Are shoes so important? Really? If I was a woman, I would be dressed in the same thing for a month and just change my hat and gloves. Maybe my shoes too; yes, I see what you mean but, really, it’s jewels that change an outfit. And I do love gloves. And I adddore hats. There are toooo many shoes now. I always tell the children [his students at the Royal College of Art where he is an honorary professor], ‘Don’t do shoes! Do hats!’ And the shoes are so strange, so vulgar. I hate these platforms that are all over the place today; they are all about grabbing attention. They are suburban! I never do a platform. Well, I did, in the 1970s, but that was a bad experience.
London's legendary milliner recently sat down with Dazed Digital for a look back on 30 years in the business. He almost missed out on the hat trade altogether, which would've been a shame - for one thing, because then the V&A wouldn't have its great exhibition Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones.
I've been a sucker for hats since mine disappeared at a show during couture week in Paris. (Ivana Trump, if you saw anyone walk off with it, email me.) So when I spotted these lovelies outside the Basso & Brooke show at London Fashion Week, I had to get a snap.
The trend to wear vintage hats blew up when Dita von Teese became a household name, but I like that these aren't the typical go-to options.
What do you think of the headwear - and the whole looks?
A combination of Dita von Teese, Isabella Blow tributes and a global recession that's left people looking back to days gone by have helped reintroduce a touch of class known as the hat. And thank goodness, because it gives people all the more reason to talk about great creative minds like Justin Smith.
Justin's bespoke millinery line, J Smith Esquire, fuses tried-and-tested detailing with modern shapes, and I would love to see the piece pictured below out on the streets. Stephen Jones is a fan of the range, and that iD styling award pretty much speaks for itself.
What's most surprising? Justin only finished his millinery course in 2005. I guess becoming creative director of Toni & Guy was time-consuming.
Here, Justin shares how it all took shape with the Fash Pack.
What made you get into hats from hairstyling, and what reaction did people give you when you announced your switch?
I used to do lots of avant-garde shows with the hairdressing, so it was quite a natural step. I went on a millinery course to help me with the avant-garde hair, and I had no call to do collections anymore as I left Toni & Guy (who I used to do them for).