Fashion's Thing With Feathers

The major trend that’s taking flight, with an empowering edge

Words Amanda Randone • Artwork Nour Algharabally

Exclusive Metallic Feather-Detail Kaftan, Costarellos.  Tracee Ellis Ross wearing Marc Jacobs AW19. Diana Ross poster art, 1972. Images: Instagram/TraceeEllisRoss, Getty Images. 

One trend sure to send our sartorial hearts aflutter this season is feathers. When an outfit features a touch of fluff, it can unlock fashion’s unique potential to incite joy (because what’s better than clothing that makes you feel like you can fly?). Case in point being Tracee Ellis Ross, who recently channelled her inner flamingo in an armour of coral plumage à la AW19 Marc Jacobs (shop our SS19 edit, here). Hailing from a legacy of glamour, Tracee donned the vibrant coat to celebrate her equally fabulous mother’s 75th birthday.


Seeing hearts over the Ostrich Feather Trimmed Satin Pumps by Giambattista Valli

As disco royalty offspring, Tracee’s star power knows no limits, and style plays a key role in how the actress has made her own mark on Hollywood. In addition to her professional accolades, she is recognised for ensembles that have solidified her status as a daringly modern icon, red carpet and beyond. While her recent Marc Jacobs jacket is arguably one of her best decisions yet, it’s not the first time that Tracee, who knows her way around a tricky trend, has looked to feathers to make a statement.

There was, for example, the unforgettable Giambattista Valli gown she wore for the 2018 InStyle Awards which had a frothy décolletage and billowing pink-and-white sleeves to rival the wings of an exotic bird. From parties to red carpets, Tracee has mastered regularly using the look as a reflection of her light, fun approach to serious style. Feathers are symbolic of the freedom she’s embraced to express herself both on and off the screen in a way that is certainly not limited to formal wear.

While part of what attracts us to feathers is not only their ability to amp up any look with a dose of confidence, adding volume and drama, their ethereal quality can also elegantly enhance more laid-back looks. Think adorned collars, delicately-trimmed kaftans, and festooned lapels. Even a basic T-shirt can get an avian upgrade with a flurry of tonal feathers added to its hem.

For modest dressers, these are the kinds of details that transform more conservative fabrics and silhouettes. Plus, quite simply, nothing can boost a mood like a fluffy shoe, handbag, or hairpiece, no matter how it’s worn. As both designers and consumers seek animal-inspired alternatives to fur, we suggest holding on to a piece that showcases fashion’s current ‘thing with feathers’ as a sophisticated option, it’ll stay relevant for seasons to come.

Take Flight

She gets it from her mama. Tracee Ellis Ross in Marc Jacobs AW19. Image: Instagram/TraceeEllisRoss

A ‘Lady Sings The Blues’ poster featuring Diana Ross, 1972. (Photo by LMPC via Getty Images).

Pretty means powerful too… Wayne Booth has the feel-good factor in a 2018 shoot for The MOD, All The Feels.

The names featured in this article do not automatically endorse The Modist, or any products shown. 

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