Beaded Swarovski and Paua Shell Top with matching Peacock Feather Skirt
Gail Be, American, United States, 2003 skirt remade 2007
This strikingly beautiful skirt is made from over 2,500 peacock feathers; each eye is adorned with a Swarovski flat back crystal. It's beautiful and illuminating top is made from New Zealand paua shells and vintage and modern Swarovski crystal beads. The only material in this entire ensemble is the 3 inches at the waistband.
The only man-made materials of this design are the rare vintage and modern Swarovski crystal beads, which I always add to my designs to give them an added sparkle and elegance.
My original concept for this fashion was for Heidi to look like a mythical princess that rose from the Sea. So to ensure this look and tie this ensemble together Samantha, my lead designer, made the incredible exotic and wild looking crystal and Paua tiara.
The skirt flares out so brilliantly it looks like there is a wedding hoop underneath—but there is nothing there but feathers. It took me years to create the technique to make this feather skirt that contains only 3 inches of fabric at the waistband. In the final stages to complete the skirt it took three of us weeks to directly form it around Heidi’s body in a natural looking way.
I also had to create a very strange new technique to add the rare Swarovski crystal beads to the Paua shell discs. I wanted the back of the top to look like it was a beautiful tattoo that is actually part of Heidi's body.
I painstakingly hand selected each of the feathers from the peacock farms in southern MN. They had more dander than any cat, so after sorting through thousands of feathers over a ten hour period I was deathly sick with allergies.
Peacock feathers come in different shades, some are more green, blue or copper so I hand selected them so that my design shades match perfectly. All feathers are taken during molting season or from deceased birds, no animals were harmed in the making of the skirt.
The rich iridescent blue-green color of the Paua shells perfectly complimented the natural colors of the peacock feathers. This mythical outfit is a tribute to Mother Nature and the wonderful materials she supplied us with. We all love it and I believe this design gives her the respect she so rightly deserves.