Yesterday, April 22nd, was international Earth Day.
Earth day was first organized in 1970 to promote ecology and respect for life on the planet as well as to encourage awareness of the growing problems of air, water and soil pollution. I came accross these beautiful pictures. Have a look at the astonishing, colourful beauty of our planet! Who would not want to preserve this?
What is a "Plumassier"?, I asked myself when I heard about the "Birds of Paradise" exhibition. Here is a blogpost about it. A Plumassier is an exceptionally talented artist, mastering the art of feather handling and embroidery. He or she treats, dyes and applies the fragile feathers which frequently embellish haute couture garments and various stage costumes. In the late 19th century , in Paris , there were more than 300 plumassiers. Today, there are almost no plumassiersleft in Paris, or anywhere else. Those remaining, are working together with big 'Haute Couture ' houses like Chanel, Givenchy, Nina Ricci, and Jean-Paul Gaultier.
Bolero by Nelly Saunier for Gaultier 1997
'Maison Lemarié' , founded in 1880, was purchased in 1996 by Chanel.
They have a huge stock of feathers, some of them dating back a century.
An original Maison Lemarié shipment box . Inside: exquisitely constructed feather pads and imitation wings from around the 1920s.
Exotic birds are protected species now; the remaining stock of these feathers are very precious. They cannot leave France and are only used for unique pieces.
The feathers of swans, peacocks, vultures and ostriches are imported from South Africa.
In 2009 Karl Lagerfeld designed a costume worn by prima ballerina Elena Glurdjidze, a senior principal dancer with the English National Ballet. She danced the role of 'The dying Swan'.
The costume required more than 100 hours of work, many of these at Lemarié.
The dress worn by Nicole Kidman for the Chanel N° 5 Advert:
Last week, an exciting exhibition opened in the fashion museum (MoMu) in Antwerp (20/3 - 24/8/2014):
"This exhibition is a tribute to the elegance and refinement of the application of plumes and feathers in fashion and haute couture. Through a mixture of 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century accessories, garments and couture dresses, the different characteristics of the various plumes and feathers are highlighted: sophistication, femininity, lightness, wealth, luxury".
Dries Van Noten
Marlène Dietrich's swan's down coat
British artist Kate MccGwire makes sculptures with feathers:
Want to see more?
Have a look Here and here: the MoMu facebook page.
Here is a short video:
"Plume embroidery is typically used in haute couture and evening wear owing to the costliness of the feathers, their elegant form and the technical refinement of feather embroidery.
The exhibition also covers the craft of the 'Plumassier' and the diverse techniques of feather embroidery."