One Fabulous Pheasant: The Haute Couture Peacock Plume


There are many beautiful animals in this world; the spots on the cheetah have inspired designers for decades, and the perfectly symmetrical patterns on a butterfly are breathtaking, but can any of them truly compare to the delightfully gaudy display of a proud peacock?  With feathers reaching up to four feet long, and adorned with the iridescent shimmer of greens, purples, blues, and reds there is no other animal that can compete with the regal beauty of peacocks.  In fact, the very word “ostentatious’ comes from the term “ostentatious’ which refers to a group (or flock) of peacocks.

 

 peacock feather

 

 

There are many beautiful animals in this world; the spots on the cheetah have inspired designers for decades, and the perfectly symmetrical patterns on a butterfly are breathtaking, but can any of them truly compare to the delightfully gaudy display of a proud peacock?  With feathers reaching up to four feet long, and adorned with the iridescent shimmer of greens, purples, blues, and reds there is no other animal that can compete with the regal beauty of peacocks.  In fact, the very word “ostentations” comes from the term “ostentation”‘ which refers to a group (or flock) of peacocks.

One of the few species of animal where the male is the more beautiful of the sexes, the word ‘Peacock’ actually only refers to the males, whereas the females are called ‘Peahens’, and they together are called ‘Peafowl’.  The males use their display of tail feathers, also called coverts, in mating rituals and courtship displays to attract a mate.  The female peacocks choose their mates depending on the size, color, and quality of the peacock’s feathers.  These gorgeous feathers can take up over half of the male peafowl’s, or peacock’s total body length, whereas the female peahens have short, plainly colored tail feathers.

Peacocks have long been the fashion-forward pheasants, the couture birds, the absolutely fabulous fowl of the animal kingdom, and their feathers have long been just as trend-setting influential in the human kingdom as well.  Peacocks have been a symbol of wealth, beauty and rebirth since ancient times, and their images could be found in early Christian tomb art, and were a favorite motif in Rome as early as the third century.  In the Middle and Far East, pictures of these plumes, as well as the actual feathers themselves, were used to adorn everything from clothing to house goods.

In the late 1800’s, images of peacocks, and the beautiful patterns of their plumes started being used in visual art in the Western world as well.  As the gilded and intricately detailed designs from Islamic and Middle Eastern art began to gain popularity in the west, designers like William Morris began to incorporate the ostentatious beauty of the peacock plumes in their interior designs.  Around this time, an English group of artists called the Aesthetics were producing gorgeous pieces of art using influences from other cultures, specifically Japanese and Islamic designs.

More recently, in the 1970’s natural objects were beginning to be used more prevalently in fashion, and peacock feathers were used on headbands, jewelry, and handbags.  As the “Boho Chic” look has recently made a strong resurgence, so has the use of peacock feathers in everything from earrings, hair pieces, jewelry, belts, and handbags.  The peacock print whether left in its natural state, or superimposed into mod looking patterns, makes beautiful pieces of clothing and can be seen on catwalks from New York to Milan, from every major fashion house.

 

 

Author: Love Nyla

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