It’s hard to walk down the street and not see some feathers accessorizing someone’s hair. The newest hair trend is going strong on the Island, and not just among visitors. Many hair salons here have begun to offer a variety of feather extensions for ladies, men, and even dogs.
“It’s hard to believe, but there are also Puppy Flocks, yes, feather extensions for dogs,” according to owner/hairdresser Peter Charpentier of Hair Studio on Union Street in Vineyard Haven.
When I, astonished, asked Mr. Charpentier and his co-hairdresser, Deb McGrath, why, they had a ready answer: “Deb and I always go back to American Idol. Every week we saw Steven Tyler wearing these feathers in a way that was really nice. We also remember when girls would clip their feathered roach clips in their hair in the 70s, but hair accessories have been around for a very, very long time. More recently, look at the royal wedding with the incredible hats and bands. You can now see people walking down Main Street, Vineyard Haven, with some cool hat or head gear that we would not have seen before the wedding.”
Who are the best candidates for feather extensions? “Everyone can find their look with feather extensions,” Mr. Charpentier says, “whether it be bold and colorful or natural and just teasing us with a peek. Any hair type can wear feathers from very short hair to straight or curly, as long as we can have enough hair to attach it to.”
As for age: “The youngest person we have put them on so far is about six years old, and the oldest was a beautiful 74-year-old woman who thought it would be elegant for a board meeting. Deb and I are seeing some older woman wanting it for an occasion and the younger people wanting it for their everyday look.”
Feather hair extensions offer the opportunity to add color and interest to a style a person may be bored with, without having to make a permanent or drastic change. Feather extensions may be moved around, reused, and removed at will (with a little help from your hairdresser).
Mr. Charpentier expands on this. “Yesterday a client came in for a feather, and I asked if she had had them before, and she said ‘yes, I have six of them at home.’ I said, ‘Well, if you like them and they are in good shape, go get them, and let’s put them back in.’ She didn’t know you could do that and was thrilled, because she really liked the ones she had, and it saved her a lot of money.”
For those new to feathers, know that there are several kinds. There are synthetic versions that tend to be less expensive (though they might not last the test of time, according to Mr. Charpentier). But, the most popular ones are those that are all natural and actually come from various birds.
“Some companies we use boast that they use rooster or even peacock feathers, though all of them treat and color their feathers,” Mr. Charpentier says. “In regards to prices, it will vary on whether they are a single feather or flocks [multiple feathers, grouped together] and if the length is short or long. My favorite is the four feather flocks, because they are bonded with a keratin wax, which makes them less likely to slide out. All of the feathers are unique because they are like snow flakes — there are no two alike.”
Hair Studio carries both synthetic and natural feathers, in both single and flocked versions, with prices ranging from $20 to $60, attachment included. You may make an appointment, but it’s not necessary as it takes only a moment to put the feather extensions in. The hairdresser has a display book to help you choose a favorite.
The Hair Studio is open 6 days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 9:30 am to 6 pm. You may visit Hair Studio at 13 Union Street (on the walking path between Union Street and the Tisbury Police Station) in Vineyard Haven, or call them at 508-693-8665. Hair Studio is just one of many hair salons on-Island that offer feather extensions.