Fashion Museum Province of Antwerp – MoMu
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 19th, 20th and 21st century accessories, garments and couture dresses, the different characteristics of the various plumes and feathers are highlighted: sophistication, femininity, lightness, wealth, luxury, but also lost innocence and dark romance. Plume embroidery is typically used in haute couture and eveningwear owing to the costliness of the feathers, their strikingly elegant form and the technical refinement of feather embroidery. In collaboration with Maison Lemarié of Paris, the exhibition sheds light on the craft of the plumassier and the diverse techniques of feather embroidery. In addition, the immense variety of feather motifs will be covered.
19th-century accessories and belle époque garments showcase the refined elegance of the changing fashions at the end of the 19th century, emphasising ostrich, pheasant and marabou feathers. The roaring twenties were the true heydays of garment feathers, Gabrielle Chanel used feathers in the embroidery for her creations and film costumes, and Marlène Dietrich’s iconic swan’s down coat is a masterpiece.
In contemporary fashion, the work of Belgian designer Ann Demeulemeester counts as one of the most poetic examples of the use of feathers. The dramatic quality of the work of British designer Alexander McQueen is often expressed through the use of graphic feathers. Cristóbal Balenciaga, Christian Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Coco Chanel all have their own specific relationship with feathers and plumes. These days, feathers are again all the rage on the catwalk, both in creations of Belgian as well as international fashion designers.