The Realm of Venus
Costumer and SCA Member
A Venetian Gown in the Style of the 1520s
Some days, even a courtesan has unfashionable duties to which she must attend. And, at times, these duties cannot be attended to in fabulous, luscious fabrics, dazzling jewels and mile high chopines.
I wanted a dress that was 'simpler' than the more extravagant later 1500 gowns, since I do have children and they would probably be with me at some of the events I attend. Also, I wanted something I could, if necessary, get in and out of by myself, camp in, wear more than once before cleaning, could take some abuse... the list was endless. And, after scouring Bella's site, I saw her gown of much the same style. So, I filched the idea!
When designing this dress, there were some very real issues to consider. Unfortunately, as much as I would love (and often covet) the more flamboyant and elaborate gowns of the later 1500s, there's a certain reality I have to face. Form has to follow function in my life, as I've given birth to Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn (or, their Renaissance equivalents), and I know that as soon as I create one of those beautiful creations, it will wind up a pile of stained rags. There's also the consideration that I live in South Georgia, which 6 months out of the year is like living in a pot of boiling water. Comfort under layers and layers of garb is also a very real consideration. While I may LOOK fabulous while passing out from heat exhaustion, all my work would be ruined when the EMTs take their scissors and cut right up the bodice of the gown and corset.
have to be a bit more practical at the moment when creating historical garb.
Thus, I used practical fabrics, sturdy construction, not to mention a bit of
internal ingenuity when piecing things together.
At some point, I'll add the angel outer sleeve and tight middle sleeve, but I ran out of time and I can't find exactly the right fabric for the lining.
in all, I'm happy with the dress. It turned out well, and as it was a learning
experience, I'm just thankful I didn't once have to rip out a seam. Of course,
there are things I'll do differently next time, and I'll probably continue to
tweak this one.
Antonia De Vale (Jennifer McDaniel) is in the Kingdom of Atlantia (barely), and in the 'real' world is an elementary music and art teacher. What she REALLY is, though, is a dabbler, and can't turn away from a challenge, which includes (but is not limited to) recreating historical garb.
Ok, I know I'm biased, but I just love this style of dress! And I love the colour. And the trim. And the accessories. Ok, so what don't I love about this gown? Umm...nothing! Well done Jennifer, it's a dress any Venetian would be proud of.
Would you like to be Showcased? E-mail me!