Stephen Jones: From Georgiana to Boy George for Bath in Fashion at the Holburne Museum

By Ben Miller | 21 March 2012
A photo of a man in a snazzy black and white suit wearing a Union Jack hat

Exhibition: Stephen Jones: From Georgiana to Boy George, The Holburne Museum, Bath, March 24 – May 8 2012

“Millinery is extraordinary,” says Stephen Jones, perhaps the world’s finest artist when it comes to exquisite headwear.

“It’s just the most captivating thing within fashion for me – it’s the cherry on the cake. It’s the ultimate expression of individuality. It takes you into another world, into the place you want to be – it’s a complete fantasy on your head.”
His creations are certainly fantastical, so this major exhibition – specially commissioned for the week-long Bath in Fashion celebration, at which the debonair designer is one of the star speakers – is something of a sartorial show-stopper.

Jones’s spring/summer collection (the breezily-named Chinoiserie-on-Sea) is influenced by “Georgiana, Brighton and the Royal Pavilion”, as well as “that wonderful English formality which is at the same time fabulously dysfunctional”, and the hats on display here represent a showcase of some of them.

Having recently returned from working with Marc Jacobs and Victoria Beckham in New York, Jones has been busy in London collaborating on clothes for the Duchess of Cambridge. Somerset, though, retains a place in his heart and mind.

“I’ve loved coming to Bath throughout my life. I’ve always found it exquisitely beautiful and just somehow very good for the soul.

“The Holburne is such a jewel of a museum; it’s really like a jewel box. It never needed to be a functional building it’s just built to please the eye.

“That’s really what it does even now with that huge display case it is extraordinary. I’ve never been able to display my hats in a place like that.”

There’s plenty to enjoy across the city’s other venues during the week, including catwalks, a vintage fair, films at The Little Theatre Cinema and the announcement of the hotly-contested Dress of the Year award at the Fashion Museum.

“Bath always seemed to be so elegant and sophisticated in comparison with the industrial north,” admits Jones, reflecting on childhood trips from his birthplace of Liverpool.

“I have to say I still feel like that. When you’re in Bath you have to move differently and more elegantly. And you damn well should be wearing a hat, too.”

  • Open 10am-5pm (11am-5pm Sunday). Admission £3-£6.50 (free for under-5s, family ticket £12-£16). For full details of Bath in Fashion visit

More pictures:

A photo of a mannequin hat wearing a shiny purple hat with a feather in it
© Stephen Jones
A photo of a mannequin wearing an elaborate hat made of white material and feathers
© Stephen Jones
A photo of a mannequin wearing a curved black hat with cut-out shapes in it
© Stephen Jones
A photo of a mannequin wearing an elaborate circular hat with white shapes on it
© Stephen Jones
A photo of a mannequin wearing an elaborate long white hat with a green flower protruding from it
© Stephen Jones
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