Along with dry humor, children’s literature, offshore wind production, and swearing, the United Kingdom does headwear better than any other country (or constitutional monarchy, for that matter) in the world. America has Von Dutch trucker hats, backwards baseball caps, and the dreaded fedora; Brits have bespoke fascinators designed by accomplished young milliners in the heart of London. Cara Delevingne, herself a shining star of England, joined the likes of Stephen Jones and Phillip Treacy yesterday when she introduced a disruptive new concept in the category of Stuff to Put on Your Head: live bird as hair accessory.
Delevingne’s look is not a homage to the “put a bird on it” catchphrase made famous by Portlandia (which was funny at first, but now feels almost as tired and banal as a “that’s what she said” joke) but rather a showcase for the bird itself. It becomes evident to the casual observer that Melopsittacus undulates, or budgerigar, informally shortened to “budgie,” makes for both a wonderful household pet and a charming, avant-garde way to add excitement and intrigue to a pixie ‘do. A certain je ne sais quoi, you might say.
While the actress-model is the most high-profile individual to wear the accoutrement as of late, other prominent celebrities have been spotted in similar looks in the past: Tippi Hedren didn’t exactly choose to make live crows her signature style in The Birds, but she certainly looked chic while doing it. Fellow Brit Anna Friel is fond of embellishing her formal attire with avian headpieces, as she did at both the 2016 Animal Ball and a day at the races at Royal Ascot, though she opted to sport hers in a post-mortem state, which we cannot endorse.
Whichever way you wish to wear your bird, do so with confidence — and empathy, too. Consider the rest of your ensemble when selecting your accessory, and be sure to keep it well-fed and well-loved, with access to plenty of fresh water. If you’re ready to get in on the trend, then the list of least concern avian species in the most recent version of the International Union for Conservation of Nature would be a wonderful place to start. Keep in mind, however, that every great adventurous fashion move always does come with its own set of risks.