Sunday, 20 April 2014

The craft of the "Plumassier" .

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 plumassiers left 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.
Some examples:
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:
Alexandre Vauthier dress haute couture autumn - winter 2013-2014

Want to know more?
Some interesting links:

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