Parure de Plumes

17 December 1998 – 7 February 1999

Lent from The Centre de Recherche du Costume, in Arles, France, The Peacock Dress dates from the late 1850′s and belonged to a young aristocratic woman in Provence.

The exhibition paid homage to James McNeill Whistler through his famous interior, The Peacock Room. The gallery looked at the dress through contemporary eyes, acknowledging the current popularity (and long history) of Orientalism in dress.

Dai Rees’ feathered head-dress curled into a wig to complete the late Victorian silhouette. Katherine Clark’s Cherry Blossom Collection of jewellery was taken from Kanxi porcelain, where peacock feathers became at once chrysanthemum petals and intersecting crescent moons. (Whistler via Beardsley).