5. Winter Dress of Venetian Noblewomen and Other Wealthy Women in Our Time
The dress represented here shows the great extent to which Venetian women wear ornaments of precious gold, rich in pearls and other jewels, and how much effort and care they put into ornaments for their head, which is shaped into certain curls that form a half moon, with its points or
“horns” (for they have also invented this name for it) turned upward. They adorn their necks in the most splendid way, and at their ears they wear little hoops tied with ribbons, and some wear pearls or other gems of great value. Every precious thing hangs down from their necks to their breast, complementing and embellishing the bodice, including a necklace of extremely valuable, large pearls. Their heavy gold belts are set everywhere with jewels, and on their wrists they wear precious bracelets. Over their
camicia [thin smock] they wear a carpetta [long gown or skirt] most often of
broccatello [a fabric combining linen and silk, sometimes mistaken for brocade because its patterns , created on the warp, look raised] and in the winter it is lined with precious furs. At that time of the year they also wear a muff lined with fur, which protects their hands against the cold. These furs are marten or sable, and the muff is of black velvet or some other silk fabric, and fastened shut with buttons of oriental crystal or gold. The undergarment is of brocade or similar fabric. On top of the
camicia, which is very thin, they wear a lined sottanella [an unbelted gown] and above this a gown of black velvet or other silk fabric with designs woven into it, with an arm-long train, which, because of its great weight, must be arranged and carried by a woman servant. They wear needle-worked stockings and high
pianelle [platform shoes with soles of cork or wood]. Their veils are of unpleated black silk, attached to their heads, breasts and shoulders, and by one end to their belt, from which it falls to the ground. Retaining its luxurious fullness, it makes the wearer look very lovely. Some, in fact, wear it in a style that covers their hair, and it falls from there onto their breast; but this is a style for mature women.
Rosalind Jones and Margaret F Rosenthal.