Maestro of milliners Stephen Jones collaborates with many designers—right now he’s hard at work on Dior Menswear and cruise for Kim Jones and Maria Grazia Chiuri, respectively. But the heart of his work is the couture collection he produces out of his studio in Covent Garden, London. Working on his latest collection in lockdown presented Jones with a unique problem: beyond conceiving his designs, sketching them into existence, and creating toiles, how could he nurture the work into actuality?
Via Zoom, Jones says: “I also knew everything was moving online and I wanted to do something special. And the best digital representation of fashion I have ever seen is Noonoouri.” The literally difital influencer Noonoouri is the creation of Munich-based graphic designer Joerg Zuber, who readily agreed to Jones’s suggestion of a collaboration. From his window on the Zoom, Zuber explains: “This was a new and challenging process. Because usually when we work with Noonoouri, we have an already produced piece. So that means I get a lookbook shot of a dress or a hat and I adapt them to her body. In this case we had the sketches and the little sculptures and the imagination of Stephen… So the challenge in this project is basically that we created something that doesn’t exist and right now you can see it as it would be.” Jones adds: “And she actually quite influenced the design of what I was creating. And that’s what I’ve done throughout my career, I started making hats for specific people.”
Working together, then, Jones and Zuber have digitally manufactured a couture collection for which Noonoouri is the prime client—you can see her modeling the results here (with annotations on each design kindly provided by Jones) and in the film dropping on the London fashion Week platform today.
Watching that film, what is evident is the level of digital creative craft Zuber has applied to render Jones’s analogue creative craft on Noonoouri. It also suggests that in the evolution of reasons humans wear hats, the rise of digital conferencing might be a tech-driven opportunity for new-millennium millinery. Does Jones agree? When asked he reaches off-screen for a boater, applies it at a jaunty angle, and says: “Absolutely! You don’t talk through your feet, do you?”
The Rococo, Courtesy of Stephen Jones
The Magician, Courtesy of Stephen Jones
The Wave, Courtesy of Stephen Jones
The Phantasia, Courtesy of Stephen Jones4/5
The Cap, Courtesy of Stephen Jones5/5