Beyond the Trend: Feathers

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Feathers add dimension to any ensemble, making a whimsical sartorial statement. Early civilizations across the globe incorporated feathers into their clothing as a form of delineating rank or spiritual power. Some of these cultures continue to use feathers in a ceremonial way—Native American war bonnets use feathers as a sign of valor. Over time, the feathers of exotic birds became popular with noble Europeans. Kings and queens incorporated a myriad of luxurious textures, including feathers, into their dress as an expression of power and wealth. As fashion houses began establishing their prominence in France, the meaning of feathers would evolve, implicating femininity and grandeur. The accouterment has since appeared on fashion in film, the red carpet, and, most recently, in current designer collections. Here’s a look at how feathers found their way from function to fashion.

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