There are lots of beautiful animals on the planet; the spots on the cheetah have inspired designers for decades, along with the perfectly symmetrical patterns on a butterfly are stunning, but can any of these truly compare to the delightfully gaudy display of a proud peacock? With feathers reaching around four feet long, and adorned with all the iridescent shimmer of greens, purples, blues, and reds there’s not any other animal that may compete with the imperial beauty of peacocks.
One of the few species of creature where the man is the more beautiful of the genders, the phrase’Peacock’ really only refers to the men, whereas the females are known as’Peahens’, and they are known as’Peafowl’. The men use their screen of tail feathers, also known as coverts, in mating rituals and courtship displays to attract a mate. The female peacocks select their mates based on the dimensions, color, and quality of the peacock’s feathers. These gorgeous feathers can take around half of the male peafowl’s, or peacock’s total body length, whereas the feminine peahens have brief, clearly colored tail feathers.
Peacocks have been the fashion-forward pheasants, the couture birds, the absolutely fabulous fowl of the animal kingdom, and their feathers have been equally as trendsetting-ly powerful in the human kingdom also. Peacocks have been a sign of wealth, beauty and rebirth since early times, and their pictures can be found in early Christian grave art, and were a favourite theme in Rome as early as the third century. In the Middle and Far East, pictures of these plumes, in addition to the real feathers themselves, were used to adorn everything from clothes to house goods.
In the late 1800’s, pictures of peacocks, and the gorgeous patterns of the plumes began being used in visual art in the Western world also. Since the gilded and intricately detailed designs from Western and Middle Eastern art started to gain popularity in the west, designers such as William Morris started to incorporate the ostentatious splendor of the peacock plumes in their interior layouts. Around this time, an English group of musicians known as the Aesthetics were producing stunning pieces of artwork using influences from other cultures, specifically Islamic and Japanese designs.
The peacock print whether left in its natural condition, or superimposed into mod appearing patterns, makes exquisite pieces of clothing and can be found on catwalks from New York to Milan, from every major style house.