Passersby migrating down Seventh Avenue in April may have noticed a certain avian majesty in the Pomerantz Center lobby.
Through the magic of brightly colored feathers, two sections of Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design students, overseen by faculty members Anne Kong and Mary Costantini and with help from Glenn Sokoli, transformed mannequins into their interpretations of a bald eagle, a flamingo, a snow owl, and many other birds.
The idea came about after Chloe Arauz, Fashion Merchandising Management ’10, showroom manager and trend director at the Feather Place, a shop in the Garment District, pitched the idea of teaching students about feathers.
The students visited the Feather Place’s showroom and learned how feathers are shaved, dyed, and trimmed, to be prepared for use in fashion. Hue was relieved to know that feathers are only harvested when birds are put to other uses, such as for meat or ostrich leather.
Each small group of students chose a bird and studied its shape, size, pose, and style. They selected the perfect mannequin and feathered together a fabulous coat.
They used turkey quill feathers and various kinds of rooster feathers, such as stripped coque, in which all the barbs are removed except at the tip. They avoided ostrich feathers, though: because of a recent ostrich shortage, the feathers have become pricey.
“A lot of them used four or five different birds in their mannequins,” Arauz notes. “You couldn’t look at them and say, ‘That’s a turkey feather.’”
The birds have long scattered, but they will flock once more at the Long House Reserve in East Hampton on July 19 for an event to honor Cindy Sherman and Agnes Gund.