Sunday, 7 December 2014

Corsets, Crinolines and Codpieces Part 6 Shape Changing

Shape Changing a dictate of Fashion?

Sage Grouse mating display

Birds change their appearance when looking for a there a parallel to humans and the need to change the shape of their bodies by artificial means. Does fashion dictate an altered body shape?

Shapes seem to change their focus on a regular basis over the centuries with seemingly little thought for the comfort of the wearer.

Padded Front
A portrait of Archduke Charles in a peascod doublet from 1569. Unknown artist
Melon shaped padded trousers
A peas cod belly or Goose belly was a exaggeratedly padded stomach area. This was very popular, mainly in mens dress, in the late 16th and early 17th centuries, and padded trousers 1550-1600.

Adding Height
Venetian courtesan  wearing chopines
 A chopine is a type of women's platform shoe that was popular in the 15th, 16th and 17th centuries, and were popularly worn in Venice by courtesans and were made of wood or cork. Note the padded breeches worn under the skirt. Chopines, besides their practical uses of protecting the foot from irregularly paved and wet or muddy streets, were also a status symbol becoming a  reference to the cultural and social standing of the wearer; the higher the chopine, the higher the status of the wearer. High chopines allowed a woman to tower over others.

 During the 18th century hair was dressed into elaborate
coiffures to give added height to the wearer.

Marie Antoinette by Elizabeth Vigee Le Brun

Hair styles became even more exaggerated with a variety of added decoration all giving extra height to the wearer.

Queen Elizabeth I ('The Ditchley portrait')
by Marcus Gheeraerts the Younger
 The great farthingale so called because of it large circumference, was fashionable in the 1590's and died out during the mid 17th century when it was mainly worn only at court. The skirt was worn at an angle low in the front and higher behind giving the appearance of a longer torso and consequently shorter legs. The sitting problem seems to have been overcome by seating the wearer on a pile of cushions and spreading the vast skirts around themselves.Probably the nobility had special designed seating, perhaps padded stools. 

The stiffened cone shaped elongated bodice was also a feature of this fashion
 Added Length
German mens shoes 1550
and a reoccurring shape in 2014

Fashion does seem to repeat itself over the centuries!

Albino Peacock displaying

Face Framing
Unknown Flemish painter at the beginning of 17th century
 There certainly does seem to be a similarity to the peacock..but why did they wear ruffs, perhaps to emphasize the face? wore them too.

Portrait of Sigismund III (1566 - 1632). Sigismund III was King of Sweden from 1592 until 1599

Most interesting costume..a peascod doublet, a scarcely visable cod piece, a ruff, and amazing fluted trousers with pristine tights...not a wrinkle in sight!

Charles XI of France 16th century

...and then in the 1800's the style for women was very loose and fluid though they still wore corsets to shape the high bust shape

Madam Hamelin by J L David 1800

...and of course there are many more changes of my blog for more in the shape changer series.

comments are always welcome!

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Morocco's beautiful seaside town...Essaouira


..some of my friends , when I mentioned Morocco, seemed surprised that I hadn't been to Essaouira.

Evening view of the Medina

This September we decided to see for ourselves what we were missing!
I booked with Supratours coaches online. A regular service, comfortable and reasonably priced...we just had to get to Marrakech train station.
We decided to spend a few days in Essaouira and again I booked online. I choose a town house in the Medina Dar al Bahar

View of the old town walls from the terrace

The sea from the terrace
A really good choice, quiet, beautifully restored, well situated for the Medina and the Harbour.... and an excellent breakfast.
Eating out was no problem...apart from there being too many places to choose from!
We ate at the Fishermens huts, you choose your fish from a display of the mornings catch...


really fresh fish

...and then have it was served with bread and a Moroccan salad
grilled sardines and prawns.....sorry cats nothing left!
......but the cats seem to be very well fed anyway!

The harbour is well worth a visit......

....some of the fishing fleet

..a few glimpses of the medina

......and were able to visit the boat building yard too!


By chance we were in Essaouira in the only month when the winds from the sea are light, instead we had to contend with some sea fog...just like Ireland!
Here are a couple of other places we ate..Safran where we had goats cheese salad with argan oil...delicious and a lovely little Italian restaurant Dar Baba..both in the Medina.
This is only a glimpse to whet your appetite...we look forward to our next visit...soon I much left to explore!

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Corsets, Crinolines and Codpieces Part 5

Crowning Glories

Women's Hairstyles from 1400

In the late 1400 women appeared in public with their heads uncovered.
According to the portrait painters of that time, some of the styles were extremely ornate. I can find no documentation to verify that these elaborate coiffures were the norm ; or were made especially for the portrait or perhaps the artists own invention.

Sandro Botticelli: Portrait of a young woman 1480- 1485

Bartolomeo Montgagna: Saint Justina of Padua 1490's

Domenico Ghirlandaio:Portrait of Giovaina Tornbuoni 1488

A much simpler style, perhaps depicting the youth of Raphael's model

Raphael: Portrait of a Young Woman 1506

And this wonderful loose and natural style 
Leonardo da Vinci: Mona Lisa 1503

Watch for more on this topic

Also more of this series; Corsets, Crinolines and Codpieces, Parts one, two, three and four