanies the show.

Does this mean hats are only for those who want to be the centre of attention? Not at all, but they confer a sense of presence and poise to the wearer that, in my mind, cannot be achieved through clothing or other accessories. - Stephen Jones

... a good hat provides an unending source of entertainment, glamour, amusement and inspiration. - Oriole Cullen

...the lure of hats [in a shop window] ... lies in capturing the imagination and fantasies of the customer, while also assuring them that their choice will inspire admiration in the onlooker. - Oriole Cullen

Why are [hats] remaindered to the Timbuktu of fashion when they are in fact its Shangri-La? - Stephen Jones

...once the person puts the hat on it becomes the focal point of the outfit; the hat explains your Look. - Stephen Jones

If I were a psycho-analyst, I would go into partnership with a really smart milliner. Because if I knew my job as a psycho-analyst, I would realize that most inhibitions and repressions that afflict the modern woman could be cured quite simply by a new hat. - Milliner Aage Thaarup, 1936

...the hat will serve to mark out the individuality of the wearer and separate her from the crowd. - Oriole Cullen

...hats tell a story unlike any other. - Stephen Jones

Maybe it's because we communicate with our heads that anything that changes them in shape, colour or decoration is a striking statement. - Stephen Jones

The millinery shop is a magical place, the site of transformation. - Oriole Cullen

Choosing a hat is not always a straightforward matter... - Oriole Cullen

When a brim shadows an eye seductively, or a feather exaggerates the movement of the head, this is when all the effort put into the hat has meaning. - Stephen Jones

A hat is nothing until worn. - Stephen Jones

[Jones has said] the process of creating a hat is akin to turning a fantasy into reality. But the fantasy mutates as everyone takes their own personal interpretation from the piece." - Oriole Cullen

When the right hat meets the right client, the performance of wearing begins. - Oriole Cullen

The wearer brings the hat alive... - Stephen Jones

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hats: An Anthology at Bard Graduate Center (Part 1)

A hat show. The Idiosyncratic Fashionistas. Need we say more?

On September 14th, we attended the opening night exhibition and party for Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones at the Bard Graduate Center. The show, a collaboration between the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and world-renowned milliner Stephen Jones, is comprised for more than 250 hats, the majority of which were chosen by Stephen Jones and Oriole Cullen, a curator at the V&A, from the museum's extraordinary hat collection.

Here Stephen Jones and Oriole Cullen pose on the first floor by the Bard Gallery's spiral staircase. Both were, of course, wearing hats of his design. In addition to his two-tier deep red fez, Mr. Jones was wearing a long coat with his famous silhouette on the back, rendered in black leather.

Where to begin???!!! Hats in the show ranged from a twelfth-century Egyptian fez to a 1950s Balenciaga design to contemporary pieces by Jones and his contemporaries like Philip Treacy, whose Feather Hat 1995 (of flamingo pink goose feathers) graces the Bard's program. The Union Jack top hat on the mannequin is by Stephen Jones. (See the video on the third floor for a step-by-step view of the creation process.) We took so many pictures that, in a radical departure from our usual style, this week's post comes to you in three parts, to make sure every delectable gets its due. Today, we're only covering opening night hats worn by guests. Please come back on WEDNESDAY and FRIDAY this week to see our favorites among the 250+ stunning hats in the show. We were not disappointed (and have already seen the show twice). If you are a hat lover, you won't be disappointed either! And so, in no particular order:

The wonderful red felt hat worn by Bard professor Amy Ogata echoes the shape and color of Stephen Jones' hat that evening. Jean's hat, which puts an entirely new twist on the tricorne concept, is made by Ignatius Hats.

Rebecca Allan, who SO kindly invited us to the event, posed with Jean in front of Stephen Jones' famous silhouette in the lobby of the Gallery. Rebecca is head of Bard Graduate Center's education department.

Leigh Wishner (in leopard beret) of Cora Ginsburg (an amazing source for historic textiles) keeps popping up (unsurprisingly) at fashion-forward events.

New York City milliner Ellen Christine.

Fashion and garden designer Dianne B. (Benson) was escorted by none other than Tony Award-winning, Emmy-nominated actor John Glover.

New York milliner Gretchen Fenston, center. She and her guest are both wearing Fenston creations. Gretchen is also registrar of the Conde Nast archives. She and Rod Keenan are collaborating on a Study Day program at Bard on November 11th from 10 AM to 4:30 PM entitled "Archives as Inspiration".

Stephen Jones signs Valerie's copy of the catalogue. It says: "Dear Valerie, Guggenheim fabulous!" What better inscription than that from the master himself??? The Guggenheim was also made by Ignatius Hats.

Co-author Oriole Cullen also signs Valerie's book. A collectors's item!

New York milliner Rod Keenan, far right. Both mens' hats are his creations. He is Gretchen's Bard Study Day co-presenter.

A hat made to look like the interior of a yarn basket, complete with knitting needles.

A fabulous red vinyl doll's hat. Probably from the 1960s, said the wearer.

This hat was designed by New York milliner Anthony Maxwell.

Men in hats were too few and far between, but this wonderful exception to the rule wore a turban.

Linda Zagaria with Jean.

New York milliner Jennifer Ouellette sports a hat she made out of metro cards, the plastic version of subway tokens. Her guest also wears an Ouellette creation. One of Jennifer's hats appears in the show (on the second floor).

Christina Viera in a hat she made herself, Jean, Tziporah Salamon in a vintage Chinese hat, and Valerie.

Chinese takeout boxes re-purposed into hats. As you can see, guests really went all out for this event.

We had so hoped to link you to Bill Cunningham's photos for the New York Times of the hats worn the evening of the fund raiser (when hats by such well known names as Frank Gehry and Yoko Ono were auctioned off. Click here for a look at the auction offerings.) Haven't found the link, but we did find this small version. There really are some stupendous hats. Hope we can find a link, or you can somehow find the newspaper.

BE SURE TO JOIN US AGAIN THIS COMING WEDNESDAY (9/28, late, late as always) when we'll put up the first batch of hats from the show.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"The shape of things to come!" While rushing to the subway in Tribeca to get uptown to Bard, Jean ran right into our friend, fashion designer Jeffrey Williams, winner of Bravo TV's "The Fashion Show". We'd invited him to the 9/13 Ace Hotel Advanced Style Fashion Week Event. (Check last week's post to see what he wore!) On Thursday evening, 9/22, we attended an exhibit of his latest clothing and handbag collection. Since we're so totally hat-centric this week and won't be posting about his show until a later date, we wanted to give Jeffrey a shout-out and you this coming attraction.