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“Stephen Jones is a visionary artist that has reinvented millinery for a new generation,” says Madonna’s stylist, Arianne Phillips.
There is, however, hot competition with the emergence of milliners of a similar pedigree. “There are people coming through—quite a lot from the Royal [College],” Jones says. Notably there is Noel Stewart (who once acted as Jones’ apprentice) and Justin Smith’s bespoke millinery; Japanese-born Misa Harada, who, as well as legions of Japanese fans, counts Janet Jackson among her clients and has collaborated on runway shows for Thierry Mugler and Yohji Yamamoto, and, of course, Treacy.
But, in Jones’ upbeat view, the more, the merrier. Even today’s talk of a recession does not give Jones any headache. “Well, in a funny way, they’re unnecessary,” he admits, “which of course makes them such a necessary thing.”