Back in February I mentioned the exhibit, Hats: An Anthology by Stephen Jones, which is currently on view at The Bard Graduate Center (but only for just another few weeks; the exhibit ends April 15th, 2012). Courtesy of the Center, I finally paid a visit this past weekend, and was absolutely in awe by what can only be described as artwork for the head. The exhibition, which first had it’s home at the Victoria & Albert Museum, includes over 250 hats curated by master milliner Stephen Jones that span hundreds of years and many countries of origin.
Spanning several floors of the gallery and broken into several sections, including inspiration, creation, the salon, and the client, the hats lent themselves to even further sub-categories which led me to re-imagine headpieces in a way I had never thought of before. Some of my favorite groupings included knit, embellishment, and shoe hats! As the centerpiece was one of Elsa Schiaparelli’s famous shoe hats, which I spent a solid five minutes starring it’s unique perfection. Other marvels on display included an original Darth Vader head piece from Star Wars in the ‘status’ sub-category (seen below), Andy Warhol’s wig, a shoe hat by Bill Cunningham (before he was a famed New York Times photographer, he was a milliner!), Candice Bergen’s bunny mask from Truman Capote’s Black and White Ball, as well as numerous runway pieces designer by Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy.
This exhibit is not for those who love hats-it’s for everyone with a reverence for history and art, and a fascination with the significance of dress and style in society. I for one was not a “hat” person, but after this exhibit…I have certainly changed my appreciation and respect for millinery!
The Bard Graduate Center is located at 18 West 86th Street, with the gallery open from 11am-5pm, Tuesday-Sunday. bgc.bard.edu
Also of mention is the Staging Fashion: 1880-1920 Jane Hading, Lily Elsie, and Billie Burke (at the Bard Graduate Center until April 8th, 2012) which looks at the role of actresses on society and their use of fashion at the turn of the 20th century. The exhibition features images, accessories, and articles of clothing that emphasize the sway of celebrity culture and the press materials and ephemera that went hand in hand with the rise of the prominence of icons.