There are many 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 up to four feet long, and adorned with the iridescent shimmer of greens, purples, blues, and reds there is not any other animal that can compete with the imperial beauty of peacocks.
One of the few species of animal where the man is the more beautiful of the sexes, the phrase’Peacock’ actually only refers to the men, whereas the females are called’Peahens’, and they together are known as’Peafowl’. The males use their display 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 up over 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 just 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 could be found in early Christian grave art, and were a favorite theme 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, pictures of peacocks, and the beautiful patterns of their plumes began being used in visual art in the Western world as well. As the gilded and intricately detailed designs from Islamic and Middle Eastern art started 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 stunning pieces of art using influences from other cultures, specifically Japanese and Islamic designs.
The peacock print whether left in its natural state, or superimposed into mod looking patterns, makes exquisite pieces of clothing and can be seen on catwalks from New York to Milan, from every major fashion house.