*Side effects of reading this post may include increased risk of seeing flamingo everywhere.
We began noticing flamingos everywhere; in everything from magazines, home decor and fashion. We ourselves used flamingos in our summer postcard 2019 – seen as this article’s featured image and in an edition of Hochparterre – and in a rendering image used in the newspaper. But why have this pink, long-legged bird become an unavoidable figure? We have done a bit of online research, in order to try to understand this trend. Here is what we found.
The name flamingo means “red-winged”
In ancient times the flamingo was related to concepts such as rarity and luxury and associated with something exotic due to its origin from warmer climes. Thus, often portrayed in romanticized pictures and paradise-like settings, almost like a mythical creature. The ancient portrayal of the bird is found all over the world e.g. as hieroglyphs in Egypt, in mosaics in Libya and the synagogue of Gaza Maiumas (Israel).
The flamingo is the national bird of The Bahamas
In modern times the flamingo (starting around 1960) was displayed in gardens all over the US as a pink plastic garden ornament, which leads the flamingo to become directly associated with ‘bad taste’. However, the pink bird managed a great comeback around 2015 where it got embraced by big fashion houses such as Marc Jacobs, Gucci, and Bottega Veneta. Since then the flamingo regained its status as a symbol as something rare, exotic and luxurious.
The first European-born flamingo was hatched in Zoo Basel (CH) in 1958.
It is fair to say that the flamingo is an eye-catching and funny-looking animal. Maybe for that reason, it has become a symbol for people, fashion houses and more that wants to stand out and be seen – just like the flamingo itself, which because of its vibrant color always naturally will stand out from its surroundings.
Hundreds of flamingos have since been hatched in Zoo Basel and distributed to Zoos all around the world. Meaning that if you see a flamingo in captive there is a fair chance it is Swiss.