Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Maeve's Unmentionables

Maeve thinks she can offer us the perfect Renaissance dress.  That her clothes have 'that flair that just seems to be missing from other garb.'  She invites us to find the dress of our dreams... but the dress of my dreams involves colours other than red, blue, black and purple.  There's a very limited colour palette, and nothing is period.

To many of us, the Jocelyn and Brigid ensembles may look inoffensive.  There's nothing ugly, let alone fugly, about them.  But let's get something straight.  Nowhere in existing art, literature or clothing from the middle ages or the Renaissance is there any proof of the existence of the 'wench wear' we're all so familiar with.  It's been so perpetuated throughout Ren Faires and the SCA that most people never question its historical sources.  By all means, wear it at casual events and LARPS... but be aware that it's not strictly period.

I've never seen strapless underbust waist cincers in period either, unless we're talking about the Victorian period.  Nor have I seen short sleeves.  Maeve claims this can pass as either Renaissance or Civil War!  But no one would have worn their corset outside their clothes in either era.  Looks more to me like modern Goth.  And I've never seen contrasting skirt panels either.

There is nothing historic about this.  I don't know what it is.  Sci-Fi fantasy, maybe.

Oh, and Delilah, darling?  Go put on some clothes.  This is neither an historic belly dance costume (Arabs didn't bare their bellies back then) nor a 'darling' dress for the Faire.  Especially not with one of my peeves, a gathered square skirt.  Seriously, who introduced this into the vocabulary of ren costumiers?  I see it constantly, usually as an overskirt for wenchwear.  It's a goth thing, and it looks great in layers of chiffon, but romantic gothic fashion is not period.  It's like the early Gothic Revival; gleefully mixing styles and inventing new ones with minimal research.

And yet, Maeve's work owes more to Goth than Renaissance.  For 'authentic' garb, go somewhere else.


  1. The Civil War reenactors would eat this woman for lunch. The groups I've encountered have all been quite strict, and her dress will never pass for THIS: http://www.ushist.com/uniforms_civil-war_us.htm

    Besides, her stuff looks cheap. Cheap cloth, less material, little or no trimmings/beading/embroidery. I'll bet most of those take 1-2 hours and about 5-15 quid to make.

  2. My god, look at the "Heian" costume in the Eastern section, which is trying to be a Shinto priestess but failing. Not only are her hakama severely oversized, the knot off center but she is wearing the kosode facing the WRONG WAY, and the sleeves are too long for her arms. Being a miko uniform, it also has absolutely nothing to do with the Heian period.


  3. At least the entari doesn't have the dreaded *gwahzee* underbust neckline. Points for not making us endure another of those.

  4. Looks like she has renamed her store Aurelias Regalia. Possibly because the first Google hit for her old store name is a story of how she nearly ruined some poor woman's wedding by not getting her bridal gown out on time (this page is the third).