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A feather in your cap, Ma'am; Record Woman.

THEY used to be worn only by dancing girls and mothers-of-the-bride, but these days all sorts of chicks are sprouting feathers.

According to milliners, 1999 is the Year of the Hat, but it's actually the year in which we are turning away from the traditional crown and brim affair and turning to feathers.

Even the Queen let feathers go to her head. At Edward and Sophie's wedding last weekend, in accordance with the couple's hat ban, she chose a headdress inspired by this season's Gucci catwalk shows.

The lace chiffon bandeau covered in lilac ostrich feathers and pearl stamens was designed by Frederick Fox. And it sat regally upon an extra-high hairstyle.

Princess Anne struck a similar style with her modest spray of unlikely-looking green feathers, dyed to match her peppermint ensemble. But these were tame creatures compared to the creations of milliner Philip Treacey.

Treacey has gone for broke with his wild and wacky use of feathers.

Society couturier Isabell Kristensen made a bold entrance at Ascot in an hourglass suit of her own design, with fluoro-lime "boa constrictor" hat by Treacey.

Other Ascot eye-catchers featured exotic maribou, 8ft pheasant plumes in neon colours and feathers so stripped, dyed and curled there's no telling what kind of creature they were plucked from.

Other celebrity featherbrains include Carla Bruni, the Italian model who bedded Mick Jagger. She went for a single feather to offset her exotically pruned hair, while model Eileen Catterson went for a softly feathered flapper effect.

Of course, there's nothing new about the allure of feathers. Marilyn Monroe was wowing them way back in the 50s with her headdresses. She famously donned white fluffy ostrich feathers for a show-stopping scene in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Anne Ferguson of hairdresser Taylor Ferguson said: "Feathers are flattering. They make even a plain hairstyle look exotic."

So, while you might not fancy flaunting your plumage, it's ideal for that last-minute cocktail party. Just don't blame us if they ask for a chorus of Diamonds Are A Girl's Best Friend.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Paterson, Roz
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 25, 1999
Previous Article:Prints charming; Stay on the ball and you'll waltz off with a delightful new look. But overdo it and you'll end up looking like an ugly sister.
Next Article:Game, set and macho; Record Woman.

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