The Birds of Paradise exhibition is accompanied by a beautiful catalogue, with a lay-out by Paul Boudens and published by Lannoo. The book is an excellent point of reference for those who cannot see the exhibition or those who want to know more!
The essays in the book tell many stories about feathers in fashion: the art of the plumassier is explained and illustrated by more than 30 images of Maison Lemarié, the Parisian plumassier house that does the feather work for most of the French couture labels. They gave us an exclusive sneak peak in their creations for Chanel and Dior haute couture.
Wim Mertens, our collections curator, wrote about the status and prestige of feather fans throughout the centuries.
Miren Arzalluz, a world renowned Balenciaga expert, went deeper into the abstract shapes that Balenciaga created with feathers.
Emmanuelle Dirix delved into the 1920s and 1930s and gives an explanation for the popularity of feathers in Hollywood film costumes, as they had an erotic effect which made for extra glamorous 1930s divas. Apart from the seductive, plush ostrich feathers, rooster feathers were also used to symbolize a dark, mysterious femme fatale.
Other essays include feather shoes, Ann Demeulemeester’s use of feathers, the features of specific feathers, and the peacock symbolism, but that’s for another post! You can buy online at Copyright Bookshop!