The peacock revolution, also known as the New Look, was a period of menswear in the 1960s that inspired a movement among men to return to their masculinity and ditch the feminine fashions of the time. The Peacock Revolution began with the rise of male models in fashion shows and magazines who were strong and masculine and wanted to break out of the more effeminate trends that had been on display for several seasons. These men were followed by other influencers who wanted to take things even further by abandoning cravats, silk doublets, slim-fitting trousers and other tight-fitting garments. They instead opted for lavish fabrics like peacock feathers or prints, large gold buttons and upturned collars.
60s Menswear for the Peacock Revolution
There was a lot of excessive design happening in the 1960s with clothing so the peacock revolution was about taking things to the extreme. The interiors and exteriors of men's clothing were covered in embellishments like shawl lapels, multiple buttons, detailed stitching, and even more elaborate accessories like tie pins, tie tacks, and even cufflinks. While the shawl lapel had been a staple of men's tailoring for decades, it was particularly popular during the peacock revolution. The lapel was given a dramatic upturn and sometimes came with a decorative button on the underside.
The Biggest Influencers in the Peacock Revolution
The peacock revolution was led by some of the biggest influencers of the 1960s such as Twiggy, Mick Jagger, and David Bailey. Perhaps the most famous icon of the peacock revolution is Twiggy, a model who rose to fame to model the New Look fashions of the 1960s. She was only 19 years old at the time and her youth and slim figure made her the ideal candidate for the job. She was photographed in bold colors, shawl lapels, bold button-up collars, and more ornate accessories like fur stoles and even peacock feathers. While the New Look did focus more on men's fashions, there were several women like Twiggy who also participated in the movement.
The Return to Masculinity
The New Look was about ditching the dandyism and excess of the 1950s and going back to more masculine clothing. The shawl lapel and double-breasted suit were staples of men's tailoring in the 1930s and '40s. These were the items that were brought back by the peacock revolution. Mick Jagger was the lead singer of The Rolling Stones, the most famous rock band of the 1960s. He was known for his onstage charisma and excessive outfits. He popularized the male peacock look and brought it into mainstream fashion. Jagger's outfits were often embellished with gold buttons and sparkling gems. His large collars were upturned and made from a variety of fabrics, including velvet and fur. Jagger popularized the use of the peacock feather as a decorative accessory.
The Rise of Branded Menswear
The peacock revolution also gave rise to the rise of branded menswear. For example, brands like Lacoste and Burberry became popular during this period specifically because they supplied the fabrics and colors used in the peacock revolution. A brand called Brioni was also very popular among men during this period which focused on a bold and luxurious aesthetic. Brioni made famous the silk doublet which was an extremely embellished silk tuxedo jacket that was often worn open. Brioni was one of the first brands to start using bold colors and peacock designs in their men's clothing. Another brand that rose to prominence during this period was Pierre Cardin who was a French fashion designer. His bold colors and geometric designs were a perfect fit for the peacock revolution.
Procter & Gamble's New Products for Men
One of the most significant developments for menswear during the peacock revolution was that Procter & Gamble released their line of grooming products for men. This included brands like Gillette, P&G's shaving products, and Lux, their line of bath and body products. P&G's initial idea was to make their grooming products as luxurious and ornate as possible in accordance with the New Look movement. Lux was their brand of soap that was released during this period. Lux was packaged in a bright, almost tropical-like turquoise box and contained a tropical scent.
The peacock revolution was a period in the 1960s where men ditched the more feminine fashions of the 1950s and returned to more masculine clothing. The most significant difference was that the New Look was not just about clothing but also men's grooming products. Proctor & Gamble's release of the Gillette Foamy shaving cream was the first time that men's grooming products had become as ornate and luxurious as women's beauty products. The 1960s were an exciting time for fashion, but you wouldn't know it looking at the muted tones and fabrics we wear today. It took a few decades before the wild designs of the New Look were replaced by a more toned-down aesthetic.