Andie Cohen-Healy – United States

Arcana

Category: Traditional

Description

My private commission was for a custom-designed, avant-garde, one-of-a-kind headpiece to be worn in a burlesque competition. The challenging part was that the headpiece needed to withstand an industrial fan beneath the performer, blowing her parachute material dress up with substantial force. She said she wanted her headpiece to “have whimsy but really pop”, so I created “feather firecrackers” by hand-tying white biot feathers so that the filaments created a playful arc. I hand-painted the tips of the feathers in the front to match other silver elements in the costume. Because the client wanted the weight of the piece to fall on her left, I created 4 curved horsehair “banana dangles” by binding the ends with white silk thread. To avoid blowing straight up in the air when the fan blew, the dangles were hand-sewn to the teardrop-shaped buckram base, which was covered in the same white parachute material as the dress. The feathers were placed throughout the horsehair, some glued and some sewn, so that air would pass through and the plumes would dance about and seemingly “explode”! The underside of the base featured a comb and for added security during performance, metal clips and button-looping to allow for placement of bobby pins. Though the client did not win the competition (her dress malfunctioned), she LOVED the headpiece and said it performed perfectly in gale force winds!

Materials

  • Horsehair (mesh)
  • Biot feathers
  • Buckram base
  • Parachute material
  • Silver paint
  • Clear comb, clips and button-looping (underneath)

Techniques

  • Hand-tying biot feathers
  • hand sewing
  • hot glue gun
  • regular fabric glue
  • hand-painting feather tips

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HATalk Issue 140 (November 2017). Cover hat by Veronica Marucci.

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