Birdy inspirations: Feathery embellishment is the new hot favourite

  • Ruchika Kher, Hindustan Times, Mumbai
  • Updated: Jun 10, 2015 14:42 IST

Sonam Kapoor's sartorial choices at the Cannes Film Festival this year reaffirmed the fact that she really is a fashion icon. One look of hers that completely stood out involved the over-the-top, yellow-feathered Elie Saab gown. While her appearance led to a series of jokes online, there's no denying that her dress was right in line with a major global style trend. This season, for several designers and celebrities, feathers have become the element of preference.

From Julianne Moore's blingy silver gown that had a feathered end, to Naomi Watts's grey waist-down feathered number, this avian fixation is widely being used to add texture to dresses as well as other outfits.

"We are, ultimately, primal in nature. Our innate attraction towards natural things excites us to decorate ourselves with elements such as feathers, shells, etc.," says designer Swapnil Shinde, who designed a custom-made pearl and ostrich feather white gown for Anushka Sharma for the film, Bombay Velvet.

On the other hand, designer Shilpa Reddy feels that with the return of retro fashion, feathery and fringy embellishments are also making a comeback.

"This takes inspiration from the famous flapper era," she says. The flapper era was a period in the early 1920s, which saw women sport short bobs, feathered headbands and bejewelled hair combs, among other statement accessories.

From L to R: Naomi Watts in a feather gown and designer Lela Rose's creations.

This year's fall season saw several designers around the world showcase their bird-y inspirations, as part of their collections. From Naeem Khan and Bibhu Mohapatra to Michael Kors and Lela Rose, feathers seem to dominate their imagination.

"The sheen and lustre of real feathers are gorgeous, and they are way richer looking than their synthetic counterparts," says Shinde.

While different fabrics can be used as the base for feather detailing, velvet, lace, silk, chiffon and georgettes are best suited for the style. For a more rustic look, khadi can also provide surprisingly alluring results.

- With inputs from designer Karishma Jamwal

Dos and don'ts
* Avoid overall detailing unless your dress involves delicate ostrich feathers.
* Avoid feather-on-feather garments because that will lead to overkill.
* Avoid mixing different types of feathers.
* Avoid using only white feathers. Go in for other colours, as that will add an element of quirkiness to your ensemble.

While different fabrics can be used as the base for feather detailing, velvet, lace, silk, chiffon and georgettes are best suited for the style.

Looks to try
* Use a feathered lace on the edging of a rustic handloom jacket. That will transform it into a high-fashion statement, which is wearable yet unique.
* Use light ostrich feathers for evening gowns in the form of embroidery material with dainty sequins and crystals, which will be apt for a party.
* Incorporate feathers in accessories such as a multi-feather clutch or boho hair pieces, and earrings with a feather touch. They can also be used as design elements in footwear.
* Feathers in muted pastels and classic black work for evening events. Use them to highlight bust details over the edges of a gown.
* You can also use feathers as skirt borders.
* Feathers can be patched on T-shirts, and styled with boho pants and jackets for a casual look.

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