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BIRDS OF PARADISE. Plumes and Feathers in Fashion
The Bowes Museum
Opens 25th of October 2014
FeaturingChanel, Cristóbal Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Ann Demeulemeester et al.
This exhibition is an ode to the elegance and refinement of the application of plumes and feathers in fashion and haute couture. Through a mixture of accessories, garments and couture dresses, the different characteristics of the various plumes and feathers are highlighted: sophistication, femininity, wealth, luxury, but also dark romance.
Refined accessories with ostrich, pheasant and marabou feathers showcase the elegance of fashion at Belle Époque at the end of the 19th century. The roaring twenties were the true heydays of garment feathers, as they were used in accessories such as boas and hats for flappers. Gabrielle Chanel also used feathers for her motifs and in the embroidery for her creations and film costumes. Marlène Dietrich’s iconic swan’s down coat is a masterpiece: it is the crowning jewel of the theme of black and white swan in evening dress.
These days, feathers are again all the rage on the catwalk, both in creations of Belgian as well as international fashion designers. The work of Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester counts here as one of the most poetic examples of the use of feathers.