Jaguar Quetzal is another wonderful design by Alice Shirley for Hermès, this time for the Spring/Summer 2018 collection. I have nearly all of Shirley’s scarf designs for Hermès, with only a couple of exceptions, so there was no surprise that this one sang to me from the off!
The scarf shows a cute jaguar curled up asleep, wearing a beautifully decorative feathered and bejewelled headdress, in a nest of exotic foliage. Butterflies flutter past and the feathers curve around the edge. The bottom two corners are particularly pretty and look great when the scarf is tied. The whole design goes right up to the edges of the scarf with no border and there is a lovely contrast hem.
Two different versions of the design are offered this season: a 90cm silk twill and a 140cm cashmere/silk. Mine is the 90cm carré in colourway #11 in mauve, violet, and jaune souffre. I had a really difficult time choosing the right colourway for me. I wanted to consider several things so that I would get this right: my clothing colour wheel, the colours of my existing scarf collection and the fact that my hair is growing out the grey. At first, I fancied colourway #06 with blues, greys and browns, but I decided that I already have a lot of blue scarves and I don’t think that the browns would be right for me in the future, even if they would have been lovely with my dyed hair. Although I do have some scarves in purple and lilac shades already, I felt that #11 would be different enough to fill a gap. When I opened the iconic orange box, I knew that I had made the correct choice!
The colours are lovely in this design. The jaguar has spots in navy blue against violet, the feathers are in denim blue, mauve and yellow and the rolled hem in blue. In the early days of my scarf buying, I tried to stick to more lifelike colourways, but as time has gone on, that idea has gone out of the window. I have read that other avid scarfies often have a similar experience.
These are the colourways of the Jaguar Quetzal Spring/Summer 2018 silk twill 90cm:
And here are most of the colourways for the 140cm cashmere/silk shawl (I will add any others that I might have missed as I find them):
There is also an amazing (and amazingly expensive) embroidered version, called Jaguar Quetzal Coloriage, in 140cm twill:
I would love to see this one in real life!
The “jaguar warriors” of the pre-Columbian Aztec civilisation inspired Alice Shirley to dream up this big cat and its superb headdress, which is loosely inspired by the famous Penacho conserved in the Museum of Ethnology, Vienna. Made of feathers and semi-precious stones, this enormous headdress owes its beauty to the brilliance of more than 400 quetzal feathers. The quetzal is a tropical bird that lives in Central and South America, whose Aztec name means “long green feathers”. The designer, who is passionate about the animal world, gives us a tender portrait: a sleeping jaguar “dreaming of freedom”.
Here are some close-ups of my scarf in a slideshow format:
How I wear the scarf
I haven’t had the scarf very long so have only worn it a couple of times, but I must say that it ties beautifully and it goes with a lot of my wardrobe. Here you can see it in a collage with my deep purple “blackberry” Lands’ End twin-set:
I was so pleased when I realised that I still had this mauve cashmere jumper at the back of my wardrobe. The scarf looks as if it were made for it and I was thrilled with how much I enjoyed wearing the combination. I even put on some makeup for the occasion!
So, as you can see, the scarf looks great with purple shades and I have plenty of purple and lilac accessories to wear with it. Some of you may also remember that I went a bit mad last Summer buying lavender and purple vests and a cardigan from Lands’ End, which will also be perfect with the scarf. I also think that some shades of blue, particular denim, will work well too.
I went a bit over the top when I first opened the scarf box, trying out a range of scarf knots and ties. As you can see, the design is very versatile – I have even more photos on my iPad!
1) Top row L to R: criss-cross knot, simple casual tie, cowboy cowl knot.
2) Middle row L to R: looped around the neck and held with a MaiTai horn ring (does anyone know the name for this?), bias fold drape, waterfall knot.
3) Bottom row L to R: casual loose tie, half bow knit, asymmetric knot.
There are loads more that would work!
As the main themes of the scarf are jaguars, the amazing quetzal feather headdress and the Aztec Empire, I have found some links and videos to give you more information if you are interested. Please let me know it you have any better links and I will add them to this page.
Very detailed and comprehensive article.
Aimed at a young audience, so very clear information.
2) Quetzal birds
Very comprehensive article about this amazing bird.
Birdlife International: Data Zone
The Resplendent Quetzal in Aztec and Mayan culture
3) That incredible headdress!
Typical Wikipedia article with links to further information.
The Feather Girl
The rarest of Aztec Feather Headdresses
Short blog post with wonderful close-ups of the headdress.
Video with lots of further information setting the full context.
Welt Museum Wien
Penacho: splendour and passion
The exhibition of the headdress in the Museum of Ethnology in Vienna.
4) Aztec Empire
Detailed article with lots of links to follow for further information.
I hope readers have found this exploration of Jaguar Quetzal both interesting and useful. Once again, if you find any errors or have any additional information that I could add, please don’t hesitate to contact me.