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17 Sep

Stephen Jones Travels Home With Collection Inspired by Wales

Stephen Jones Travels Home With Collection Inspired by Wales

PRINCE OF WALES: With three out of 4 Welsh grandparents, it was about time that milliner Stephen Jones turned his attention to his ancestral home.

He actually went all-out, calling the gathering “Cymru,” the Welsh name for Wales, and adding the hills, valleys, rivers and iconography of the Celtic country to his dramatic designs for the spring 2024 season.

In an interview, the designer said he was proud to big up the small country, which hardly gets any attention in the style world.

“Everybody does ‘Scottish,’ and Ireland is widely known — especially in America. Britain is widely known, too, but never Wales,” the designer said.

Jones presented his latest collection at his London shop, serving Welsh tea and traditional laverbread, which is constituted of seaweed found on the country’s shores.

Designs included a jaunty straw hat dotted here and there with daffodils, Wales’ national flower.

Jones said creating that one was a challenge.

“You should make it contemporary and fun and [right] for someone to wear on Bond Street, Madison Avenue, or at a cocktail party in Los Angeles. You don’t want it to look ridiculously patriotic. You’re attempting to make something of beauty — and make sure the color will not be imposition,” the designer said.

One other hat riffs on the red dragon, which has been an emblem of Wales since 655. Jones, using traditional techniques and invisible wiring, twisted diaphanous red silk right into a wing shape that sweeps high over the top and past the side of the face.

The milliner even saw beauty in coal (mining was once Wales’ biggest industry) and set fat jet stones into a fragile tiara.

A tall black hat with curves and a cascade of gold fabric recalled the peaks and valleys of Snowdonia and the country’s historical gold mines.

One other hat recreated the Welsh island of Anglesey, which sits in the course of the Irish Sea. Jones used Lurex and straw to construct the island and the ocean, and added little white turkey feathers to represent flying seagulls.

Jones and his team shot the lookbook a number of weeks ago on the pristine beaches of the Gower peninsula, and the designer happily posed with a few of the models wearing a John Alexander Skelton suit and a conventional tall Welsh hat.

Despite all those earthy and elemental references, Jones described the gathering as having a “certain lightness. These hats all are having a great time.”

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