Skip to content

Birds of Paradise: Plumes & Feathers In Fashion

Start Date 20 March 2014
End Date 24 August 2014
Venue Mode Museum
Location Antwerp, Belgium
Curator Karen Van Godtsenhoven
Designer Scenographer: Bob Verhelst
Exhibition display of dressed mannequins

This exhibition is an ode to the elegance and refinement of the application of plumes and feathers in fashion. Through a mixture of accessories, garments and couture dresses, the different characteristics of the various plumes and feathers are highlighted: sophistication, femininity, wealth, luxury, and dark romance. 

The exhibition sheds light on the craft of the ‘plumassier’ and the diverse techniques of feather embroidery with a nod to the Maison Lemarié of Paris, famous for its collaboration with fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel, Givenchy, and Louis Vuitton.

Refined accessories adorned with ostrich, pheasant, and marabou feathers showcase the elegance of fashion in the 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 a boas and hats for flapper girls – Gabrielle Chanel also used feathers for her garments and film costumes and Marlene Dietrich’s iconic swan’s down coat is a crowning jewel.

Today, feathers are once again all the rage on the catwalk, utilized by both Belgian and other international fashion designers. The work of Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester is seen as one of the most poetic examples of the implementation of feathers in contemporary fashion.

The exhibition features creations by Chanel, Cristòbal Balenciaga, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, and Ann Demeulemeester.

Exhibition under the lead of
Curators: Karen Van Godtsenhoven | Scenographer: Bob Verhelst

Exhibition website

Image courtesy of MoMu Modemuseum Antwerp © Stany Dederen.