The end is in sight; we’ve rounded the last bend of winter’s crippling chill and can see spring’s thaw on the horizon. Sure we may have at least another month before it actually warms up, but still – it’s time to send the bulky overcoat to the cleaners and shake out the lighter layers. And to celebrate, why not add a festive touch to this year’s warmer weather wardrobe with the fluff and fringe of feathers! No longer just to tuck in your cap, the plumes adorned countless pieces on the fall’ 11 runways, serving up an extra dose of shimmy with every step. But despite covering coats and sweaters for fall, the light and delicate nature of feathers makes them just as wearable, if not more so, for spring.
Black feathered accents can provide a serious dose of drama in subtle ways. Trailing across a neckline or dÃ©colletage, black feathers provide a sultry and sensual suggestion while flouncing along a hemline, they add a flirty edge to your stems. Chanel amped up the theatrics of both on their Spring ’11 runways, adding in sheer panels and chunky heels to modernize the retro glam of the feathers. For a more basic take on the high drama look, a playful little mini from DKNY is equal parts fun and sophisticated. The tiered feathers along the hemline offer up a shade of movement and depth without appearing too costumey for day wear.
For everyone who saw the movie â€œBlack Swanâ€, you know that edgy black feathers aren’t for you, there’s always the gossamer innocence of the alter-ego White Swan. White feathers are the epitome of ballerina-like beauty, akin to angels’ wings and sugar and spice. To see white-feathered accents on a serious piece of high fashion will truly take your breath away. Such is the case of Naeem Khan‘s feather and crystal-embroidered gown. The gorgeous confection can be eased into an everyday look, thanks to designer Jason Wu. Wu’s shell of tulle, feathers and sequins has the same artful aesthetic as Khan’s, yet can be tucked under a blazer or over a pencil skirt for work wear or glammed up with a mini for a night on the town.
For all the boho chic lovers, spring is your time to shine. Patterned maxi dresses and belle sleeves abound once the snow has melted, as do the espadrilles and clogs. One piece will revamp the spring bohemian wardrobe this season and that is the long, feathered vest. Adding that extra bit of oomph to any ensemble, the feathered vest is like the grown up, sophisticated version of the boa. Alice + Olivia paired their vest with paisley and loose waves to evoke that same modern flower child look. Haute Hippie‘s version (its in the name, after all) brings a bit more razzle-dazzle with sequins and marabou. Thrown over a dress or pantsuit and paired with a floppy hat and over-sized sunglasses, the feathered vest is sure to become of the standout style staples of the season.
Feathered gowns, as we saw from both Chanel and Naeem Khan, are like walking works of art. They exude an aura of almost regal glamour that would make anyone feel like a princess. But choosing a feathered dress for evening doesn’t have to be a serious affair. Black and white may be the go-to options, but spring is all about color and texture so a few brightly hued options would work just as well. Douglass Hannant sent his shivering quills down the runway in a divine metallic green with a brocade bodice and bright blue eyeshadow. If that head to toe look is too much, simply choose a little cocktail dress in a fun shade like Susan Wong‘s pretty periwinkle, and keep the rest simple. Accessories should be limited anyway to allow the dazzling effect of your feathery frock to take over.
Now we know that feathered accents can be playful enough for day, pared down enough for the office, and perfectly provocative for evening. So before spring gets here, â€œtake wingâ€ and scoop up a few of plumed pieces to start your own stylish feathered flock!
1. Black Feathered Miniskirt
â€¨Runway: Chanel RTW Spring 2011Â â€¨
Real Way: DKNY Miniskirt with Feathers $147.50
2. White Feathered Embroidery Topâ€¨
Runway: Naeem Khan RTW Spring 2011Â â€¨
Real Way: Jason Wu Feather & Ribbon Embroidered Top $1600
3. Feathered Vestâ€¨
Runway: Alice + Olivia RTW Spring 2011Â â€¨
Real Way: Haute Hippie Feather Sequin Vest $595
4. Feathered Cocktail Dress in Bright Color
â€¨Runway: Douglas Hannant RTW Spring 2011Â â€¨
Real Way: Sue Wong Strapless Dress with Ostrich Feathers $528