Monthly Archives: July 2011

“The man wears a huque in velvet lined with fur, over a black pour-point with the cuffs embroidered in gold, and a hat of shaved felt, in the shape of an inverted truncated cone. Besides him are his wooden pattens with wide straps and two heels. His wife wears a cloth gown trimmed with fur; her wide, open sleeves are decorated with shell-shaped cut work. the fine linen huve restes on two truffeauxheld inside a gilded hairnet. The high belt accentuates the prominent abdomen, which it was then in fashionable to stress.” (20,000 Years Of Fashion pg. 191)


Spring 2001                                                                                              LONDON, September 27, 2000

Piero della Francesca (1415– 1492)

Hans Memling (1430 – 1494)

Antonio del Pollaiuolo (1429/1433 – 1498)

Hans Asper (1499 – 1571)

Léonard da Vinci (1452 – 1519)

Jan Van Eyck (1395 – 1441)

Hans Holbein (1497— 1543)

Rogier van der Weyden (1399/1400 – 1464)

Giovanni Bellini (1430 –1516)

Albrecht Dürer (1471 – 1528)


Pisanello (1395 – 1455)

Giuliano Bugiardini (1475 – 1577)

Alesso Baldovinetti (1425 – 1499)

Agnolo Bronzino (1503 – 1572)

Francois Boucher writes “While the development of fashion is a capital change, and of far greater significance than a mere passing change of style, it is nevertheless possible to regard the appearance of the short tunic as the first manifestation of fashion. And indeed, from the fourteenth century onwards we find the appearance in costume of new elements that owe less to function than to caprice. Although costume was still influenced, often gradually, by political, economic and even ethnic factors, its variations became less general, and more directly dictated by the occasion. Styles came to correspond to smaller, more specifically “national” zones, and to employ more regional products. New influences were more frequent, less lasting, their efforts more spectacular.

The great innovation in the development of costume in Europe after the mid-fourteenth century is the abandonment of the long flowing costume common to both sexes; costume then became short for men and long for women, fitted and generally partly or wholly slit, and buttoned or laced. This development led to the disappearance of everyday wear, except for a few special social categories, of the ancient forms inherited over several thousand years; it also represented a first step towards modern costume.

Around 1340-1350, this change was general in the West: it is mentioned in Italy, in England and in Germany as well as in France, though its original starting point cannot be established with certainty. Some attribute it to Spain (particularly to Catalonia), others to Italy, who herself attributed it to France. This geographical area of expansion corresponded to that of long costume, which had previously been worn within the region influenced by French-inspired international art of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.”




January: The Duke’s household exchanges New Year gifts – the Duke at right in a blue robe. February: A typical winter’s day. Some peasants warm themselves by the fire, another peasant chops wood, and still another goes to market. March: Sowing the field. In the background is the Château de Lusignan, a residence of Jean de Berry. April: A young couple exchanging rings. In the background is the Château de Dourdan. May: Young nobles riding in a procession. In the background is the Hôtel de Neslé, the Duke’s Paris residence in Paris. June: Harvest. In the background is the Palais de la Cité with the Sainte Chapelle clearly identifiable on the right. July: The shearing of the sheep. In the background is the Palace of Poitiers near Poitiers. August: Falconry, with the Duc’s Château d’Étampes in the background. September: The harvest of the grapes. In the background is the Château de Saumur. October: Tilling the field. In the background is the Louvre. November: The autumn harvest of acorns, on which pigs are feeding. December: A wild boar hunt. In the background is the Château de Vincennes. (Calendar info: wikipedia)


Vogue US May 2006                                                                                                    No Rules Britannia

Lily Donaldson,             Lily Cole,             Stella Tennant,            Jacquetta Wheeler,            Karen Elson

Photographed by                                                                                                                  Mario Testino

Francois Boucher writes “If one admits that clothing has to do with covering one’s body, and costume with the choice of a particular form of garment for a particular use, it is then possible to deduce that clothing depends primarily on such physical conditions as climate and health, and on textile manufacture, whereas costume reflects social factors such as religious beliefs, magic, aesthetics, personal status, the wish to be distinguished from or emulate one’s fellows, and so on? Must we also envisage a process of emergence, which might place clothing before costume or costume before clothing?

This last point has given rise to diametrically opposed opinions. The Greeks and the Chinese believed that Man first covered his body for some physical reason, particularly to protect himself from the elements, while the Bible, ethnologists and psychologists have evoked psychological reasons: modesty in the case of the ancients, and the ideas of taboo, magical influence and the desire to please for the moderns.

Costume, at any rate, must have fulfilled a function beyond that of simple utility, in particular through some magical significance, investing primitive man with the attributes, such as strength, of other creatures, or protecting his genitals from evil influences. Ornaments identified the wearer with animals, gods, heroes or other men. This identification, actual for primitive people, remains symbolic in more sophisticated societies; we should bear in mind that the theatre, which is a basic expression of this feeling, has its distant origins in sacred performances, and in all periods children at play have worn disguises, so as to adopt gradually to adult life.

Costume also helps inspire fear or impose authority: for a chieftain, costume embodies attributes expressing his power, while a warrior’s costume must enhance his physical superiority and suggest that he is superhuman. In later times, professional or administrative costume has been devised to distinguish the wearer and to express personal or delegated authority; this purpose is seen as clearly in the barrister’s robes as in the policeman’s uniform.

Costume denotes power, and as power is more often than not equated with wealth, costume came to be an expression of social caste and material property. On this level costume becomes subject to politics.”

The images below will provide illustrations to prehistoric costumes, costumes in the ancient east, hair and headdresses, coastal and mountain countries, costumes in Irano-Indian regions, Cretan costume, Mediterranean countries, Egyptian costumes, classical costumes in Central Mediterranean, Greece, Etruria, Rome, Sardina, Iberian Peninsula, Europe BC.