Thursday, July 30, 2009

Preening like a Peacock


Recently I've been loving peacock motifs, both in home decor and in fashion. And while it's undeniable that peacocks (especially their feathers) have been having "a moment" in the world of design for the past few years, the peacock has been popular as a symbol of royalty, beauty, paradise (and even immortality!) throughout human history.

In India, the peacock has long been associated with the Hindu god Lord Krishna and has been used in Indian art and architecture for centuries. I love the abstract use of peacock feathers above the door on the City Palace inside Jaipur, Rajastan (shown above).

Among the Romans, the peacock was commonly associated with paradise, renewal and spring and many wealthy Romans kept peacocks in their gardens. Early Christians later adopted the peacock as a symbol of immortality because of long-held myth that peacock flesh did not decay. Examples of peacocks in surviving Roman mosaics (both Christian and non-Christian) are numerous.

The Peacock Skirt, Aubrey Beardsley (1894)

More recently, highly stylized peacocks and peacock feathers became a popular motif in the Art Nouveau and later in the Art Deco design movements. Today, the peacock has reemerged as a design element in both fashion and home decor and there's a "peacock style" for just about every taste: from ethnic to bohemian, flapper to rock 'n roll.

Preening like a Peacock

Preening like a Peacock by averillh1

In fashion, I can't get enough of peacock feathers-cum-jewelry or in art deco-style print dresses that reference the classic motif. Flapper-style headbands and head pieces covered in peacock feathers are a great way to perk up an ordinary cocktail dress. For the less daring, peacock feather earrings or a single feather on a necklace are a lovely and more subtle accessory choice.

Birds of a Feather
Birds of a Feather by averillh1 on Polyvore.com

In truth, I am perhaps most drawn to the intense colors of a peacock -- the shimmery blues and greens are some of the boldest and brightest that nature has on offer -- and I think these jewel tones translate beautifully to your home. You can go big and bold with wallpaper from Ferm Living or Osborne & Little or you can just add a few small pops of color with a pillow or even some fun new dinnerware.

This Peacock Armchair by Cappelliani is my new obsession. If only $3,622 were within my budget!

13 comments:

Christy said...

I would LOVE to know if that chair is comfortable to sit on?! I love your collages Averill. As I was looking at it just now - I JUST realized I can click my mouse over it and see where all the items came from! DOH! I had no idea I could do that until now.

My favorites are the peacock wallpaper and that rug. Gorgeous. The colors are stunning! I hope you use something peacock-y in your new home!

Kara said...

That peacock chair is gorgeous!! And I love the wall paper!!

Brooke said...

Don't forget that the peacock was Juno's favorite bird!

High-Heeled Foot in the door said...

Wow I love peacocks so this was quite the amazing post. I love them in clothing and home accessories and that chair is just too much! I must have it. Maybe we can all chip in and time share it!

Maple said...

That chair is amazing!! I also love the long dress in your collage- if only it didn't have long sleeves. I wouldn't be able to wear it til late October at least with this heat!

Laura@JourneyChic said...

Love your choices - those earrings are lovely and the mirror is truly stunning. Very cool to include info about the cultural history of the peacock - I learned something new today!

Kitty said...

Hey Averill, I had never heard of Polyvore until I saw it on your blog last night...subsequently, I gave you a little shout out on today's Shindigs post about party clothes! Thanks so much for being so hip. BTW, I like the peacocks post, too! xo kitty.

Style Redux 2 said...

I love the Osborne & Little wallpaper-did that make the cut for the power room?

MyLittleHappyPlace said...

Brilliant post! I'm a bit of a scardey-cat with uber rich colors, but I could certainly handle a pillow or two - or even better, a HUGE piece of art with a peacock theme!

(P.S. - Was this post inspired by the pea-fowl feature on this past weekend's CBS Sunday Morning?) ;)

Averill said...

Kitty - Thanks for the shout out!

Beth - Yes, I think I'm going with this wallpaper -- just need to order it.

Alison - I didn't even see that piece! (Just about the only TV I watch is HGTV, Bravo and HBO/Showtime.)

pk said...

That chair is too much fun! Can't wait to see the wallpaper in the powder room...

Daniela said...

That chair is awesome! Oh, and I love my peacock bracelet you guys bought me : )

Liz @ It's Great To Be Home said...

Yay, thanks for joining the blog party!! :) Hope the unpacking is going well!

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