Feathers dominate couture runway

Recently, Parisian ramps saw plumage power like never before

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Feathers dominate couture runway
(Left to right): Couturiers like Schiaparelli, Ralph & Russo, Givenchy, Giambattista Valli and Alexis Mabille have used feathers prominently in their collections

For Spring Summer 2019 haute couture collections, designers extrapolated the transformative powers of feathers to achieve a dramatic effect. Plumes have always been the couture mainstay, but this time, they came in hand-painted and ombre format, transporting the audience into the rarefied world of high creativity of the hallowed ateliers. Chanel’s show, which was held against the backdrop of a Mediterranean villa (constructed inside the Grand Palais in Paris), presented poly-hued quills with their signature shimmery tweed ensembles and Givenchy’s monochrome outfit had tufts embellishing the shoulders evoking old-world Hollywood glamour synonymous with icons such as Audrey Hepburn. Couturiers like Ralph & Russo, Schiaparelli and Giambattista Valli sent out unapologetic feathered ensembles — the message being — go bold or go home. 

Feathers have become a feature on the international runways over the past two years, and it’s not surprising that we are seeing them at Indian weddings, too. At the moment, only a slew of Indian couturiers are toying with them, but since that bracket includes the likes of Falguni and Shane Peacock, it’s possible that fashion lovers may see more of them. 


Fashion today is transitioning into a more comfy, easy and wearable space; so while embroidery weighs one down, you’d rather have bridal wear that you can dance all night in. “Feathers add an airy, poetic flair to any kind of style — a flat shoe in particular becomes special when feathers add a lightness especially with a crystal buckle,” says designer Rhea Pillai Rastogi.

Models sport feathery creations from Schiaparelli and Ralph & Russo, (center): A model for Chanel


In a country synonymous with zardozi and gota patti, feathers have assumed towering proportions in bridal and occasional wear space. With more and more weddings happening overseas and brides and their entourage of bridesmaids wanting something lightweight-yet-statement-making for their functions, it’s not hard to understand their popularity. “Feathers add a glamorous factor to a bride’s quotient. Flirty ruffled gowns, ruffled hems or feathered sari pallus are perfect for a cocktail, enhancing the evening look. It’s ideal for the Indian brides with hues of pastel shades,” points out designer Nikhil Thampi. 

Designer Swapna Anumolu of Mishru seconds that. “Feathers are a beautiful form of art. If used correctly, they can create a stunning look for the bride. A delicate feathered sleeve is ideal for a dinner and lehengas with stellar feather trim is a new element for brides to play with,” says Swapna.

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