Where did the embroidery go? (was:Re: HNW - 15th/16th c. embroidery

Frank Thallas hardcorps at vcn.com
Thu Mar 22 00:22:35 PST 2001

  As good a guess as any, especially when we reach The Age Of Houpelandes
and Burgundian Gowns - all that gorgeous damasked, brocaded, etc, fabric
really didn't NEED more embellishment.  Looking a little farther back,
though - to cotehardies, and the gown/cyclas combinations before them -
there are plainer fabrics (though some parti-color and brocades show up
among the cotes) and still no embroidery.  A fashion trend no doubt -
started by what?  A religious revival rooted in some natural disaster?  A
shortage of something?  A lack of interest? <G>  One thing is for sure,
though - if one embroiders these garments, they just don't look
right.....which brings us back to "fashion".  Sigh.  SOmebody hurry up with
that time machine!


> Short form?  Fashion.  Not much of an answer, I  guess, but I really think
> tend to underestimate the plain straightforward impact of what people
> looked good.  Most of the people I know who do historical recreation tend
> talk in terms of "practicality" and "function" when they discuss how to
> recreate a garment, rather than period aesthetics, ideal figure types and
> *fashion.*  I've been very frustrated recently with a conversation over on
> the Norsefolk list, in which the idea that Norse people might have had an
> ideal figure type or standard of feminine beauty has apparently been
> completely forgotten, and the greater Scandinavian world has suddenly
> a centre of proto-feminism and "acceptance of different figure types."
> Getting back to the high middle ages, at least some of the lack of
> on garments might be explained by the increased availability of damask,
> lampas-woven, and brocaded silks in Europe.  In terms of time and skill
> needed for production, and expense to own, these were going to be at least
> costly as embroidered garments, and, truthfully, probably more so.  For
> serious showpiece going-to-court clothes, those patterned fabrics were
> to be the materials of choice.  Obviously they don't require embroidery to
> dress them up -- you want to show off that spiffy woven patterning.  For
> everyday clothes, embroidery is clearly not going to be a practical
> Soooooooooo .... that's my crackpot theory this week anyway.
> Stephanie/Alianora
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