Monday, April 25, 2011

The Challenge

As I mentioned in my last post, I entered The Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge at The Realm of Venus.  I've been a huge admirer of Bella's site and so appreciative of her work in compiling so many resources into one spot for so long!  I'm sort of have an obsession with Venetian costume that borders on unhealthy (because the construction is so mysterious!) so I just couldn't help but enter.  I really like how she's set up the points system for scoring and I love having the extra motivation to do really good work.

I was on the fence for awhile, especially because I will want to make my 1580s English gown, but then I found the fabric!  It HAD to be a Venetian gown1 It's actually a synthetic flocked taffeta, but it's really high quality and looks rather similar to this fabric, which is extant and has silk pile on a plain silk ground.  I wanted to make a gown from the 1570s, because of the structural challenges, so I also found a few portraits from that decade showing large, scrolling patterns and similar colors

The main inspiration for my dress will be the lady on the right in this painting.  It is a detail from "Allegory of the Planet Venus" by Micheli Parrasio, 1575.  I love her standing ruff and the matching shoulder ruffs.  So silly and yet so elegant!  I also have some theories about how the dress actually opens and how to fake the "chemise" that shows under the ladder lacing.

I soon as I get my commissions wrapped up I'll be able to start working in earnest!  It might be tight, time-wise, because of my summer job and the huge move I have to make right before the deadline, but I think I can do it!