Man has dreamed of flying for ever, it would seem. One famous character of Greek mythology, Icarus, crashed to the ground having gotten too close to the sun with his feather on wax wings as the story goes.
Flying with only feather wings (or feathers stuck into wax, in this case) does not seem to have been the right choice and man has built wings from more successful materials since then. Not always safer in the beginning- one of the subjects of this post - but extremely safe now, by any standards.
Feathers having been dropped as an option for flying, they have, however, been elected as a decorating element very regularly throughout history, and are still going strong these days, it would seem. Many a tribe and people has opted for feathers as headdress and symbols of power.
These days however, designers have adopted them for their "wow" factor like this impertinent accent on a hat
A million years ago I designed a line of bed linens with a feather motif for a Portuguese client of the design studio where I was working in Paris. It looked somewhat like the one below and we liked it so much that everyone in the office had decided to order some as soon as the line went into production. The factory burned down one night before the line was produced. No one was hurt. Well, with the minor possible exception of all of us at the studio suffering from frustration-itis for weeks.
Perhaps my love of the feather as a motif comes from this misadventure, but probably the seeds were already there way before that. Every time I see a feather or its representation I swoon.
Even the end of year festivities are a great excuse for displaying feathers.
And since I mentioned frustration, I might as well tell you another story: A few years ago I was asked by an American magazine to decorate a Christmas tree for an article which was to feature a number of New York designers for the Holiday issue. I decided to go the feather route and covered mine with tons of feathers and coordinating clip on birds.
The editor liked it, came to photograph it and then proceeded to leave the whole article on the cutting floor for reasons of editorial team restructure. Is it me or have feathers decided to rob me of inevitable fame and certain fortune? (I wish I could find the polaroid the photographer gave me but it is certainly in one of my many photo boxes waiting for scanning, filing and safe keeping...maybe, surely, some day).)
On the bright side, the tree was ready for the family WELL in advance that year.
Before I even consider thinking about this year's "deco duty", here are some great feather applications for the Holidays.
images fetevosreves, patricia lemaire, cocotte gala, madura,fr, roost, deux notes precieuses, william sonoma home, dekio, arlene fisch, prisanou, barney's