Aigrette, heron in french, is used to describe the heron’s or osprey’s feather used to adorn a headpiece.
Initially it was used alongside precious stones to adorn the turbans of Ottoman sultans and their horses’ chamfron. It started to be used in the uniform of a certain rank of the French army. And it had a strong presence in luxury items.
It was from the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century that the aigrette began to adorn women’s clothing. The trend was so strong that the number of birds dying so their feathers could be used reached such a level that caused outrage in the population, which revolted and made the hunting of the birds illegal. The trend was present until the 1940s, after which it was used again only in haute couture clothing, luxury accessories and luxury shoes.
Bibliography: Allan, Georgina O’Hara; Enciclopédia da Moda: De 1840 À Década de 90: Companhia das Letras, 2010.