Designer Mme. Pauline American

Not on view

The beauty of bird plumage - and its usefulness for human adornment - has been recognized throughout the course of civilization. In the history of Western fashion, no period stand out more for the abundance and variety of feather trimmings than that beginning around 1860 and continuing to World War I. Feather merchants combed the globe to obtain beautiful and exotic plumes and skins, and common feathers were dyed, processed, clipped, and assembled to supply the demand for novel and attractive trimmings. In this hat from the climax of that period, Madame Pauline, a milliner located in Bedford-Stuyvesant area, makes a strong statement on the fascination with the use of birds and feathers. Not only is a full bird affixed to the front, but numerous bird wings are also applied all around to completely cover the sides of the crown. Growing public distaste and the resulting legislation combined with the trend for smaller and less ornate hats to eventually put a close on this chapter of fashion extravagance.

Hat, Mme. Pauline (American), wool, feathers, American

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