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Hats off – or rather hats on – to next season, as thanks to Marc Jacobs and Stephen Jones, the only accessory to be seen in is the one on your head.

Whether it be stepping off the Louis Vuitton express, avec luggage obliging porter, or at his namesake label show in New York, this designer and milliner embarked on the collaboration of the season, creating standout hats for both collections.

Maybe it’s the excitement of all things surrealist – via the up and coming Schiaparelli/Prada: Impossible Conversations at The New York Metropolitan Museum’s Costume Institute – or the pan-industry obsession with Meadham Kirchhoff’s A/W 12 disco dress up extravaganza? Regardless, joyful over the top escapism is high on the style agenda – and hats, whether they be Schiaparelli’s shoe hat collabo – with Salvador Dali – or an A/W 12 runway must have, form an important part of the eccentric vernacular.

Celebrating the individuality that magnificent millinery can bring to any look, Marc Jacobs was talking backstage at Louis Vuitton, about how “this season you have to have either a really crazy coloured wig or a really crazy hat – because somehow hair just feels too conservative.”

Between the two shows we caught up with his collaborator, milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones, whilst he curated and presented the BFC Headonism event at London Fashion Week, to talk about why hats are so important.

Stephen Jones: Ooh, I love your lavender hair.

Lucy Norris: Oh, thank you very much…

Stephen Jones: Before you were born, I used to have lavender hair. But it had to be bleached like pure white first of all, and then rinsed in lavender.

Lucy Norris: Was that in The Blitz club days?

Stephen Jones: No, that was before Blitz club, that was when I was at college – when I still had hair.

Lucy Norris So, what look did you rock at the Blitz club?

SJ: Oh, all sorts of different things really– normally by then a hat,  because of course at college I had the hair. It was bleached white blonde and rinsed, so it wasn’t actually dyed – so I had to rinse it purple every day – such a bloody palarva.

LN: Do you think if you hadn’t have gone into hats, you’d have gone into hair?

SJ: No, hair’s too annoying!

LN: Yeah – and having to keep re-dying it – and fixing it up…

SJ: …Yes, at least it grows out, so if you don’t like it – but as you can see with me, it just stops growing out after a while…

LN: So, are you pleased with today then, tell me about it.

Headonism designs: LFW A/W 12

SJ: Yes, today has been a great turn out.  We are at Headonism here, with a group of five fantastic milliners. And the reason why we are able to be here at Somerset house for London Fashion Week is because of the support of Ascot, as they have sponsored the event. Where do you wear hats? For racing, for Ascot – so it’s a perfect combination. And hats are a really important part of Ascot; they are doing a show and exhibition during Royal Ascot.

LN: So – with London Fashion Week – and the races coming up – it’s a really great celebratory opportunity, to just really go for it on hats?

SJ: Yeah, absolutely, and what I love about the hats that we are showing here today is that they aren’t all hats that you could just wear to the races, and they aren’t really just runway hats either – they are a sort of fantastic balance between the two. These five designers are all young and exciting  – so it’s not about a straw hat with a pink flower.

LN: So, obviously you did the fantastic hats earlier on this week at Marc Jacobs?

SJ: half killed me….

LN: Pardon?

SJ: It half killed me :)

LN: Oh, they were absolutely wonderful.  And in a sense, hats can really define a collection, can’t they?

SJ: Sure, because they are so visible!

LN: Obviously hats have been around forever, but certainly over the last couple over the last season, I’ve noticed more designers doing hats –  so for example, from Lanvin and Meadham Kirchhoff both doing the preacher hats last season, and even Donna Karen doing trilbies this week, in New York…so, is it nice seeing more designers venturing into hats?

SJ: I think so, yeah. It’s great – and it’s really good for them as well. It gives a real individuality to a show. Look, I am sure Erdem doesn’talways want to always do printed dresses – he may want to do a simple plain dress, but how does he give that dress more individuality? He puts it with a hat by Noel (Stewart).

LN: What are your hopes and dreams for the future of hats?

SJ: Higher bigger wider!

LN: And for you what makes the perfect hat?

SJ: That the person is having a good time wearing it.

LN: Of course…

SJ: I mean, because, you know, otherwise we may as well all slash our wrists….

LN: …it does change you wearing a hat…

SJ: Oh yes, yes. No, completely. I mean it really changes you. It can make you feel more confident; like more of a lady or more of a sex kitten.  It is a fantastic form of costume that is somehow believable. If you were to put that kind of information into clothes, it would be too much like dressing up, but because it is a hat you get away with it.

LN: Is there anyone that you think is wearing hats really well, right now?

SJ: There are all sorts of different people. Well now, I love Katy Perry when she gets dressed up.

LN: Oh, I love Katy…

SJ: Yeah – when she dresses up, she really gets into it – she really believes it in. It looks convincing, you know? That’s the main thing.

LN: Of all the women that have worn hats over the years, who is your favourite?

SJ: Well of course obviously there is Izzy Blow, who always looked fantastic in hats. The Queen looks fantastic in a hat – she looks so fierce!

Also, the thing is – it’s not even fashion at all – it’s her. Actually, for people that have worked in the fashion industry for a while, what we’re really chasing after is something that looks like the person who is wearing it…

LN:…it’s about them as an individual…

LN: So, from the five milliners showing at Headonism today, have you got a very favourite hat?

Headonism: William Chambers

SJ: What, here now – today? I can’t do that – that’s like asking me if I have a favourite child!

LN: Okay, we’ll leave that one then…

SJ: However, I do absolutely love this one, the flowers are made of drinking straws.

LN Oh, it’s so fun – they look like dahlias…

SJ: Totally…

Headonism is a BFC initiative celebrating the new wave of emerging British based hatters. The talents who have been invited to show at Headonism and Royal Ascot are Charlie le Mindu, J Smith Esquire, Noel Stewart, Piers Atkinson and William Chambers.

Marc Jacobs A/W 2012 Illustrations by James Norris of Pret-A-Rever