Monday, 4 May 2009
Spookykitten mistakes Hollywood for history. Just have a look at what she describes as a Venetian courtesan gown:
To be honest, I sort of like this dress. It'd make a nice Amy Brown faerie costume.* But it has dick all to do with the Renaissance.
The sleeves are attached to the overgown, which is worn over a strapless chemise "with an elastic gathering the upper part of the bust." I can tolerate chemises with drawstrings, but elastic is going a little too far. Note also that Renaissance women never would have worn a purple chemise, let alone a strapless one. And no one in the entire history of Venice has constructed either sleeves or skirts this way. (Click here for a look at what they really were up to.)
If she were advertising this as a fantasy gown inspired by Dangerous Beauty, I'd have no problem with it. But she doesn't mention the film at all, and comes out with statements like this: "The bodice has a long skirt pulled up and tucked randomly. For the venetian courtesan, she would usually use this to show her legs, by tucking the chemise up into the bodice so her calves could be shown." Um, no. No, she wouldn't. I've never seen any exposed calves, except among late period courtesans who dressed like this.
I'm sure you could get away with it at a Ren Faire. Hell, you can get away with wearing a goose on your head at a Ren Faire. But you won't be adding any historical flavour to the proceedings.
*I've revised my thinking here. See, it doesn't look all that awfully, blazingly PURPLE on a Mac screen. But on the PC at work, which tends to be more vibrant, one glance at this post gave me a POUNDING HEADACHE. Selkie, you may be right about that 'Dayglo Koolaid Costume' comment!