For this week’s Friday Inspirations, I’m reposting a piece from July 2011, where I first introduced some of the ideas and images that serve as inspiration for my NaNoWriMo novel, PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE. Enjoy!
I’ve been nursing the idea about country founded and governed by women for some time now, and it was in April that I started to build the basic structure of the land I have since named “Vao Artan.” The central organizing myth is that the realm was settled by seven sisters, siblings who were in the goddess’s favor and blessed with dominion over the land. Each sister had a specific talent — the cultivation of land and livestock; hunting and martial prowess; music, painting, and the arts; scholarly research; mathematics and science; magic; and diplomacy and rule. The descendants of each sister correspond to a specific strata or occupation within the society.
This is where things get interesting. Each of the seven sisters is associated with a type of bird — swans and magic, owls and scholarly research, nightingales and the arts, etc. The bird imagery continues throughout the duration of the society, to the point where the military’s headquarters is known as “The Falconry,” and the royal mage is known as “The Cygne” (cygne being French for “swan”). Each queen takes the name of a bird to represent her personality/rule. The current queen, Vaedyn, is known as the “Eagle’s Claw,” which symbolizes her status as a warrior. My main character, Liandre, will take the peacock for her standard.
So with that in mind, I’ve been collecting all sorts of bird-related things to help me out with world-building. I’ve been thinking about fashion, architecture, and decor, among other odds and ends. Today, though, I’m going to look at fashion. Luckily, the fashion world has been drawing on avian inspirations for ages now, so there’s a wide range of ideas from which I can draw.
Feathers will be integrated into this tale, from the crests that adorn the helmets of the nation’s soldiers and warriors and other accessories, like jewelry and belts, to elaborate gowns, cloaks, and other items of clothing.
I also love the idea of drawing inspiration for makeup and cosmetics from birds, like makeup artist Mark Lim did here, using this absolutely gorgeous peacock headpiece and choker. (This is actually a look I’ve attempted with the bright blue and green eyeshadow, but I’m not nearly this talented!)
Other pretties include these phenomenal necklaces designed by Lucy Hutchings. They are apparently inspired by the Bowerbird, “who loves to feather his nest with lots of blue to attract an egglayer,” according to Trendhunter. I’ve introduced a similar sort of necklace into the third chapter of PPT, which is worn by the witch (or “Mother Cygne”) Simone. Instead of being made from stones of blue-green, it is a rope of egg-sized, rough-hewn amethysts.
The women of Vao Artan, I think, like their jewelry big and bold, their clothing bright and colorful, and their accessories noticeable. They are women after my own heart. 😉
Finally, here’s one last gown, created by Indonesian designer Anne Avantie. It doesn’t have any explicitly avian details, but the color scheme is absolutely perfect for a young woman about to assume the “peacock throne.” The model also reminds me of the way that Liandre appears in my mind, which is an extra bonus:
And there we have it! A wee peek into the world that I am attempting to craft for PATH TO THE PEACOCK THRONE. For more pictures and ideas, you can visit my tumblr, where I organize my world-building ideas.
Where do you turn for inspiration when you’re crafting a new tale? How do you organize your ideas — scrapbooking, collages, digital photo galleries?