BUFFALO NEWS: October 9, 2009
Fall fashion takes flight with feathers
By Susan Mart in
Published:October 9, 2009, 8:06 AM
When designers unveiled their fall collections in New York last year, many favored feathers –especially on hats. Carolina Herrera showed gigantic feathers trailing behind hats. Ralph Lauren s presentation included a beret with a single plume.
Other designers showed feathery accents on their clothes.
Fast-forward to fall 2009, and feathers show up on everything from heels to headbands –not to mention decorative wreaths.
Feathers dress up patent flats and peep-toe pumps. They can be found on scarves, pins, necklaces, barrettes and other accessories – sometimes done in silver or gold metal, but still shaped like a feather. At Target, felt fedoras and cloches are adorned with small feathers.
Williamsville resident Patricia Easterbrook Prior, a medical librarian who also designs jewelry, has flocked to feathers for making headbands and fascinators, which she describes as "tiny, tiny cocktail hats." "Feathers are fantastic," said Prior, who has found peacock and other feathers online, in hobby shops and even on a scarf she bought at a consignment shop.
"You can take a plain black or beige dress, wear one of these headbands and just be special," said Prior, who sells her creations at Village Artisans in Williamsville and will also be at the Ellicottville Fall Festival this weekend.
It s an accessory that does not cost a lot of money, she added. Her headbands are priced from $15 to $18.
Feathers and plumes also can add trendy embellishment to centerpieces.
Floral designer Annette De- Luca, from Hobby Lobby, 2090 George Urban Blvd., Depew, said that one customer recently bought black ostrich feathers for centerpieces at a wedding reception.
A lot of people incorporate feathers — either fabric or real — into their flower arrangements, DeLuca said.
One of her suggestions for fall: A single, faux tan-and-black striped feather, measuring a dramatic 3z feet tall, placed in a tall vase with branches and grasses.
Peacock feathers in particular — either real or silk — are popular for fall arrangements, and they come in all different lengths, said John Hochadel, owner of Flowers etc., 372 Connecticut St.
You can have them coming out of a centerpiece, or you can put them by themselves in a tall vase, he suggested.
Not that feathers in decorative arrangements are anything new.
"We have been doing feathers for about 50 years," said Anna Syracuse, an owner of Atrium Floral and Gift, 4865 Main St., Amherst.
They are best, she said, "for unusual, spectacular arrangements."
This fall, even feather prints appear on blouses and cardigans from Liz Claiborne, window panels from Pier 1 and dresses and skirts from several labels. And plumage patterns show up on upholstery fabrics.
Talk about feathering your nest.
And there s more. During the spring 2010 fashion previews in New York, the Jason Wu and Proenza Schouler collections both included feathered looks.
The use of real feathers in fashion doesn t come without controversy.
Several seasons back, designers Sonia Rykiel, Alexander McQueen, Roberto Cavalli and others showed a variety of feathered looks in their collections. Afterward, the English newspaper the Independent pointed out that the use of feathers ruffles the pro-vegan animal-rights group PETA, whose spokesman said: "There s no kind way to rip feathers from any animal."
"In response, it s claimed by the fashion industry that the use of feathers is restricted to a limited number of birds and to those that are byproducts of the meat industry or from farmed animals," the article continued.
But for fall, it s not just feathers — real or faux — but also feathery looks you re seeing everywhere — and far from the runways.
Pier 1 sells feathered pine branches, for example. The fringe on some scarves looks feathery.
Think soft and fluffy. And quite dramatic.