Monday, 4 May 2009

Dangerous Beauty

I've never seen this film.  It might be good for all I know.  But I am decidedly miffed by the costumes...

This seems to be the source of the idea that Venetian courtesans bared their upper arms, using very peculiar sleeves — an idea which has no basis in reality.  In fact, courtesans dressed exactly like noblewomen.  For a look at how these gowns were really constructed, check out the two costumes at the bottom of this page.  

The lack of coverage in this movie would have screamed "desperate!" and "trashy!" back then, and probably would have broken some city ordinance.  Courtesans didn't really show off a lot of skin.  They relied on lesser known qualities like grace, wit and actual allure.  Remember, these weren't cheap street strumpets.  They were more like geisha.

1 comment:

  1. The movie is actually worth seeing (though I admit I fast-forwarded through some of the talking-head scenes). The men's clothes and non-courtesan women's clothes are good. When it got to the courtesans (and the common prostitutes who provided contrast), they went totally over-the-top fantasy. Probably the director's decision, since the costumer clearly had done her homework.