The Allure of the White Peacock in Interior Design

White Peacock - LCDQLA Legends 2014
Image via my own Nikon

The White Peacock at LCDQLA Legends 2014

This past week, while attending the La Cienega Design Quarter’s (LCDQLA) annual event, Legends 2014, I noticed that peacocks seemed to pop up everywhere.  Not just any peacock, but WHITE peacocks. For those of you who are not familiar with Legends, it is a “3-day celebration of design that brings together the top editors of the nation’s prized shelter magazines with VIPs and tastemakers from the worlds of interior design, architecture, decor, art and fashion for keynote panel discussions, cocktail parties, exhibitions, book signings, personal appearances and receptions”.  Another key feature of this celebration are the store windows that line the streets along the Quarter.  The week prior to Legends, the windows are decorated by forty of today’s most influential designers.  This year’s theme was NOVEL INTERIORS: Storytelling by Design.

Ok now that I’ve given you that background, onto the white peacock.  As I walked into the first keynote panel of the day,  “Back to the Future” held at George Smith, I was greeted by the wonderful window you see above, designed by Hayes and Howells, and the first white peacock of the day. During the keynote,  which discussed where design has come from and where it is going in the future, designer Chloe Warner showed images of her newly decorated Bay area residence, which also featured a white peacock as a prominent part of her design.  (Sorry, I don’t have a photo of this as it was a part of her slide show presentation.)

White Peacock - LCDQLA Legends 2014
image via LCDQLA

As the day went on, I bounced from panel to panel while walking the streets to absorb the beautiful windows that had been painstakingly decorated.  Next came my 3rd white peacock sighting of the day, at Jamal’s Rug Collection and decorated by designer Erin Martin, where the “novel” that she chose to portray in her window display was the Bible. (More on perhaps why she chose the Bible below, where I discuss  the symbolism and significance behind the white peacock.)

White Peacock - LCDQLA Legends 2014
image via LCDQLA

The fourth peacock of the day was seen at the south Egg and Dart window designed by Everage Design, “Enchanted April”.  Ok, it wasn’t a WHITE peacock, but it was a peacock.  Peacocks in 3 out of 40 windows – 4 instances during one event, if you count Chloe Warner’s presentation, is pretty major in my book.

The Symbolism and Significance Behind the White Peacock

So this left me with the question – from where did the white peacock trend originate and what is the significance? The peacock holds symbolism in a number of religions and in a number of ways.   In Christianity it is believed that a pair of peacocks guard the Gates of Paradise – the entrance to all eternity.  In Buddhism, the white peacock symbolizes nirvana and purity. In the Islam religion, the peacock is thought to be an ally of Satan.  In ancient times it was believed that the the flesh of the peacock did not decompose postmortem, and was therefore considered to be immortal and directly linked to Christ.  Because the peacock sheds and replaces its feathers annually, it is also a symbol of renewal and resurrection. In Greek mythology, the peacock feather was considered  the all seeing “evil eye” that always kept watch.  In some cultures, the peacock also symbolizes pride and nobility.

Considering these facts, it is no wonder why one would want to incorporate the white peacock into the home.  Not only does it hold great beauty, but it also holds great significance.

White Peacock
image via François Halard for Vogue

The White Peacock Used in the Most Fashionable Interiors

The photo above, of Alexis and Trevor Traina’s Pacific Heights home, was first seen in Vogue in 2009.  Designed by decorators Thomas Britt and Ann Getty, two peacocks were worked into the design of the dining room, one of which was white.

White peacock
Image via Town and Country

In his book, Luxury Redefined, Ryan Korban- interior designer for Alexander Wang’s and Balenciaga’s SOHO stores is inspired by a 1978 ad for Yves Saint Laurent’s Opium in which a white peacock makes a dramatic statement.

Interior Designers continue to use the white peacock  in design because of both its beauty, what it symbolizes, and because the statement its presence makes in an interior setting.

White Peacock
image via The Coveteur
White peacock
image via Sojorner
White peacock
image by Michael A. Muller at the bar at the Hotel St. Cecilia, Austin TX
White peacock
image via Creative Celebrations

And if you are drawn to the beauty of the white peacock and taxidermy is not your thing then you can always fashion your own decorative white peacock using sheer, ruffled fabric which is embroidered in the motif of a peacock feather, as was done in the photo above.

So, do you consider yourself a fan of white peacocks in the home?  Now that I know the significance and symbolism that is associated with the white peacock, I am definitely more of a fan than I was before – call me a philosophical thinking interior designer. Cheers!

Jeanne signature


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