When we Americans were in Antwerpen in September we were given a tour of the city which happened to take us right past the MoMu fashion museum. The very second the words “fashion museum” left the lips of our tour guide I knew I would be back. It took me a few months but this past Sunday my dear friend Lindsay and I hopped a train to Antwerpen to see was wonderous couture awaited us inside this museum.
Once in Antwerpen, I was incredibly impressed with how easy the city was to navigate. The museum was about a straight 15 minute walk from the train station and there were maps and signs posted every few blocks to let you know just where you are. Finding the building was easy, finding the entrance was a much different story. We had to walk all the way around the building, nearly doing a whole circle to find the entrance. Because we are students we only had to pay €1. I love how the museums in Europe love students.
The MoMu only houses one exhibit at a time which changes every few months. The exhibit we had the honor of seeing was “Stephen Jones & The Accent of Fashion.”
Stephen Jones is THE hat man of high fashion. There is pretty much a 90% chance that if you see a hat on a celebrity, in a high fashion magazine, or on the runway that it is his design. He has worked with every major designer and is loved by all. The dedication in the exhibit guide book was written for him personally by John Galliano of all people. That is proof enough right there that this man is on top his game.
Jone’s story really a heart lifting one. He had a rough childhood growing up in England. Having been born missing three fingers he was bullied as a child. Many believe it was the strength gained from these experiences that turned Stephen into the hard-working resilient man of fashion that his is today.
The exhibit was broken into 4 themed sections: Adventure, Rococo, Science, and Glamour. Each section began with an enlarged version of one hat from that sections. Contained in each section were mannequins sporting some of the signature looks that were paired with certain hats in runway shows. All of the hats and looks were housed on top of enlarged replicas of a Stephen Jones hat box. The presentation of the hats was clean and simple which really helped the viewer focus on the artistry which is the hats.
A Stephen Jones hat will always be a truely unique item. People who wear them are said to sport the attitude of “I am unique, I am interesting, and I don’t give a fuck.” This is quoted from a film the exhibit was playing about Jone’s life. The exhibit itself was amazing. Looking at all these amazing hats made me realize I do no have that many unique thoughts ever. There is no way in the world I would have been able to think up hundred of different ideas of things to slap on someone’s head. It reminded me of this time I was looking at works of art, I think it was for a class but I don’t remember exactly. One kid said something along the lines of “I could have made that and probably could have done it better.” Someone replied to him saying “but you didn’t think to make it and you also didn’t think of making something better.”
I could only wish to be half as creative as Stephen Jones in my life time. His work is so inspired. The deatail in each peice really shows that he does not stop work on a hat until it is perfect. I also wish that I could find something in my life that I could be passionate about the way he is passionate about hats.