Now & Then

 Feathers :  Now & Then

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Ballerina Marina Franca in her Peacock costume • 1941 • Ostrich Plumes embellish this custom costume!

Ballerina Marina Franca in her Peacock costume • 1941 • Ostrich Plumes embellish this custom costume!

Note: Thank goodness that The Feather Place is an ecologically conscience and friendly company!

Feather Wars: Surviving Fashion 1870-1920

Marie Antoinette started the trend of using plumes to adorn her royal head – before she lost it.

But once American ladies went wild for feathered hats in the 1870s, Florida’s birds became as coveted as California’s gold. By 1900, an ounce of snowy-egret feathers was worth more than an ounce of gold. – S.Lopez

  • What: Exhibit on how Florida’s birds were killed to create women’s hats.
  • Highlights: Historic photographs and artifacts such as taxidermy birds, plume-hunting shotguns, snowy-egret skins, period clothing, a re-created 1914 hat shop and more.
  • Where: The Richard and Pat Johnson Palm Beach County History Museum, operated by the Historical Society of Palm Beach County, inside the historic 1916 Courthouse, 300 N. Dixie Highway, in downtown West Palm Beach.
  • When: Now through June 30. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is free.

For more information: Call (561) 832-4164 or go

Support for ‘Feather Wars’ and the reading program featuring ‘The Last Egret’: Provided by Wachovia Wells Fargo Foundation, FPL, the Audrey and Martin Gruss Foundation and the Scaife Family Foundation.


Woman's Plume c.1917; Credit: Historical Society of Palm Beach County

The ostrich feather was especially popular as their exotic African origin made them an appealing emblem of colonial conquest. The explosion in fashion magazines fuelled their popularity.

Wendy Hodge now Mrs Wendy Kidd, mother of model Jodie Kidd and wife of Johnny Kidd wearing a lilac chiffon with ostrich feathers trimming and trimmed stole at a Hardy Amies Christmas Show in 1960.

Mr Henry Watson, pictured in 1935, was one of the few men in London carrying on the ancient craft of Ostrich feather dyeing in accordance with secret process handed down by their forefathers.


Diana, Princess of Wales in a yellow hat with ostrich feathers at Summerside, in 1983.


Queen Elizabeth with a large Ostrich feather in her hat when she paid her annual call on the Lord Roberts Memorial Workshops at Dundee , Scotland in 1950.


Jean Harlow and Old Hollywood

Book Cover- Plumes: Ostrich Feathers, Jews, and a Lost World of Global Commerce



ca. 1951 --- Model wearing Dior evening hat with white feather. --- Image by © Condé Nast Archive/CORBIS


Victorian woman with roses and Feathered Hat


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