Stephen Jones Exhibition at Brighton Pavilion- Part 2

Earlier this spring, reader Scarfie attended the exhibition, “Stephen Jones Hats at the Royal Pavilion”. The first part of her review of the exhibition, which we all enjoyed yesterday, concludes today. Welcome, Scarfie!  

Next up was the Banqueting Room Gallery which contained rather fewer hats spread out across the various pieces of furniture.  I absolutely LOVED the red top hat with fur tail which was in the “Murder by Millinery” section! There was also an interesting hat made of felt puzzle pieces.  Further along the room were some hats that looked liked diamante spiders webs – a very interesting way to make a hat giving such a light delicate effect.

After this room you pass into the most amazing room in the whole pavilion – The Saloon.  I was blown away by this room from its fantastic Axminster made Peacock carpet to the silk wall linings it truly was fabulous!  I don’t think there were any hats in this room as the room is too splendid in itself. Leaving the Saloon you arrive in the Music Room Gallery and here I saw a lovely black musical note fascinator, a jaunty hat was very taken with as it was so very delicate.

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The Music Room itself is a large grand room of red walls with gold pictures painted thereon.  This room showcased several Dior gowns topped off by Stephen’s creations – I understand that the dresses have been gifted to the Pavilion by Dior, if true that certainly is a lovely gift!

Embed from Getty Images

Embed from Getty Images

Some of the busts were adorned with hat creations as well, although one is of Stephen Jones himself, I assume solely for the exhibition.  His hat is a gold dragon-esque design and then we have the King with a series of Chinese style hats in graduating sizes really quite novel to see.

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#Repost @simonmartin_art ・・・ MILLINERY EXCESS: last night was the opening of Stephen Jones’ exhibition of 170 hats in the remarkable setting of the Royal Pavilion in Brighton. There can be few interiors so exotic and over-the-top , and so suited to imaginative and eye-catching qualities of his hats. In the flamboyant banqueting hall, with its chinoiserie dragons and candelabras, is a fantasy dinner party where hats for @ladygaga sit alongside hats @stephenjonesmillinery has made for other celebrities. “But will they get on?” He asked. There can have been few such glamorous gatherings in those rooms in recent years with everyone from @suzymenkesvogue and @gilesdeacon_ @hilaryalexanderobe @luncheonmagazine @rottingdeanbazaar ingdeanbazaar and many others there to support Mr Jones. Bravo to @martinpelcurator and to @brighton_museums for taking a risk what will repay in spades. And thank you to @stephenjonesmillinery for brightening the darkest, wettest night with your art. Go and see - just what they should be doing in the Royal Pavilion! #stephenjones #stephenjonesmillinery #interiors #instainteriors #royalpavilion #royalpavillion #brighton #fashion #design #ig_brighton #dior thank you @simonmartin_art and above all @harveynichols !

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In the Kings Apartments on the ground Floor there was a selection of “crowns” some being made from teddy bears and a rather spectacular silvery metal crown over the centre of the bed head (see this at 1:30 in the first video at the bottom). Following, was a series of hats that were made to look like dresses that I loved. These were so imaginative and pretty and like nothing I had ever seen before.  It truly is amazing what you can into a hat.

Upstairs, the Yellow Bow Rooms contained a massive gold hat suspended over one bed – the same one as on the floor beside Mr. Jones in the photo below. Unfortunately I was flagging somewhat by this time so did not pay too much attention to what the hat was made of!  Needless to say it was certainly impressive by virtue of its size. In another of the Yellow Bow Rooms, there was a large feather hat sitting on the bed and you can see Stephen wearing it in the second video below.

In the final area/room of the Pavilion, the South Galleries (landing area) had the most futuristic hats of all – like helmets but they reminded me of the Cadbury’s Smash aliens!

I’m afraid I was not overly keen on how the hats were displayed in some rooms, as the Pavilion itself is a very ornate and “busy” place so it was at times at bit hard to distinguish what was pavilion and what was exhibit!  This was particularly the case in the Banqueting Room.  However, after preparing this review of the exhibition, I wanted to go again to absorb more of it.  Over 150 hats is a lot to take in in one visit and I wish I had taken some notes.  It was very much worth the visit as the Pavilion is stunning and these hats just added to the amazing experience.  I was just a little sad that there were no postcards of the actual hats on show to buy, just some design drawings that were not actually Stephen Jones’ and some books.  It would have been good if the Pavilion had been able to produce some sort of small catalogue showing a photo and details of each hat and dress on display for say £5 as I am sure it would have been be a sell out!

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Embed from Getty Images

These videos give a very good overview of the exhibition. In the second video, Stephen Jones discusses the exhibition (he talks to his hats!) and adds interesting tidbits about his career.

Scarfie, this tour has been fantastic. An immense thank you from all of us who were not able to make the trip to Brighton to see it for bringing it to us. Thanks for helping us celebrate Stephen Jones, one of the great masters of millinery.

Photos from Scarfie may not be replicated under any circumstances; phots from social media and Getty are indicated 

10 thoughts on “Stephen Jones Exhibition at Brighton Pavilion- Part 2

  1. Scarfie and HatQueen, thanks so much for the two Stephen Jones posts – absolutely extraordinary! I’m sure you walked away with millinery overload after your visits to the exhibit. Jones’s artistic creativity is truly unmatched. I was amazed to discover that he is only 62 years old: I would have taken him to be a little older, primarily due to his vast hat oeuvre. Also, the two videos were very entertaining, indeed. I learned several things and I have a question:
    1. Yes, you CAN make a hat out of a crushed beer can and red spray paint.
    2. I am now familiar with the Brighton Pavilion – what an unbelievable edifice!
    3. Were all these hats collected from around the world for the show, or were some of them (like Diana’s tan suede hat) reproduced?

    • I got the impression from the labels that most were the actual hats on loan from the owners and Diana’s hat label clearly stated it was a copy. A lot were from SJ’s own archive (he must have a huge store!)
      If you get a chance to visit the Pavilion it is just amazing I had never been before and it was completely “other wordly” inside! Well worth a visit. I posted some photos from my visit on my IG account if you wish to see the exterior. Glad you enjoyed the post!

  2. I would just like to point out that I did visit the exhibition a second time and have some updated information about the gifts from Dior – namely that I understand that the hats atop the Dior dresses were given by Dior to The Met in New York but now The Met has very graciously donated the 4 hats to the Brighton Pavilion. I had thought it was the dresses that were gifted but it was the hats.

  3. Thank you very much for this wonderful tour. I know the Pavilion well as I grew up in Brighton, but hadn’t heard about this exhibition which looks great fun. It’s a shame I live further away now!

  4. Thanks very much, Scarfie! What a treasure trove of hats they assembled for this exhibition! Your photos were wonderful.

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