Ground-breaking is a much-overused adjective, especially in the oft overhyped and hyperbolic world of fashion. But the Victoria and Albert museum's Fashion In Motion events - animating the staid galleries of this august institution and offering a rare chance for the public to experience the full-fledged glamour of a fashion show - indeed warrants such a description. It has (shockingly) been a decade since the V&A first began the series, and to celebrate both this landmark and Hats An Anthology by Stephen Jones, the latest Fashion In Motion show was a riotous celebration of six of contemporary millinery's most exciting names. The museum's Raphael gallery was dressed and lit to emulate the 'Italiante garden at twilight' theme Stephen Jones and Michael Howells sought to conjure through the exhibition design, and Jones himself introduced proceedings alongside his co-curator Oriele Cullen.
Besides Jones' inimitable creation, the evening provided a platform for London most inventive and innovative new names in hatmaking, presenting designs by new labels Noel Stweart, J Smith Esquire, Piers Atkinson and our Future Tense contributors Nasir Mazhar and Flora Mclean of House of Flora. Although disparate in the themes behind their collections, from tattoos to stained glass, ecclesiastical headgear to hybrid hair-hats (or 'hairts' for short), all showed an innovative and individual approach to materials, techniques and execution and underlining their justified current acclaim. Their preentations were topped and tailed by an array of Jones' dramatic millinery creations, from old favourites like the opening miniature Union Jack topper (perfect for any budding Anna Piaggi), to new classics like the metallic PacMan helmet created for Giles last season, to oversized velvet berets, twinkling LED stars and a spectacular mohican of tremblant pheasant feathers on Jade Parfitt to close.
My camerawork, frankly, doesn't do the event justice, but later this week our Hats Off project will be updated with photographer Clive Booth's atmospheric images captured during the live shows held throughout the day.