Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Laurel Hawkins
Party masks in plentiful supply are just a few keystrokes away. Feathers and frills that enhance the night s need for mystery and intrigue are available; so are sequined masks that hide Halloween ballerinas from crowds of ghouls and goblins from school. Any costumed occasion can call for the appropriately feathered and sequined mask. Delicate colors can be matched to most costumes. Chiffon and silks of formal costume balls are the perfect place for feather masks. The court jester may need to tell his best jokes to the feather masks in his court and juggle with his best skill.
Masks made from pale pastel plumage with shiny sequins are standard fare at Mardi gras Carnival and masquerade parties. There s an allure and style to them possessed by no other costume element. Much is made of our desire to pretend and the imagination s ability to do so. Few activities give us the opportunity as readily as does the costume party. Frills and flourishes that have no other place are found in abundance at parades of show costume-clad dancers wearing yards of sequined fishnet and feathered elegance. None of it would have the same mystery without the elegance of the mask. These beautiful adornments have a history of their own that heralds back to court functions in pre-Revolutionary France. There s the hint of a palace in every feathery sequined one of them.
The parade continues from one end of the village to the other with most of the village inhabitants either looking from their windows or standing on the pavements and cheering on the flambeaux carriers. The whole thing reaches it s climax after about 45 minutes when the torches are thrown off the bridge and into the River Earn with the idea that with them all the village demons then float away and arrive at the next village. Across the Atlantic Ocean all the way to New Orleans at the Mardi Gras parade the highlight for many is also the Flambeaux Procession.