Feathermania: Fashion to Die ForTe Mate Huruhuru: He Kahu Matemate

From the 1850s to the 1910s, feathers were the height of fashion – worn by royalty, military men, debutantes and fashionable women alike.

Featuring examples of ‘feather finery’ and bird-beak jewellery where visitors learn how feathers played an integral part in women’s fashion internationally.

When | Āhea

5 Jul 2021 – 6 Jun 2022

Where | Ki hea

Level 3

Cost | Te utu



Appropriate for all ages, but most relevant for ages 12+


15 minutes

Accessibility | E wātea ana ki
  • wheelchair accessible

Find out more about accessibility at Te Papa

Feathers sourced from birds across the globe – including Aotearoa New Zealand – formed an integral part of a fashionable woman’s wardrobe throughout the second half of the nineteenth century.

At the height of ‘feathermania’ in the late nineteenth century, an international fashion commentator even went as far as commenting that ‘A well dressed woman nowadays is as fluffy as a downy bird fresh from the nest’.

Curated to coincide with Claire Regnault’s forthcoming book Dressed: Fashionable Women’s Dress 1840 to 1910 (Te Papa Press), Feathermania features feather-adorned mantles, fans, muffs, and matching collars and even jewellery from the national collection.

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