Feathers and plumage in fashion
celebrated at Antwerp exhibition

| 1 comment

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition

Garments by Alexander McQueen, Yves Saint Laurent and Thierry Mugler feature in an exhibition of feathered fashion at Antwerp's Mode Museum.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
This image: Ann Demeulemeester, S/S 2008. Photograph by Dan Lecca. Main image: Alexander McQueen, A/W 2009. Photograph by François Nars

Birds of Paradise. Plumes and Feathers in Fashion at MoMu explores the application of the material through fashion history.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Ann Demeulemeester, A/W 2010-2011. Photograph by Dan Lecca

The exhibition is split into themed sections showcasing different textures, colours and uses of the material, with a focus on the designers who have adopted it for their apparel.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Dries Van Noten, A/W 2013-2014. Photograph by Patrice Stable

Visitors are greeted by a haute couture gown from Thierry Mugler's Spring Summer 1997 collection, which has bright feathers arranged in patterns like butterfly wings around an open back.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Dries Van Noten, A/W 2013-2014. Photograph by Bache Jespers

Fashion by late British designer Alexander McQueen, whose work heavily featured avian influences, is displayed and provides the poster image for the exhibition.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Cleave, mixed media with crow feathers by Kate McGwire, 2012. Photograph by Tessa Angus

Feathers also feature prominently throughout the work of Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester, who selected silhouettes that highlight her use of the material for the exhibition.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Detail of Quell, mixed media with dove and pigeon feathers by Kate McGwire, 2011. Photograph by Tessa Angus

"Ever since I was a child I have had an enormous respect for feathers, and especially for pigeon feathers," she said. "To me a pigeon feather is poetry of the mundane, a form of perfection that is to be found on the streets by everyone."

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Folding fan, mount in ostrich feathers dyed in degrade, tortoiseshell sticks decorated with a crown and arms in platinum, diamonds, rubies and enamel, 1928, Altenloh E&R jewelers, Brussels, Former collection Queen Astrid of Belgium, Royal Collections Palace of Brussels SA.1935.0088, Photograph by Stephen Mattues

Garments are on show by twentieth-century designers Cristóbal Balenciaga and Yves Saint Laurent, who both covered dresses in feathers during the 1960s.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Hat trimming, cut and dyed feathers, MoMu collection T12/208. Photograph by MoMu/Suzan Rylant

Angelic white dresses covered in fluffy down are contrasted with sinister dark garments in shiny crow feathers by a variety of designers.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Hat trimming of feather quills and artificial flowers, MoMu collection T96/90C. Photograph by MoMu/Suzan Rylant

Sculptures by British artist Kate McGwire are dotted around the space. One large piece titled Gyre is made of crow feathers, often associated with bad luck.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Blue Angel A/W 2012-2013, Roger Vivier. Photograph courtesy of Roger Vivier

A section is dedicated to fans, which were often made from elaborate arrangements of dyed ostrich plumes for use in the courts of Europe.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Photograph of the exhibition by Boy Kortekaas

The garments and accessories are accompanied by paintings and taxidermy showing the species that different feathers come from.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Photograph of the exhibition by Boy Kortekaas

The history of the plumassier – or feather worker – dating back to seventeenth-century France is also explained.

Feathers and plumage in fashion celebrated at Antwerp exhibition
Photograph of the exhibition by Boy Kortekaas

The exhibition continues until 24 August 2014.

  • Concerned Citizen

    The third one looks like a rooster.