The Peacock dress is reputed to have been made of silk chiffon, but in fact, examination of the original dress quickly reveals that the embroidery was created on champagne coloured silk taffeta, backed with a layer of densely woven cotton muslin – presumably to add extra strength and stop the silk from stretching.
The embroidery itself is composed of gold and silver plated threads and wires, with a section of a beetle elytra (wing cover) forming each peacock feather eye.
The dress is often described as being made of “cloth of gold”, a term that has two meanings. It can mean a fabric literally woven using gold and silver threads, but in this case the second meaning is accurate: a fabric heavily embellished in goldwork embroidery.
The hem is accented with almost a hundred white silk roses. The original roses were replaced in the 1950s, according to records at the Museum of London.