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Presented by Abhijit Banik Textile Design

The era 15th century had a lot of different fashionable garments and accessories in it, a number of which were quite extreme in style. The competition in dress took a new twist in this period. Northern Europe to a lesser degree went through a similar change at this time. Many villages and small towns grew into cities in this period, buoyed up by the wealth that the tradesmen who lived in them generated. Cities did not fit into the feudal social structure of the time, and so had to develop social structures of their own. Not surprisingly they too adopted fashion as a marker of wealth and status, and the fashions of the cities came to be the fashions of the courts and aristocracy.

Mens Clothing Coats for Soldier Womens Clothing Accessories

There are several types of braies depicted in 15th century art but the two most commonly depicted are like our modern bikini briefs or are like boxer briefs with short legs. All depictions indicate that braies were white and most likely linen; this would make them easy to clean as bleached linen will fade stains in sunlight.

Most of the shirts in the art gallery are from mid thigh to knee length with a few that are longer shown. The seams appear to be at the shoulder and on the sides indicating the shirt body was 2 pieces. The neck openings appear to be simple circles in most cases and some are slit open down the front. It can only be assumed that the edge is rolled and sewn down to prevent fraying. Sleeves for the most part appear to be straight pieces of cloth Most shirts appear to be open on the side seam from the mid hip down, this is likely for ease of movement when walking.

A man's closefitting jacket; worn during the Renaissance. A pair of two similar, related or equal things.

Acorn hats and chaperons appear in the second quarter of the 15th century through to the end of the 15th century. There are no extant examples of these hats so construction of these garments is pure speculation. The acorn hat seems to be popular across a wide range of people from the lower class to the upper class The chaperon seems to be a hat only the wealthy wear.

In the fourth and fifth images in the gallery we can see lower class men wearing acorn hats; chaperons are worn by well dressed men and not by the lower class.

Four panel body construction with armholes slightly larger than a doublet. Two or four panel peplum construction pleated into the waist of the body. Wool exterior and linen lining for the body.

In the late 14th and early 15th century, women started wearing a voluminous over gown, commonly referred to as a houppelande. This was likely worn over a fitted, supportive dress fashionable on its own in the 14th century. This fitted dress continued to be worn on its own long into the 15th century, with slight stylistic changes. The over gown morphed, from being oversized and pleated, with huge open sleeves, to the fitted style of the v-neck gown of the 1460s and 70s. The dress underwent more changes afterwards, with changes in the neckline, and an even snugger fit through the sleeves and bodice. 1 Around 1470, one style still popular was that of a very wide, but still vertical V neckline, a collar several inches wide, and sleeves that were fitted, but not always skin tight, as was popularized in the 1480s. By 1470, there are examples of the new style, but the woman this is made for would not likely be on the cutting edge of fashion.

Dress with waist seam. By the 15th century, many dresses with waist seams appear in the highlydetailed art of the period.

The dress in this image has pleating in the back of the skirt where it meets the bodice, at the waist seam under the belt.

Once one has enough gowns and surcoats in the finest fabrics, and all peers have the same, how do one compete? Conspicuous consumption will only take one so far, one can only wear one set of clothes at a time. This is when Western dress took it's long trip into fashion and fads.

Other fashion extremes included the Hennin, a woman's conical headdress popular in Northern Europe of the 15th Century.
The Chaperon, a turban like headdress worn in Italy and the North. The Houppelande, a graceful unisex gown which used an amazing quantity of fabric both on the body and trailing on the ground, and parti colored dress, a fashion of piecing many different fabrics together into a single garment. the Codpiece a padded section of a man's hose intended to contain the sex organs.

This gown is interesting as a burgundian/houpellande transition. It has the fitted sleeves and deep v-neck of the Burgundian but the fullness approaching a houppelande. In any case, it is fur lined and worn over a black under gown or insert.

The Magdalen wears a purple (velvet) houppelande, lined with green over a red under gown. Her under sleeves are a gold/green patterned fabric. Her headdress is either elaborately wrapped or wrapped over a more fitted cap/wrapping.

The loose rose wool houppelande (the colour in this reproduction tends towards brown), lined with green, has large open sleeves that do not really show the sleeves of the under gown. The linen inner collar follows the lines of the houppelande neckline, though the artist has depicted it as rather askew (twisted to one side).

Man's robe with Chaperon, from the excavation of the Norman settlement of Herjolfsnes, Greenland, 14th-15th Century.

Woman's gown from the Norman settlement of Herjolfsnes, Greenland, 14th-15th Century.

Mary's supporter wears a green houppelande lined with gray fur. (Note the way the neckline is bound by the fur lining.) Her undergown is laced in the centre front.

The Magdalen wears a fur lined green houppelande over a gold underdress. According to Campbell her headdress is "recognizably different from those worn by contemporaries and which resemble the headdresses thought suitable for the Virgin and other women of biblical times.

Fur lined brown houppelande. (Jean Hunnisett uses this image as a basis for one of her patterns.)

Complex parti colored dress of a young Venetian man of the Compagnie De La Calza c.1400

Poulaines were long pointed shoes, worn mainly by men in Northern Europe, these shoes had padded toe points that could extend as far as a full foot length in front of the foot itself, and often present a rather phallic appearance.

14th-15th Century European Jewellery

Netherlandish brooch from 1450; enamel, gold, stones, pearls. Vienna, Kunsthisoriches Museum.

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