31 March 2010

Housebook dress: Inspiration

I was fortunate to be able to attend an event earlier in March where some VIPs (dear friends of mine) had a cultural theme of late 15th c. German. Now, about half of my wardrobe is passably late 15th c. Dutch/Flemish, and that's close enough, right? Well it could have been, but I decided I wanted at least one dress that really screamed German, and to me that meant a Housebook or Durer style dress. Those terms are a bit nebulous, covering a fair range of styles, but more specifically, I took my inspiration from these images at Myra's page for the Master of the Housebook. (I've linked directly to an internal frame there, the main site is here.)

The look I was shooting for is shown well in the first painting (Pair of Lovers), as well as several prints in the third section (Lady with owl and AN in her escutcheon, Lady with radishes in her escutcheon, Pair of Lovers, and the lady on the right in Young man and two girls). All of these are circa 1475-1485, and have several distinctive features. The dresses are fitted from shoulder to waist, have a wide-set neckline between V- and scoop-shape, and have vertical padded pleats or rolls at the centerline beneath the bust. The bottom of the gown is loose and fairly voluminous, as are the sleeves, which seem to have a slight flare or bell shape. The headdress features looped braids at the side of the face with most of the head covered by a veil arrangement, most of which have multiple pleats at the front edge. Some are clearly more extravagant in detail and embellishment that others, but I think this is a good sample to have a feel for the style.

The dress is finished at this point, and I didn't photograph enough of the process to really make a good dress diary, but there should be two more posts on this soon, covering the overall design and construction, and the finished product.

1 comment:

cathyr19355 said...

I'll be looking forward to your follow-up posts. I think the Housebook dresses are very attractive, and if I weren't so fascinated by the Viking Age, I'd probably make one myself. (Perhaps I will try to, someday!)