Sunday, 2 December 2012

Corsets, Crinolines and Codpieces.Part 3.Extremes of Fashion

Hennins and Footwear

The array of different hat shapes in this picture shows the extraordinary variety of head wear of the renaissance period.
File:Les Tres Riches Heures du duc de Berry avril detail.jpg
from Les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Berry

The renaissance was well known for its extremes of fashion, perhaps the oddest woman’s headdress was known as the hennin,worn mainly in Northern Europe.

 The hennin was a cone of stiffened material sometimes metal, covered with sumptuous cloth. It was worn balanced on the head with a light veil hanging from the  point often woven in gold, this veil also sometimes framed the face.

Isabella of Bavaria wore a hennin 30 cms in length,covered with gold brocade and studied with precious stones, the veil covered her shoulders and back. In France the doorways in the Castle of Blois had to be enlarged to allow the court ladies to pass through without stooping.

                                       Different shapes of hennin

Workshop of Rogier van der Weyden, Portrait of a young woman of the Burgundian gentry wearing a "beehive" or perhaps truncated cone hennin, 1460s. Part of the veil comes forward to cover the eyebrows.

Truncated hennin, Burgundy, ca. 1480

Isabella of Portugal, Duchess of Burgundy in a divided hennin. Copy of original of 1445–50.

Christine de Pisan presents her book to Queen Isabeau of France. She and her ladies wear jewelled heart-shaped stuffed or hollow "bourrelets" on top of hair dressed in horns. Christine wears a divided hennin covered in white cloth.

Maria Portinari of Bruges wearing a high but still truncated hennin with a veil hanging from the top and black lappets or (possibly) underhood, 1476–78.

.....and some mens hats

Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, wears an elaborately draped chaperon with a black-on-black figured silk short overgown with width at the shoulder, 1447–48
A chaperon worn in elaborate twists, 1433
...And some shoes or Poulaines
 Sometimes the point of the shoe ( the "poulaine") would need support from a whalebone or a string tied to the leg just below the knee to stop the point getting in the way when walking.The points were stuffed with mo ss or hemp.

Outdoors patterns or sandal-like clogs were usually worn underneath to keep the shoes from mud and wet.
Laws attempted to define by class how long shoes could be - the nobility were to be allowed two foot-lengths, merchants one, and peasants one half. Like other attempts to control fashion by legislation, these seem to have failed.
At the Battle of Nicopolis in 1396, French Crusaders were forced to cut off the tips of their poulaines in order to be able to run away.

Mediaeval Poulaines recovered from the Thames
Poulaines worn in Burgundy ca. 1470

Worn with spurs from the Columbia Triptych
Part this space!

Part 2 of Corsets, Crinolines and Codpieces
Fashion is Born