Feathers of All Colors & All Varieties


Marchesa and Ralph Lauren use subtlety soft colored feathers for Spring 2012 (along with many other international designers). Feathers from the Pre-Columbian period in Peru and Mexico were certainly not subtle, but brilliant and dazzling. Take a look at these textile panels that go back to 700 AD to the 16th Century. The figure or “Pechera” was used as a ceremonial crest in bright orange, blue, green and white with black feathers. Checkerboard patterns were very popular at this time. These “modern” designs include this dazzling green, red, blue and white quetzal feathers feathered in Montezuma’s headdress with long iridescent green tail feathers radiate from a headband. This headdress was given to Hernan Cortes in 1519. Cortes then gave it to Hapsburg Emperor Charles V. It is a fabulous example of feather work in fashion. The miniature men’s tunic on the upper right hand side was from the Wari or Inca period from Coastal Peru.

The piece on the lower left is by Kesh-Ko- Sa – a Native American feather artist from Prairie Band Potawatomi.

Barbara Arlen teaches SXC 100: Color Theory and Culture and  SXC 260:Color Painting Studio.

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