Amid the dark glamour of late October week we headed to The Bowes Museum’s latest exhibition; Birds of Paradise – Plumes & Feathers In Fashion.
The exhibition champions the role of feathers and plumes in dress history, showing how they have been used to adorn everything from ornate shoes to couture dresses. They are represented as beautiful, fragile and valuable.
The exhibition opens with a dress so striking that it looks perfectly alive, even when uninhabited by the human form.
The exhibition is segmented thematically telling the story of plumes in religion, the Bowes household and twentieth century design. The different elements of fashion history are knitted together with a surprising closeness and set against contemporary fashion. There are creations from Alexander McQueen, Dries Van Noten, Christian Dior, Thierry Mugler, Balenciaga, Prada and Gucci.
The exhibition contextualises the garments with a backdrop of fabrics, images, catwalk screenings and objects from the house itself.
The intensely luxurious exhibition touches on themes of lost innocence and dark romance.
Set in a huge country chateau in the small market town of Barnard Castle, The Bowes Museum presents the perfect atmosphere for bringing the drama of plumes in fashion very much to life.
The exhibition runs until 19 April 2015