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Women's Fashion / Collections Digest

Michael Howells on Stephen Jones' Wisteria Hysteria

Unique documentation of men's and women's fashion collections

Illustration by Stephen Jones
Illustration by Stephen Jones

Dover Street Market unveils its new window display by Michael Howells, in celebration of Stephen Jones' new fragrance in collaboration with Comme des Garçons

This month Stephen Jones launches his new fragrance in collaboration with Comme des Garçons, entitled Wisteria Hysteria. The whimsical scent captures the blithe theatrical spark of Jones and the avant-garde notions of the Japanese fashion house and marks a further step in a partnership that spans thirty years. Jones has designed multiple headwear collections for Comme Des Garçons, from crowns and rabbit ears to outlandish top hats and berets.

The accompanying window display for Dover Street Market to celebrate the fragrance launch was created by Michael Howells, who has played the right hand man to many of fashion’s most spectacular fashion shows and campaigns, including work with Nick Knight, Alexander McQueen and Dior. Here, Howells speaks to AnOther about his inspirations alongside Stephen Jones' exclusive illustrations created for AnOther.

What inspired the window display?
The installation for Stephen’s new perfume is simply based upon white wisteria, but rather than filling the space with fake flowers, I wanted a more graphic result with the perfume at the centre. I have often worked in paper, last year we constructed a life-sized elephant at Port Eliot, and I felt paper lent itself to this project.

Stephen Jones installation by Michael Howells
Stephen Jones installation by Michael Howells Courtesy of Dover Street Market
How long did it take to make?
Several techniques were used: laser cutting, folding, manipulation and a lot of hand-cut work. It took around three days, experimenting after the initial drawing.

What characteristics of Stephen Jones' work did you take into consideration?
I looked at the curve of a brim and the sculptural qualities of some of Stephen’s work. The cutwork of the wisteria is combined with folding and manipulating paper. I wanted a feeling of movement, taking Hogarth’s The Line of Beauty as an inspiration.

What was the last place that inspired you?
I’ve just spent a tempestuous windswept weekend in Shropshire. Wonderful textures and colours.

Text by Mhairi Graham

Mhairi Graham is fashion writer at AnOther and AnOthermag.com. She also writes for The Financial Times and Wallpaper* and came runner-up in the 2011 Vogue Talent Contest.

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