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iStyle: Birds of a feather: Plumed outfits

Fashion is all a-flutter, with plumes to be found adorning everything from dresses to handbags this season, says Emma Akbareian

Party season is almost upon us, so to ensure you don’t get lost in a sea of little black dresses, look to the plumes  of our feathered friends for  a little added va va voom. From Twenties’ flapper- inspired headpieces to Vegas showgirl get-ups there’s no shortage of references for feathery fashion.

Feathers, like any embellishment, are ideal for adding decoration – they create  texture and add an element of ornamental detail to an outfit. However, they don’t carry the same weight as heavy beading, which gives plume-laden outfits an altogether much lighter appearance.

There are, of course, a couple of minor downsides to consider. Moulting is a key factor, as is the cost of the  specialist cleaning such  pieces often require.

Plumage cropped up in various guises on the  runways for autumn/winter. At Alexander McQueen, the interpretation was typically dramatic – an opulent duck and ostrich feather coat covered an embellished evening dress in angelic white.

Understandably, this is a look that will sit on the  extravagant end of wearable for most. Erdem Moralioglu took a more restrained  approach, pairing a black feather pencil skirt with a contrasting pastel-pink top.

Avoid the look of a strutting peacock by not mixing in too many colours. Generally speaking, black is quite safe, but if you’re going to pick a bold colour, ensure you mix it in with more neutral accessories. The use of feather as trims on garments or accessories is a far more restrained way to sport the look without risking the Big Bird effect.

It’s not just clothing  that has been getting a  feathery makeover. Ciate nails launched a feather  manicure set earlier this year. The process of setting a feather between layers of nail polish is not nearly as fiddly as it sounds, so won’t leave you all of a flutter.