Francesco Merletti, First lady, 2008, mix media, p.c.
For my last post on feathers I have decided to put together a selection of extraordinary feathered items I have come across. One thing is certain it takes character to wear feathers, just as it does to carry off real fur (yes! fur posts coming soon).
Sea gull muff and scarf, 1880-99c, Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA
And it takes a real woman to carry off a whole bird – eyes, beak and all. This skillfully made “set” of sea gulls from the US seems totally audacious today, but probably less so back in the 1890s when there was a genuine vogue for stuffing and wearing just about any form of living species.
Emanuel Harry, London, gold and bird head earings, 1865c, Victoria and Albert museum, London, UK
In 20th Century fashion, the trend re-emerges during the 1940s in the form of exquisite little hats:
cover of LIFE magazine, 1942
Hattie Carnegie, birds hat, 1940, Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA
Caroline Reboux,Paris, bird hat, 1946,Victoria and Albert museum, London, UK
And finally lets not forget shoes! In this example (image below) Roger Vivier not only covers the exterior in feathers but also echoes the fluid shape of an exotic bird in the silhouette of the shoe – a masterpiece
Roger Vivier for Dior, feather covered shoe, 1960, Metropolitan museum of Art, New York, USA