Fashion General

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I think one feather isn't bad. two is a bit much. But a whole bird wing is over the top. That is a nice practical hat and the model is lovely but my Great-Grandmother is the fairest on the page. Thanks for sharing Bob.
George Bernard Shaw might have thought it vulgar to wear a bird on the head, but not all men thought it unbecoming. Kaiser Bill, for instance, adopted the fashion immediately ...

Kaiser Bill, for instance, adopted the fashion immediately ...

It is to laugh, Actually you bring up a good point. Does anybody know if any German head gear had feathers for decoration or did other countries have feathers in their head gear.

Info on Kaiser Bill. Kaiser Bill as he was called back in the day by the American Press and (British press ?) was a little touched in the head about certain things. For instance he would never let his Officers in his Army perform The Turkey Trot or The Tango nor Folk Dances because he considered them undignified, much to his officers distress. Those dances was very popular in their day. Funny little factoid.
Yes, feathers have been used to decorate military and warrior headgear all over the world since ancient times. The purpose generally was to make the wearer look taller and more impressive, which was an important function of military helmets right up to the 19th century. The elaborate ceremonial headgear worn by Colonial Officers and Ambassadors served the same purpose, and was often decorated with ostrich plumes. We still say 'a feather in my cap' to mean we've achieved something or become more important, and the same expression has arisen independently in many different cultures throughout the world. Feathers are still used in ceremonial dress, but nowadays in combat the wise soldier decorates his helmet with the nest rather than the bird!
Feathers are one thing, but WINGS? Ick!

It is surprising today (even to a leather-shoe-wearing meat-eater like me) how comfortable people used to be wrapping themselves in dead things. I remember my parents talking about their mothers wearing stoles (fox? mink?) that still had heads and limbs attached. The mouths had steel clamps in them to hold the furs in place when wrapped around the neck. My mother remembers playing with her mother's in church. This is going back to the 1940's.
The wearing of dead critters is of course the oldest fashion there is! Yes, it's surprising it took so long to become unfashionable. Thinking back to the early postwar years I can actually remember ladies wearing fox stoles which inspired terror in any child within snapping range. There was a particularly vicious-looking one tucked away in my Gran's wardrobe, just waiting to pounce. My mother, a passionate animal lover, recalls borrowing that particular corpse on occasion and had no qualms about wrapping it round her neck. Can't say I recall feeling sorry for the poor creatures myself, either. It was more a matter of feeling nervous that they might not be really dead. Not entirely. And that one dark night they's all get together and they'd be coming to get us ....

Wasn't there a scene in one of the Ghostbusters films in which a fur coat proved still to have some life in it? That brought back memories!

I'm rather dolefully sitting on a mink stole and a mink jacket I recently inherited, and don't know what to do with. I cannot imagine any circumstances in which I might want to wear them, but if the Gulf Stream fails, and we in the UK end up frozen, I have to say the jacket is extremely warm. So a daughter-in-law or granddaughter might ultimately be grateful that I saved it...
Attitudes towards fur have changed dramatically in recent years. Only a generation or two ago, it was one of the ultimate status symbols, a mink coat being prized only slightly less than diamonds. Nowadays, most women wouldn't touch it with a barge-pole and the fur wraps and stoles so carefully preserved by our grandmothers can be found languishing at jumble sales and in second-hand shops.

As we discussed on another thread, many first-class ladies aboard the 'Titanic' were glad of their furs on the night of the sinking. Lady Duff Gordon wore squirrel and I seem to recall that Molly Brown had a muff which she tore down the middle to wrap around a scantily-clad fireman in No 6. Charlotte Cardeza, as one might expect, was travelling with a vast array of furs and I expect she wore one too.

By the time I was little, my great-grandmother's fur stole - which I christened Stoaty Fox - had made its way to my dressing-up box. I was known to blame poor Stoaty for any mischief which might happen to occur in the playroom!
It seems that Mrs Brown's stole was one of those in which the pelts retained signs of recent habitation, which on that occasion proved to be useful: "I picked up a large sable stole that I had dropped in the boat and from his waist line down wrapped it around his limbs, tying the tails around his ankles"

sashka pozzetti

Former Member
One of the worst things about fur to wear is that it is a magnet to moths. I don't think many people nowadays would be prepared to look after it, even if it wasn't so unfashionable. I don't know how the Titanic ladies would have dealt with the smell of cigarette smoke it would have attracted. The fur coat Lucile was wearing on the Carpathia does look very cosy though, and in a good copy of the picture I saw from a newspaper, you can see that it is stripes of fur, so must looked very striking. Was squirrel an expensive fur, and was it grey or red that was used?
The women in my dad's family didn't wear fur because it accelerated their allergies. They weren't allergic to animals, but to furs. Something they used to preserve the furs perhaps? My mom's mother on the other hand had a fox wrap she wore to church or dancing in the winter with her coat. I heard somewhere that fur doesn't age well.
I've posted this one before in a different context, but I figure it's worth another airing at this point. When I first saw this pic I thought it was a Klondike trapper arriving at the trading post with a full load, but apparently it's the concert pianist Germaine Schnitzer, photographed in 1912 wearing a white fox fur wrap.

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