Live Stream Q&A
7 Q&A Posts
Q. have you become more confident in your design style now then you were before?
Interesting thing, confidence. In a way, you become more confident - but you also know what can go wrong! I am more confident in a way - but yesterday, when I was trying hats on in a men's fitting, I don't now if it will work!
Q. What is your favourite thing about Christmas?
Being British, there are aways stories about British designers supplying the international houses - I have friends all over the world, but when they come back to London and I can see them over Christmas, that's the best part.
Q. I saw your exhibition on MoMu museum but don't understand about "blocks" that inspire you to do hats. Can you tell me a little bit more about the process you're using for making a head piece?
The basic principle of millinery - the main thing is that you're trying to make a 2-D fabric 3-D. You're moulding fabric over a shape - but as you do that, you can see you get all these shapes you don't want. The technique of millinery is that you're stretching fabric over a shape, and it's staying in that shape. Hat blocks are the same as shoe-lasts - they're a form of hat that you want that you steam or stiffen into shape. You can use anything - a corner of a suitcase, a dish. You just need a form. But that's the basic principle of hats.
Q. Stephen, what do you want for Christmas?
Some time off! I could say all sorts of tangible things, but I'm now 53 and the older you get you realise that the most precious gift is time. I treasure my Christmas holiday, because January-March is the busiest time of year. But a gold watch wouldn't go amidst.
Q. was it always hats?
No it wasn't always hat! I went to Saint Martins to be a fashion designer, it was hats just by chance. When I first left college I went to Paris to get a job, but didn't take a portfolio of hats. I started making them for friends, and my first paying customer - besides my mum - was Steve Strange.
Q. When dry on ideas, what do you turn to to keep ideas flowing?
When I'm designing, mentally I'm taking notes every second - anything at all is inspirational. There are things I turn to especially: living in a city, architecture is especially inspiring. Turn and see a building, and it could be a hat!
Q. whats the best advice youve ever been given?
It's difficult to separate into a few little words: don't look before you leap? Talking about how much you have to love what you're doing. Shirley Hecks, a tutor of mine, said 'You have to really love making hats. You can't resent it for one second.' Tat's what I've really taken to heart, and I do still love it thirty years later. And every designer I work with gives me advice. Rei Kawakubo, years ago, taught me about surprise in fashion - she said, I don't want you to make things that I want, I want you to make things that I don't want. That's the surprising thing in fashion.