Fashion as opposed to historical costume was born out of the Renaissance movement.C14/ C16
Before this time clothes had been very simple loose robes created very often from homespun cloth easily constructed out of a simple square or two of material, woven to the correct size.
With the Renaissance came the Cultural Revolution and some of the changes were shown in fashion, translating the new taste for beauty into luxurious clothing and with it changes in how clothes were manufactured.
With the interest in fashion also came the need to show the human shape, the loose robe was shortened for men, tightened and eventually cut, pieced, and sewn together in attempts to bring prominence to the male or female form. With this new development in tailoring fashion became an important part of everyday life of the aristocracy nobility and upper classes.
This innovative cutting is shown in this painting by Jan van Eyck circa 1390 -1533.
Portrait of Arnolfini and his wife
This shows the couple dressed in the finery expected of a wealthy burger and his wife. His surcoat is of velvet lined with fur ; this garment was first worn over amour during the crusades.
His fashionably shaped hat is probably made of fur. Beside him on the floor is a pair of patterns; wooden over shoes , which would have been slipped over his fine leather shoes to keep them clear of the mud. The patterns and his dress give the impression that he has just arrived home. His wife is dressed for indoors, the main feature of her interior look is her headdress, usually the hair and brow are covered as seen in this portrait.
Portrait of a young woman Rogier van der Weyden c1435
In the Arnolfini portrait the wife wears a headdress comprising of a linen veil over 'truffeaux' pads of false hair held in place with a guilded hairnet; part of her hair is exposed. Her green over mantle is trimmed with fur. She wears the high pleated style of the period with a full skirt and long train.In this particular style of dress the woman's stomach provided the central focus of her costume.She gathers up her gown in front of her to accentuate this area.
From les Tres Riches Heures du Duc de Barry c 1413
The man wears a dagged Houppelande. This long graceful gown was usually worn belted; it was popular for both sexes and used in it's manufacture a large amount of fabric. The women's dress is very similar to the wife's in the Arnolfini portrait above.
Part 3 of Corsets, Crinolines and Codpieces will feature headresses and shoes of the Renaissance period.
Is it comfortable to be in fashion?