On Friday night, I hot-footed it on down to the majestic The Bowes Museum, in Barnard Castle, County Durham, for the private view of a truly fantastic new fashion exhibition - Stephen Jones; From Georgiana to Boy George.
The Bowes Museum's Fashion & Textile Gallery recently played host to the prestigious Vivienne Westwood Shoes exhibition, and with this second high profile fashion exhibition, this exquisite, historical venue is really proving to be a draw for major fashion players.
The night started with a champagne reception and a speech from main man himself. The milliner explained that designer Giles Deacon had first brought Jones' attention to the Bowes Museum, citing the museum's Silver Swan automaton as an influence for his Spring/Summer 2012 collection (Deacon went to Barnard Castle Prep School as a child, which is situated next door to the Bowes Museum). Giles and Jones' red swan masterpiece from Giles' Spring/Summer 2012 collection is on show as part of the exhibition, including the red swan headpiece which Jones' created for this collection.
The exhibition itself, although small, showcases a beautifully curated selection of Jones' iconic designs. For this display, Jones has collaborated with friend and fashion writer Iain R Webb, utilising pieces from the Bowes' permanent collection to show an inspired display of his millinery. Antique mannequin heads from Bath's Museum of Fashion & Costume were also loaned for the exhibition.
I managed to speak to Stephen at the launch, where he very kindly signed my copy of Stephen Jones and the Accent of Fashion book, including a small drawing of one of my favourite Stephen Jones designs - the infamous Pac Man helmets he created for Giles' Spring/Summer 2009 collection.
Stephen Jones; From Georgiana To Boy George runs from 19th May - 2nd September 2012 in the Fashion & Textiles Gallery at the Bowes Museum, Barnard Castle, County Durham, DL12 8NP
On Thursday 9th August 2012, Stephen Jones will be in conversation with friend and acclaimed fashion writer Iain R Webb, bringing the two together to discuss their life-long love of fashion, history and hats.