Thursday, June 2, 2011

"Birds of a Feather"

Everywhere I look, I am noticing more and more feathers. Feathers used in fashion, in decor, in window displays, in museums, even on gift wrap and other moments of celebration (the feather boa comes to mind!)

When it comes to fashion, Alexander McQueen has used feathers for decades in his couture creations.  Currently at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC, his retrospective is on exhibit, showcasing over 100 of his fashionable fantasies, including this striking red and black ostrich piece.
ALexander McQueen at the Metropolitan Museum
At Bergdorf Goodmans, Linda Fargo - the creative director behind the theatrical windows - took  McQueen as an inspiration, and expanded upon it, with a giant red bird filling the space, and stopping traffic on 5th Avenue.

Bergdorf Goodman Windows 5th Ave
 Using feathers in window displays and visual merchandising is not uncommon, and seems to actually be a trend at the moment. A recent survey of top retailers on 5th Ave and Madison Ave revealed numerous creatives turning to this medium as a means of expression. It is easy to see why it is a material of choice, as it makes a bold statement while still appearing chic and classic.

Another iteration of this technique is in the use of taxidermy. Exotic birds express luxury, whether holding a Louis Vuitton hand bag or setting a romantic mood.

Ostrich at Louis Vuitton
Albino Peacock at Ralph Lauren
Feathers are also being used more and more in decor. The new Mondrian Hotel in SOHO has interiors designed by Benjamin Noriega-Ortiz, who is apparently a big fan of feather lampshades and lighting fixtures.
Mondrain Hotel SOHO NYC

So, if all of this feather flapping has you excited and you want to incorporate a little fluffery into your own life, I have a few ideas.  If you're not ready to spring for a piece of McQueen, how about just stick a feather in your cap (and call it macaroni!), or a few small ones in your hair. If a feather lampshade doesn't match you decor, consider adding a few beautiful plumes to your blooms, and create a custom floral arrangement. Or the next time you are wrapping a gift, add some feathers to your package and the look of your gift will soar!

Feather Gift Wrap by Alton DuLaney
Above is a gift-wrap I did with a beautiful peacock printed paper. Then I made a belly band out of glittered paper, and used a cluster of peacock feathers as my bow.

For more great gift-wrap ideas check out my class on, where I do a whole flora and fauna theme of decorating your gifts.

And for the best feathers, check out the Feather Place on line, for the widest selection of feathers from around the world.

They also do a cute blog, the Feather Girl:

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