Thursday, 9 April 2015

Fine feathers

Recently I visited a wonderful exhibition of feathered fashions in the beautiful Bowes Museum.

Even with several family weddings under my belt I am not sure that I have, or have had, anything with feathers in my wardrobe. So, it was fascinating to see just what can be done with a sackload of feathers, limitless time and a sprinkling of genius.

One of the stars of the show was definitely this glorious butterfly dress by Thierry Mugler. The dress, which represents the transformation of a chrysalis into a butterfly, is undoubtedly stunning, but dare I say it not very practical!

Equally spectacular and impractical was this dress for Rochas by Olivier Theyskens. The skirt is made of dyed rooster feathers, which were very spiky and looked incredibly uncomfortable to wear.

Much softer but no less impractical was this goose and ostrich feather dress by Sarah Burton (the royal wedding dress designer) for Alexander McQueen. You cannot really see in the photo thanks to the light, but this was the most beautiful blush pink colour, and was absolutely my favourite dress of the exhibition. It was part of a display of dresses inspired by the Black and White Swans of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, and was without doubt the standout exhibit.

As well as dresses the exhibition included shoes, fans, bags and hats made from feathers. I could not see me ever wearing it but I just loved this Macaw hat by Stephen Jones. It would certainly cause a stir at the next Race Meeting I attend :)

I was somewhat surprised to see what looked like mini quilts hanging in the exhibition and even more surprised to find that these were in fact samples of feather processing created by the Maison Lemarie for designers to select from.

Wouldn't they make great quilt patterns though?

The exhibition is open until April 19th, so if you are in the vicinity I can definitely recommend a visit. There is another fashion exhibition coming to the museum in July, this time all of the works exhibited are by Yves Saint Laurent, so I am definitely planning my return visit :)

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Really Random


  1. I've never had feathers in my wardrobe either, but I imagine there is a first time for everything!

  2. You are always up to something fun! I agree the feather "minis" would make great quilt patterns!

  3. The Thierry Mugler Butterfly dress is my favourite although I have a love/hate thing with feathers. I used to hate my children collecting them as I think they are filthy things- just one of my little quirks. I had a hat made for my daughter's wedding with wonderful pale turquoise dyed feathers which I loved.

  4. I've even given up on feather pillows and duvets as I get fed up with the escapees - I can't imagine the mess making such things!!! Thanks for the tour xx

  5. Impractical, yes, but how creative!!!

  6. Fiona, I think perhaps it is time for you to consider writing a travel blog in addition to your quilting one. You go to such interesting places and see such cool things.

  7. How fabulous! Real Cinderella Ball type gowns. And the processed samples are very interesting too :)

  8. Waht a wonderful adventure. That exhibition sounds magical. Those dresses are trully works of art. Thank you for sharing your travel adventures.

  9. You always find such interesting places to visit! No feathers in my wardrobe either, but I love that hat too! And I am feeling very drawn to patchwork feathers at the moment too.


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