"There is an irony between a beautiful fashion object and knowing feathers are involved. Is it gruesome or is it beautiful?" That's a rhetorical question Flights of Fancy co-curator Jean McElvain (Goldstein Museum of Design) posed to Sara Glassman, writing for the Star Tribune. McElvain tells Glassman that the origin of using feathers in fashion lies with Marie Antoinette, "who was called 'featherhead,' possibly because of the shafts and whole birds she placed in her frothy hair." Glassman notes that fashion demand for feathers nearly caused the extinction of various bird species between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
Flights of Fancy: A History of Feathers in Fashion runs June 12 - September 12, 2010 at the Goldstein Museum of Design in McNeal Hall.