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Renaissance clothing

Sunday, 07 September 2008

renaissance clothingThe fashion of Renaissance, inspired by further development of humanity and awareness of individual personality, was conceived in Italy - the cradle of Renaissance. Since middle ages Italy has been one of the most civilized and cultural countries of Europe where the traditions of Ancient Art and the consciousness of its own historical significance have endured. Antiquity was the standard of the art work quality there.

The hope and faith in renovation and revival of that unforgettable time probably veined in Florence, which was not only the center of cultural and public life of the country, but it was also famous for its economic prosperity caused by production of fabrics and fashionable accessories. Therefore, the conditions for appearing of new fashion - the Renaissance fashion were the most favorable there.

The most important feature of new fashion was the fact that it did not bare human body and its parts as Ancient Art did, it did not emphasize them as the naturalistically oriented Gothics in its zenith, but it knew how to understand human body as a plastically whole object. The new fashion rejected everything, that contradicted its harmonious understanding of symmetry and moderation, it also knew how to avoid superfluously extravagant components of the previous fashion. It forewent the unnatural position of belt, which was sometimes too low - on the thighs, and sometimes too high - above the waist; it rejected long sharp-nosed shoes, deep pointed dress cuts, elongated angled sleeves, and all tall hats.

Instead, the Renaissance fashion adopted new canons which corresponded to the ideals of those days. Moreover, it dictated the precise standards of beauty which remain true up to now: tall figure, wide shoulders, thin waist, beautiful mouth, white teeth, red lips, noble motions and well-built figure. The new fashion also paid attention to the hair style and hair color, breast shape and man height. In this case human criteria were the most significant ones and, therefore, it spoke against the unnaturalness of Gothic fashion. For example, prior to Renaissance, during its zenith and later, fair hair was considered to be the utmost feature of beauty, as it was understood in Italy.

This requirement was met by different means. At that time Italian women knew several methods of changing the hair color. Hair was colored or covered by something resembling modern wigs made of laid-on vividly yellow hair. The unnaturally high forehead, not framed by hair, was the main requirement of new fashion. Smoothness of the forehead lines should not have been disrupted even by eyebrows, which were pulled out not only by women, but by men as well. It was prescribed by fashion, and it was reported by Balthazar Castillione in his records dated 1516.

Every woman was a master of make-up. Ekaterina Sforts's manual shows us all the methods used for a perfect make-up. The threads of pearls and corals were intertwined with hair, and hair dresses were decorated with special meshes and covers. All fashion requirements were carried out very strictly, and each Italian Renaissance portrait is a witness to that. Like everything else, the Renaissance fashion was scientifically detailed. Renaissance gave birth to literature about clothing, first manuals how to dress up and apply make-up, and to be up-to-date with fashion. These requirements are laid out in Italian literature with rare sincerity.

Women of that epoch wore two kinds of dresses: a lower dress with long sleeves and above it an upper dress, a kind of a gown with wide sleeves, called gamurra. Florence, which precisely became rich producing and exporting woolen cloth, preferred silk, brocade, velvet and so forth for itself. Rigid and difficult for sewing fabrics, for example, brocade with large patterns, most frequently with pomagranate apple motives, demanded new cut and new drapery of folds. The woman's dress of the XV century is folded in a special way, creating wide, symmetrical folds, which resemble the calm rhythm of Renaissance architecture. The dress, which in Gothics period covered tightly figure and streamed from delicate, lowered arms, considerably more stresses flesh and body-building in Renaissance fashion. During this period woman's clothes became strictly divided by pattern into a long skirt and a bodice, often laced, with a little oval cut. The correlation of bodice and skirt expressed the ideal balance of body parts in Italian fashion, i.e. the same tendencies, that we see in Italian architecture,'made to fit a man'. According to Renaissance fashion theorists, mainly women, fashionable clothes had to be rich in the first place. And the wealth was revealed not only in expensive fabrics and their patterns, but also in the shape of the sleeves. An elegant narrow sleeve of the Renaissance dress of the second half of the XV century was cut first on elbows, and later in the armholes, thus, white underwear could be seen. At this time the combination of two colors and two fabrics marked the beginning of dress deformation, which was a special feature of mannerism. The underwear became the most luxurious part of clothing due to the fact that white material has always been the most expensive.

The Renaissance fashion for men was ruled by two lines. Just as in the antique times, in the Renaissance period, young people and dandies wore rather catchy short suits, based on the antique tunic, which was supplemented with sleeves and different eccentric accessories. Such garments usually reached knees, but sometimes they were considerably shorter and revealed tight eccentric pants made of the fabric of different color. And since brocade, velvet and damask cloths were in fashion, tailors sew rigid material in symmetrical rounded folds instead of the usual ones not to lose the pattern of the fabric. Another line included man's raincoat with sleeves and wide collar, richly folded and descending to the ground. Although such raincoats had their purpose, however they acquired the symbolic meaning: because of its "worthy" nature such outfit became the emblem of scientific, elderly people and intellectuals. No wonder that this classical Renaissance garment was preserved to the present, and the entire world uses it as official university clothing for different ceremonies. A small but very important group of people - secular intellectuals - appeared in Italy in the New Learning epoch, it never existed up to the Gothics. And "the scientist's raincoat", used by all groups of population, is a reflection of this phenomenon in fashion.

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Tanya and Lottie ABA school  - thx   |2008-12-03 10:58:13
Thank you for the information it has really helped us on our project
Brittany Duffield  - Thank you very much you help me on my Renaissance   |2009-04-01 09:16:27
your web site that i found was really helpful to me and it really help me a lot so thank you and i will use it more often instead of searching for hours looking for the things that i needed

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