While visiting the San Diego beachfront community of Ocean Beach a few weeks ago, I spotted more than a few California girls sporting gorgeous feathers in their beach blown hair. Feather fashion is nothing new; humans have had a fascination with the look for centuries. From Native American headdresses to Burlesques bustles, they have been worn for all kinds of purposes and meanings. Throughout history, depending on the culture and year, bird feathers have been known to be symbolic for both power and powerlessness. Plumage is making a soaring comeback these days; feather earrings have been popular for a few years now, and the style has evolved into hair extensions. Feather extensions are a wonderful way to add texture to your hair, along with color and wild style.
In New York, the feather extension trend is not yet as big as on the West Coast, but it seems to be rapidly gaining fans. I read that Wendy Nicol offers the fine feathered service for 50 bucks a bundle at her Soho Boutique (147 Sullivan Street), so I ventured into her store the other day to spruce up my do. It’s a relatively new service that she offers to clientele, one that she started back in December, 2010. Her newest collection was full of feathers and feather inspired looks, and she had been incorporating feathers into her jewelry creation. This naturally progressed to Wendy braiding feathers through her own hair. One day a light bulb went off in her talented mind, “I need to start putting feathers in other people’s hair!” She did some research, and began combining rooster feathers and fly fishing feathers with copper silicone insulated bands. The bands not only hold the feathers in the hair but stop the feathers from bending and breaking. According to Wendy, the extensions should last up to four weeks, however, one of her associates kept hers in for over two months.
Wendy offers a nice selection of natural and bright colored rooster feathers. I opted for the more natural look with a bundle of whites, browns, and tans. We discussed where in my hair it would look best. Within 30 seconds she clamped it, and voila! I had feathers in my hair! Wendy warned me that the girls that opt for the more natural look often come back hours later requesting more vibrant extensions. In truth, I was almost one of those ladies! Wendy offers larger and different bird feathers as well, which are also priced at 50 dollars, but warns that rooster feathers are the easiest to maintain. In general, the maintenance is simple. You can brush, flat iron, and shampoo the feathers. You just have to be careful when brushing and combing to not comb down on the clamp. And, if you need to dye your roots, just wrap your feathers up in foil.
Upon my departure from Wendy’s shop, I received multiple compliments on my hair en route to the subway. I love my feather extensions and will definitely be adding more in the very near future. There is also a Brooklyn woman who offers feather hair services, Dana Divine the Goddess Maker. I have noticed some of her clientele around town, sporting bright rooster and pheasant feathers.