The Realm of Venus
A Florentine Gown in the style of 1506
Note from Bella:
Anéa is stepping in at the last minute for the costumer who booked for this
month and whom I have been unable to reach.
A big Thank
You to Anéa for being so incredibly helpful!
Maddalena Doni Portrait by Raphael
I chose to recreate this portrait for several
reasons. Number one is that it's so lovely to have costumes one can
put one oneself - front closing is underrated. Reason number two is
that the Maddalena Doni dress has some wicked colours included,
colours which my modern "sense of harmony" is totally
fascinated with. The copy I have of the portrait (featured in a
Raphael book) shows a tad stronger colours than what 've seen online,
and that is what I wanted to recreate.
I suspect the original was made of a watery silk
fabric, but I choose a flamboyant
orange viscose velvet.
| The sleeves are made
of a symmetrical sky/royal blue cotton brocade, which is also pretty
close to the portrait. But the sleeves are also lined with an
orange/brown silk which makes the sleeves reversible. The brown
colours are also used in the ribbons used to tie the sleeves to the
bodice. (PS - can send you pictures of the orange side, if you' like)
The bodice and skirt is trimmed with blue velvet ribbons. For the
bodice, I used a very broad ribbon, while two different ones was used
at the skirt.
|The top of the skirt is
not too viewable in the portrait, so I was a little in doubt on how to
pleat it. But eventually, I choose box pleats, as seen in the Raphael
portrait "Lady with Unicorn". I got to see that portrait up
close at an exhibition in Oslo, and that was quite an inspiration!
The front of the bodice has eyelets which I more or
less made myself. I had never thought I would find something even
remotely similar to the portrait - and I didn't . Not when looking for
eyelets, anyway. But one day, I stumbled across some copper/golden
buttons which had a perfect pattern. I bought two and went hope to
experiment. After some trying and failing, I had managed to squeeze
them flat without ruining the nice pattern, and then pierce them. So I
bought 14 more of them (two in spare, just in case) and did the same
to them. And it worked! The look nice, and very much like the
portrait. Of course, I had to attach them ON TOP of regular lacing
holes, but they're bloody decorative. :) First time I wore the Raphael
outfit, I realized they were sharp as knifes, though - they kept
cutting the cord I had laced the bodice with. Not too cool. But that
was solved by using a manicure file...
As for now, I use a cotton/linen chemise underneath.
The sleeves are not really wide enough, but it works fine. Will make a
new linen chemise eventually, though.
||The very last picture
shows the hemp boning of the bodice. It is, as most probably knows,
something Jennifer Thompson (Festive Attyre) tried out for one of her
dresses, and I love her Florentine outfit. I tried it for my own gown,
and it worked like a dream. The bodice is a tad heavy, but I think
that is because I used a very thick hemp cord - a thinner one would
have provided a lighter result, methinks....
I'm very happy with the final result. There
are, as always, things I would have done different now. For example a tad more
sloping shoulder straps. Or a skirt with a tad more train. But overall, this
costume makes me so happy each time I see it. It's a "vitamin bomb" in
my costume closet, and I can't wait to wear it again.
Isn't this truly an amazing recreation of a
portrait gown? The attention to detail that Anéa demonstrates really sets this
outfit apart from the rest. Colour, cut and embellishment are all perfect!
You can contact Anéa at operafantomet (at)
hotmail (dot) com. If you would like to read more about
Anea's Raphael gown, click
here. You can find her main website here.
Would you like
to be Showcased? E-mail