Lone Ranger Mask Designer, Stephen Jones Talks Johnny Depp, Nicole Kidman and the New Millinery Generation

07 August 2013 by

Disney's new release The Lone Ranger has brought a visual feast to our screens along with a certain Mr Johnny Depp. While his face might be covered in paint for his role as Tonto, Depp's magnetism manages to shine through. But should you be wondering how Armie Hammer (aka Lone Ranger John Reid) managed to mask himself quite so dashingly, you'll have to ask London's premier milliner Stephen Jones. We caught up with the on-set mask designer to get the inside scoop on the feminine mystique and Johnny's hat mastery.

Disney's The Lone Ranger

Grazia Daily: How did the collaboration with Disney come about?

Stephen Jones: I’ve always loved Disney and when I was a kid the Lone Ranger was beyond exciting. I remember seeing it a TV series aged 5 or 6, but of course I was hiding behind the sofa at the scary bits. I’d collaborated with Disney before for 1001 Dalmatians - that was 7 years ago. So when they came to me and said there was an opportunity to work on The Lone Ranger, it was perfect. The mask is a key part of the plot and as masks and millinery go perfectly together, I couldn't refuse! The project was also done through the BFC because Disney wanted to include BFC and Headonsim which was really great becasue the young milliners who all worked on the collaboration [each Headonist deisgner came up with his or her own mask design for the project] had never done anything like it before. So it was great to show them how it is done.

Grazia Daily: Did you like the film? How was the experience of making it for you?

Stephen Jones: I had a great time! I’m a huge Johnny Depp fan, so it was great to see him in character. There were lots of other people coincidently working on the project that I had known in the past. I’d worked with Penny Rose - the film’s costume designer - literally 30 years ago, so it was great to see her again and see her work. I thought the cinematography was amazing and the script had just the right balance between serious plot and humour.

Grazia Daily: You mentioned that you are Johnny Depp fan. He’s a big hat wearer – do you approve?

Stephen Jones: Johnny wear hats fantastically. I think he just has the confidence and therefore he has that sense of believability. When it comes to men’s hats, the least sexy thing is for a man to look awkward. Johnny looks completely at ease with himself in a hat – but then even when he wears his white grease print and a crow on his head he looks believable.

Milliner, Stephen Jones

Grazia Daily: Which other stars do you think wear hats well?

Stephen Jones: Dita von Teese always looks very elegant. And Nicole Kidman wears hats very well. I’ve made hats for her for many years – she always looks great. To be a great actor, it’s very much a question of owning your costume. I suppose hats are costume so stars like to wear them and create a character. Nicole certainly owns her look when she's wearing a hat.

Grazia Daily: What’s the beauty of a mask?

Stephen Jones: It’s the idea of hiding something more than revealing it. Not to say a naked woman is boring but she’s certainly more interesting in lingerie. It’s part of the feminine mystique to conceal – you could say that a mask is like lingerie for the face.

A Stephen Jones Designed Lone Ranger Mask

Grazia Daily: As a milliner first and foremost, do you think your aesthetic can be translated to other products?

Stephen Jones: I think it can be transferred to other things, although hats are my first obsession. I was a colour consultant for Nissan cars in Japan 20 years ago, if you can believe it so you never know maybe I would desgin a car. The thing about design is that we all start by looking at colour, texture and the story behind a product and we all work along similar lines. I was talking with [architect and designer] Thomas Heatherwick and we found out we went through the same working process – but he’s making a building and I’m making a hat. I guess my ‘brand’ would be about lightness and humour.

Grazia Daily: You mentioned the younger milliners that you have worked with through Headonism – how important is passing the baton on to the next generation?

Stephen Jones: I mean it’s fantastic, I’m so lucky to be able to do that. You get to a point in your life and it’s great to hand on the baton – although I’m not sure it’s as grand as that. It’s more that I’m a bit of a hand to hold. I know things that are completely alien to them. Like how many hats should you have in a collection, for example – at the beginning, you just don’t know that.

Team Headonism With Their Lone Ranger Mask Designs

Grazia Daily: Who are the young milliners we should be looking out for?

Stephen Jones: I think the Headonism milliners are great. Obviously Piers [Atkinson] who is the most senior person in Headonism, is amazing and has gone a long way. He was one of the original members from when the project started at the V&A  back in 2009 and has become a hugely successful milliner. But to single anyone out would be too hard - it would be like choosing between my favourite children!

This is the perfect opportunity to spend ten minutes staring at Johnny Depp, don't cha think? See his 50 greatest style moments in the gallery below...

GALLERY >> Johnny's Top Style Moments

Fresh Faced in The Late 80s in a Breton Top With A Dog

Looking Very Breakfast Club With Matthew Perry in 1987

Bandana + Denim Jacket in 21 Jump Street 1987

A Pinstripe Outing in 1988

Johnny Loving Stonewash in 1988

Nicholas Cage & Johnny Looking Badass in 1988 - Note The Staple Hat

Polo Shirt & Suede Bomber in 1989

Johnny Has Never Been A Fashion Wallflower, With Winona Ryder in 1990

Johnny's Locks Have Been Key To His Look, 1990

The Coolest Couple In the World 1990

Johnny Often Works a Waistcoat, With Winona Ryder 1990

Winona & Johnny Working A Gothic Look in 1991

Johnny Loves a Statement Shirt, With Leonardo di Caprio in 1993

Johnny's Turn As Gilbert Grape, 1993

Johnny as Don Juan DeMarco, 1994

Johnny Working his Signature Leather Jacket Look With Kate Moss in 1994

In a Simple Black Ensemble With Kate Moss, 1995

In Fear & Lothing In Las Vegas, Johnny Rocks 60s Style

Johnny & Kate in Matching Leathers 1995

Johnny's Take on The Tux, With Selma Hayek in 1995

Another Red Carpet Look With Kate Moss, 1996

Johnny is the Face of Gothic Drama in Sleepy Hollow, 1999

With New Beau Vanessa Paradis in 1999

Johnny's Vagabond Look in Chocolat, 2000

Only One Man Could Make This Hair Work, With Penelope Cruz in 2001

Another Dishevelled Costume in From Hell, 2001

Scrubbing Up Well in Blow With Penelope Cruz, 2001

A Classic Depp Scarf & Hat Combo, 2002

Double Breasted Suiting, 2003

More Pinstripe Action With Orlando Bloom in 2003

A Simple Breton Stripe Shirt in 2004 With Kate Winslet

Johnny Matches a Beret & Specs, 2004

Johnny is a Fan of Both Sunglasses & Jewellery, 2004

More Pinstripe with Vanessa Paradis in 2004

Giving his Best Harry Potter in 2004

Johnny Working Another Serious Collar in 2004

Not Taking Himself Too Seriously at the 2005 Nickelodeon Awards

More Pinstripes, 2005

With Keira Knightley in 2006

Johnny Has a Big Collection of Spectacles 2006

Johnny's Jack Sparrow Waxwork 2007

Johnny Has Experimented with Facial Hair Over the Years, 2008

Showing His Way With Accessories & Angelina Jolie in 2010

With the Gorgeous Amber Heard in 2011

A Classic Depp Look in 2011

Rocking Another Dinner Jacket in 2011

More Accessories With Amber Heard in 2011

More Pinstripes in 2012

And now... Johnny in 2013


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