Birds of a feather flock together – or so goes the saying. Maybe that’s why brides-to-be are incorporating feathers in their weddings, from their gowns to their hair accessories.
“There’s a lightness to feathers and its association with nature makes feathers appealing,” says Natalia Pitenqko, a sales representative at the La Belle Reve Bridal boutique in Bellevue, Wash., where feathered designs by La Sposa Barcelona are popular. “Birds are delicate creatures and they offer a story of romance.”
To stay in customers’ good stead, designers typically select cruelty-free feathers, which are naturally shed, from a bevy of options, including goose, ostrich and peacock feathers. They even dye or paint the goose feathers for a more dramatic look.
Designer Kelly Faetanini ‘s spring 2017 collection features a strapless gown with a bodice made of 14-karat-gold painted goose feathers and a skirt covered in 130 yards of ostrich feathers. A skirt in Watters spring 2016 line-up evokes a frothy, airy sensibility with all-over ostrich feathers and a satin ribbon at the waist.
Even Ginger Rogers swayed and sashayed beautifully in a Bernard Newman-designed, low-back, figure-hugging gown dripping in ostrich feathers at the neck and the hip during the dance number of “Cheek to Cheek” with Fred Astaire in the 1935 movie, “Top Hat.”
Some brides prefer a scaled down version of the look, opting for the less is more approach. The idea is to complement the bride’s look, not compete with it, says bridal designer Lazaro Perez, whose gowns include a 2015 strapless mermaid number with feathers on the skirt.
“Keep the feathers minimal and soft,” Lazaro says. “Use subtle details and accents throughout the skirt and gown to give a wow factor without taking away from the gown or the bride.”
That’s the aesthetic used by designer Mira Zwillinger based in Tel Aviv. Among her bridal designs in her 2017 collection are a long sleeve, silk tulle gown embroidered with vines and branches and a feather train as well as a deep V-neck gown with a silk chiffon skirt and feathered shoulders.
Another way brides can incorporate the trend is with shoes or a cover-up, especially with a modern-looking gown, such as a sheath. For a little sass, opt for Manolo Blahnik’s pale pink satin stiletto sandals embellished with an ostrich feather T-strap. Or you can top your look with a vest in Dallas-based Watters’ Willowby line made of all-over, cruelty-free ostrich feathers.
If you’d like to wear a feather in your cap so to speak, a feathered headpiece can top off an ensemble with old-world glamour, borrowing inspiration from “The Great Gatsby” movie. Kathy Johnson’s six-year-old Etsy website boats a number of fascinators, hair clips and garters with feathers. There’s a fascinator set with a vintage-style rhinestone surrounded by ivory ostrich feathers and bleached peacock feathers with a face-framing French net veil and for color, a jeweled, navy blue feather fascinator.
Feathers also provide a nice backdrop to wedding décor. Minted.com offers couples feather-themed invitations, such as foil-pressed styles with feather foliage and cards and save the date cards and personalized stamps with feather designs.
Bridal bouquets and boutonnieres don’t have to sport just flowers. Colorful plumes can provide a non-traditional accent or monochromatic styles ooze sophistication, such as a peony bouquet accented with polka dotted- pheasant feathers created by Parrish Designs of London, a floral and design event firm in Miami.
“We have brides looking for an art deco feel who want feathers,” says Kathryn Parrish, owner of the floral and design event firm in Miami.