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When Men Wore Ostrich Feathers

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© Anton Ulrich Museum, Brunswick
How can reconstructing the clothes of the past tell us more about bodies, ambition and social competition? Funded by the Swiss National Foundation, Professor Ulinka Rublack has worked with other historians, milliners and dressmakers to remake the remarkable feathered headdress worn by accountant Matthäus Schwarz in the early sixteenth century. Featuring 32 ostrich plumes dyed red and white on an elaborate wire structure fitted on to a satin and velvet cap, this piece of ostentatious fashion can tell us about new artisanal skills which facilitated men´s access to fashion, to craft their selfhood and advance their political and material interests through competitive displays. Find out more about the detective work of reconstruction and the SNF project:

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The Bonnet: