Archive | Jan, 2014

My inspirations for January

31 Jan

In this post I’ll just simply put pictures or photos of my current inspirations for the month. It’s kinda like my diary because later I’ll be able to see what I’ve been crazy about for that month. I’ll post these posts at the end of every month and I’ll ‘collect ‘my inspirations during the month.

There’s plenty of photos here but I hope you’ll enjoy!

1960s london girls

1960s london look

1960s marianne faithful1960s marianne faithfull 4

1960s pattie and george wedding

1960s pattie boyd 24

1960s pattie boyd 2

1960s pretty violet hued

1960s Swinging London fashion - pvc raincoat

1960s summer dresses

1960s twiggy 8

1960s twiggy 13

1960s twiggy 20

1969. pattie boyd and twiggy for vogue

sharon tate wedding dress

1960s catherine and francoise 4

floyd 18.tif

syd 30

iggy the eskimo 3

syd 66

syd 57

Lindsay Korner

james ensor skeletons

james ensor Pierrot and Skeleton

1889. The Starry Night - van gogh

1877. Degas - The Green Dancers

1907. gustav klimt - Adele Bloch-Bauer I,

gustav klimt beechwood forest

Fashion Plate Friday – 1907.

31 Jan

1907.Dinner dress and evening bodices De Gracieuse

What’s better for the weekend than a dash of Edwardian era?

I have a special connection to Edwardian era fashion. Story goes back a couple of years ago when I first entered this magical world of history of fashion. The first fashion era I stumbled on was the Edwardian era. It happened without a particular reason but this era has a special place in my heart from that day on.

I feel like almost every fashion plate and dress from the 1900s has a touch of spring to it. Abundance of lace, pastel colour and roses –  spring, right? Edwardian era fashion can seem a little too much sometimes, but this dress certainly doesn’t fit the pattern of over decorated and exaggeratedly embroidered dresses. This dress is just elegantly ‘too much’, but in an enchanting and captivating way.

This dinner dress dates from 1907. and is a classical example of Edwardian dresses. Pastel green colour, symmetric blue decorations, golden bows and lots of lace – key words for this beautiful dress. The hairstyle is sweet and elegant as the whole ensemble and it features roses and a neat blue ribbon. The sleeves are puffed and decorated with a bow. With the emphasis on the dress itself, accessorize is limited – a simple necklace and white opera gloves are enough to complete the look.

Marie Taglioni, Romantic Ballet and Tutus

27 Jan

1831. Marie Taglioni as Flora in Didelot's Zéphire et Flore. London1831. Marie Taglioni as Flora in Didelot’s ‘Zéphire et Flore’, London

Romantic ballet is an era in ballet in which Romanticist ideas started to influence ballet. The era is considered to have begun with the 1827. debut of Marie Taglioni in ballet La Sylphide performed in Paris. The era reached its zenith with the premiere of the Pas de Quatre staged in London in 1845. Ballet Coppelia performed in 1870. is considered to be the last work of Romantic ballet.

Romantic ballet came as a reaction against neoclassical ballet and 18. century art and literature. Stories about ancient legends and Greek and Roman gods were dull and old-fashion and the public along with artist wanted something fresh and new, something they could relate to. Romantic ballets have four things in common; 1. stories are about real people and real places, 2. usage of national colours and symbols in costumes and setting, 3. fantastic, exotic and spiritual elements, 4. prominent ballet technique such as pointe work.

1845. Carlotta Grisi (left), Marie Taglioni (center), Lucille Grahn (right back), and Fanny Cerrito (right front) in Pas de Quatre, London

1845. Carlotta Grisi (left), Marie Taglioni (center), Lucille Grahn (right back), and Fanny Cerrito (right front) in the Perrot/Pugni Pas de Quatre, London.

Marie Taglioni, praised highly for her lyricism, was perhaps the most influential and the most famous Romantic era ballerina. Born on 23. April 1804. to artistic family (her father was a choreographer and her mother was a dancer). She rose to fame in 1832. when her father created ballet La Sylphide for her.

Important Romantic era ballerinas, besides Marie Taglioni, were Carlotta Grissi (first Giselle), Lucille Grahn, Fanny Cerito and Fanny Elssler. The movement style in this era is characterized by rounded and soft arms and a forward tilt in the upper body and this helped ballerinas to look flowery and willowy. Leg movements also elaborated due to new tutu styles. Also, Romantic era was the first era in ballet in which women became central parts in ballet, while previously man dominated the performances.

1830s Marie Taglioni wears the first tutu in 'La Sylphide'

1832. Marie Taglioni wears the first tutu in ‘La Sylphide’

Romantic tutu, along with Degas tutu, is my favourite style of tutu. It looks so flowing, free and charming. Parisian fashion editors praise Marie Taglioni’s costume which made it look like she flew. Romantic tutu is a three-quarter length bell-shaped usually white skirt made of tulle. The hemline is specific for it falls between the knee and the ankle.

For her performance in La Sylphide, Marie Taglioni wore layered cotton gauze with puff sleeves, she had flowers in her bodice and crown made of wild flowers in her hair. To accompany the tutu, she wore a pair of transparent wings. On her feet she wore thin, white satin slippers which were, at the time, considered to be an evening shoes.

1840. The Three Graces, Marie Taglioni as the Sylph in La Sylphide,

1840. The Three Graces: embodiment of the Romantic ballet. The lithograph depicts what is considered to be the three greatest ballerinas of the era in their most celebrated roles:Marie Taglioni as the Sylph in La Sylphide, Fanny Elssler as Florinda in the dance La Cachucha from Jean Corelli’s 1836 ballet Le Diable boiteux and Carlotta Grisi as Béatrix in the Grand pas de Diane chasseresse from the 1842 ballet La Jolie Fille du Gand. 

Ballerinas started wearing pointe shoes which gave them the effect of floating. Romantic tutu looks so innocent, charming and dreamy but in the 19. century it was seen as provocative. When Marie Taglioni first shortened her skirt for ballet La Sylphide, it was seen as scandalous. Her father approved the shortening of the skirt because he also wanted everybody to see how good his daughter was en pointe.

1830s Taglioni, queen of the tutu and Romantic ballet.

Marie Taglioni, Queen of the tutu and Romantic ballet.

1841. ballerina Carlotta Grisi in the tite role of Adam's Giselle, Paris1841. ballerina Carlotta Grisi in the tite role of Adam’s Giselle, Paris.

In case you didn’t know, Tchaikovsky’s ballets The Swan and The Nutcracker are also considered Romantic ballets in style.

Fashion plate Friday – 1880.

24 Jan

I came up with an idea! Every Friday I’ll write a post about my favourite fashion plate of the week or a fashion plate with a historical influence. Sometimes I’ll include a dress that resembles the one on the fashion plate or shoes and matching accessorize. Who knows?


1880. Revue De La Mode, May

This fashion plate instantly reminded me of spring which I’ve been so anxiously expecting. I love spring; scented flower gardens, roses, fresh smell of grass, lazing in a warm sun and watching light blue sky full of magical clouds… Enchanting atmosphere of spring fills my heart with such delight and content. I can’t bare nor winter, nor coldness.

I sure enjoyed looking at this beautiful white evening gown and I muss confess it reminded me of Regency era as well. I’m not keen on 1880s fashion, but princess-line silhouette of the late 1870s and early 80s is really astonishing. The cut of this dress is rather simple and the focus is on delicate white silk printed with little roses. Red roses and white lace are main decorations.

Fluid and clean line of this dress is really captivating, just look at it. There’s no excess detailing, everything is just right. The fabric evokes the spirit of Regency era. It so nice to see historical influence in dresses, I’m always searching for different influences in fashion.

The only accessorize lady is wearing are a pair of golden bracelets on white gloves, necklace with medallion and red roses in her hair. Lady wearing this dress on an evening party must have felt like a princess; the dress is so simple but riddled with elegance and good taste.

James Ensor – The innovator of 19. century art

20 Jan

My tastes have evolved over the years and though I despised modern art merely a year ago, recently I found myself liking Expressionism and Surrealism. One of the things I love about art is that you can always find out something new – there are so many art movements and artists to choose from. James Ensor is a painter who intrigued me and the more of his painting I’ve seen the more I loved his work.

James Ensor, The Intrigue, 1890

               1890. ”The Intrigue”

James Ensor was born in Brussels on 13. April 1860. He left school early, at the age of fifteen, to live his passion – art. He attended Academie Royale des Beaux-Arts in Brussels from 1877. to 1880. His work was first exhibited in 1881. At the end of the 19. century most of his paintings, particularly Christ’s entry into Brussels (1889.), were considered scandalous, preposterous and even insulting. Who knew that a young man painting in his parent’s attic would turn up to be the innovator of the 19. century art. He was instrumental in influencing Expressionist and Surrealists. Seems like the initiator always ends up being misunderstood, and rigid Victorian society certainly wasn’t prepared for James Ensor.

james ensor skeletons

               1896. ”Death Chasing the Flock of Mortals”

Ensor did get acceptance, tough gradually, but he continued to exhibit his paintings and eventually won acclaim too. His early paintings were somber and gloomy but at the end of 1880s he choose bizarre subjects and lighter palette. His paintings are easily recognizable by grotesque masks, skeletons, carnivals and puppetry. Noted for his incredible gift for allegories, he used masks as a theatrical aspect in his still lifes. Bright colours and mask’s plastic forms attracted Ensor and he painted with complete freedom. His paintings show great originality and his views on the world, that is, his disapproval of the society and rigid norms that prevent one from developing entirely as a human being.

james ensor the frightful musitians

               ”The frightful musicians”

Turning point in Ensor’s work happened in four years; between 1888. and 1892. From bizarre themes which included skeletons and masks, he turned to more deeper subjects and religious themes such as the torments of Christ. As a master of allegories he showed his disgust for the inhumanity of the world. Painting Christ’s Entry into Brussels (1889.) shown below, is considered a forerunner of twentieth-century Expressionism.

1888. Christ's Entry into Brussels in 1889.

               1888. “Entry of Christ into Brussels”

The characters on the painting are based on Belgian politicians from Ensor’s times, historical figures and members of his close family. Ensor himself was an atheist but he identified with Christ as a victim o mockery. In final years of the 19. century Ensor started receiving recognition, but he painted less and his style softened. In fact, the last fifty years of his life are seen as years of decline.

james ensor pierrot lunaire

Pierrot lunaire”

His paintings, earlier characterized by aggressive sarcasm and scatology, were now only mild repetitions of his earlier work. Paintings The Artist’s Mother in Death (1915) and The Vile Vivisectors (1925) turned out to be the most significant works of his late period.

james ensor Pierrot and Skeleton

               ”Pierrot and Skeleton”

His work was different from art of the time but he influenced many 20. century artists such as Paul Klee, Emil Nolde, Alfred Kubin, George Grosz, Felix Nussbaum and many other Expressionist and Surrealist of the 20. century. His work is partly considered symbolism, but the originality and choice of subjects made his paintings stood apart from other paintings of the era. He isn’t as famous as other artist of the time, but certainly equally important.

james ensor mascaras singulares

                             ”Mascaras singulares”

I relished looking at his paintings; the great originality and undoubted sense of humor and sarcasm show profound disdain and disappointment in society; feeling many artist had in common. I love his paintings because they are experimental, colourful, wide open and different; Ensor didn’t follow the pattern, he, as it turned out to be, created his own pattern by setting the scene for Expressionism and Surrealism.

1891. James Ensor, Skeletons Fighting Over a Hanged Man

               1891. ”Skeletons Fighting Over a Hanged Man”

1894. James Ensor - Masks looking at a tortoise

               1894. ”Masks looking at a tortoise”

1909. James Ensor - Flowered craniums

Fashion icons: Pattie Boyd

18 Jan

With the help of the Pink Floyd music I entered the 1960s Psychedelic era and  instantly fell in love with the captivating, optimistic and consciousness expanding decade. I love Swinging London as you may have guessed since I’ve written a post about it recently. There are lots of things I love about the 60s and one of them is surely fashion. My favourite fashion icon from the 60s is Pattie Boyd – muse of, both George Harrison and Eric Clapton.

1960s pattie boyd 9

Pattie Boyd’s style can be described as a Mod-turned-hippie. While she was a model for Vogue and many other magazines, she cherished Mod style – characteristic for middle 1960s London. Later on, after the Psychedelic revolution changed the scene and bands such as Pink Floyd with Syd Barrett and The Jimmy Hendrix Experience set psychedelic fashions in the London Underground she started dressing in more hippie style but still very chic.

1960s pattie boyd 8

In early years she wore straight, knee-length skirts and pointed shoes but after her marriage with George Harrison she started wearing more Mod-like fashions. She basically replaced a classic 1960s style for more youth-oriented Mod fashions which included very short A-line dresses, geometric patterns, more colourful fabrics, mini skirts…

In the photo below she wears a knee length floral patterned skirt (hint of hippie style) and a turban (ah, those crazy 60s). I personally love Mod fashion with a psychedelic touch. It’s still elegant and simple, but without too many geometric patterns and bold, black and white combinations.

1960s pattie boyd 3

Mix of Mod and Psychedelic fashion is just perfect to me and this is one of the reasons I’m in love with Pattie’s style. She’s a real cutie, 1960s doll with good taste when it comes to fashion and men (George Harrison). Her fashion style is very inspirational to me but I like her hairstyle as well. As she once said, it is more important for being a model to have a feeling for clothes and a natural gift for wearing them than being beautiful. She certainly had that. She was beautiful and cute but not a least bit conceited or arrogant. Her appearance was just natural all together.

1960s pattie boyd 4

Notice her shoes on the photo above. They really interesting, though typical for 1960s. I’ve also noticed how casual and comfortable her style actually was. She rarely wore jewellery or any accessorize, maybe earrings only, for it wasn’t fashionable in the 1960s Mod fashion. Of course, later when she embraced psychedelic hippie fashion she started wearing large wooden earrings and bracelets, but I’m focusing on her Mod look here.

Various - 1966

1960s pattie boyd 17

I love the 60s A-line mini dresses! They’re so simple, clean and fluid without excess detailing and yet they easily catch everyone’s attention. Pattie looks so stunning in these dresses with her long thin legs and angelic face with big blue eyes. The dress above on the left is also very pretty; it’s a little bit longer than usual but equally beautiful.

The dresses down below are a bit more hippie influenced but I still love them. Short and A-lined with floral patterns and nice trimmings they are truly captivating. I think my personal favourite would be the one in the middle, but the other two leave me speechless as well. The sleeves tended to be quite interesting themselves; just look at the ones below. Another thing I love about 1960s fashion is the neckline – actually, the absence of one.

1960s pattie boyd 251960s pattie boyd 26

1960s pattie boyd 21

Does Pattie Boyd inspires you with her great fashion sense and touch for clothes or is she not particularly your cup of tea ?

Victorian influences in Lolita fashion

16 Jan

I’m not a Lolita, but sometimes I indulge myself and wear cute, pink skirts with plenty of flounces and I often add cute elements to my daily attire. Besides the cuteness, one of my favourite things about Lolita fashion is its Victorian origins. In this post I’ll write about five elements of Victorian fashion in Lolita style.

sweet lolita 3

1. Silhouette

Lolita dresses have a well known ‘cupcake’ shape, but the real shape of these skirts is basically a mini-crinoline. If you look at the late 1850s and 1860s dresses you’ll notice that the shape of the skirts with plenty of flounces and wide hemlines is really similar to skirts Lolitas wear. Of course, Lolita styled dresses are shorter, but they’re still knee-length and that was pretty much the length that little girls wore.

classic lolita 182. Bodice

Shirts and collars worn by Classic Lolitas highly remind me of 1840s and early 1850s day dresses. I’m talking about a simple, white blouse with sleeves tight at the cuff and with neckline decorated with lace or flounces. Sleeves are sometimes decorated with ruffles at the shoulder and buttons can be heart shaped.

lolita old school 5 a

3. Cameos

Cameos are closely connected to shirts and that’s why they’re the next Victorian element. Just look at the two Old school Lolitas above; it’s almost like they’re shouting Victorian. Old school Lolita style is the eldest and it resembles Victorian fashion the most. Both of the Lolitas wear the shirts I’ve been talking about and they’re decorated with cameos. Cameos, worn throughout the whole Victorian era, instantly add antique touch to any attire. Chain watches are fairly similar accessorize and they can be worn instead.

classic lolita 40

4. Gloves

Lace gloves add an antique touch to any attire, but I have noticed that they’re mostly worn by Classic and Old School Lolitas, while Sweet Lolitas wear them rarely. I own a pair of lace gloves and they are the best thing ever. Nice decorations include ‘pearl’ rings or rings in shape of a rose, pearl bracelet with a Victorian miniature portrait or just any cute bracelet.

lolita old school 24lolita old school 13

5. Headwear

Sweet Lolitas usually wear pink or baby blue bows but Classic and Old school Lolitas tend to wear more Victorian based head wear. Headdress is a typical Old school Lolita accessorize and it consists of a wide strip of fabric decorated with lace and bows and is tied under the chin. Headdress resembles Victorian girls head wear. Another popular option among Classic Lolitas is a bonnet in 1830s style decorated with lace, ribbons or roses.

1960s Swinging London Fashion

10 Jan

Lately I’ve been really interested in 1960s fashion, especially Swinging London fashion. In this post I’ll focus on London fashion and I’ll write about Parisian chic ”baby doll look” from the 60s some other time.

1960s swinging london fashion

London was the best place in the world in the 1960s. Youth culture flourished and post-war austerity finally gave place to a decade of optimism and exploration – of everything. Rock music was instrumental in youth culture and teenagers and young people were crazy about The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Kinks and The Who. Psychedelic rock also grew more popular every day with bands such as Pink Floyd and The Jimmy Hendrix Experience setting a psychedelic underground scene in London. Culture was at its peak and Art schools developed what we know as the 60s.

1960s girls

1960s ladies

Fashion icons in the 60s London were Twiggy, Mary Quant, Pattie Boyd, Jane Asher, Jean Shrimpton, members of The Beatles, Pete Townshend of The Who and Brian Jones. First half of the decade was characterized by Mod styles but around 1967. the Mod fashion started to blend heavily with hippie fashions. George Harrison and Pattie Boyd were typical Mod-turned-hippie couple.

1960s fashion 5

Mod fashion became extremely popular among females and Mary Quant encouraged not only this style, but also young people to play with fashion. Post-war generation were the first to have money to buy records, new clothes and makeup. That was ideal because there were dozens of new styles being invented every day, especially in Carnaby Street in London.

1960s pattie boyd 8 1960s pattie boyd 3

Various - 1966

Mary Quant invented mini-skirt and this is where all begins in the 1960s fashion. Dresses were becoming shorter and shorter every day until they were covering the legs only ten centimeters. Pop art brought geometric patterns and two-coloured (mostly black-white) dresses. Mini-dresses were often worn with long tight boots. Stripes, dots and other geometrical patterns were everywhere; they decorated the skirts, dresses, blouses… PVC raincoats and bobbed hair were IT for women. Twiggy was known as ”the queen of Mod” and she was ”the face of 1966”

1960s geometric dresses1960s Swinging London fashion - pvc raincoat

Twiggy wore the shortest dresses ever, but with no neckline. Combined with skin-coloured or white stockings and flats she looked gorgeous with long, skinny legs, bobbed blonde hair and blue eyes with extremely long (false) eyelashes. These kind of dresses were rather simple, high waisted, short-sleeved and in baby doll style. Another look that I find was quite popular was a mini skirt combined with a turtle-neck pullover.

1960s twiggy 13 1960s twiggy 10

1960s summer dresses

Psychedelic scene developed in London half way through the decade. Syd Barrett was, along with Pink Floyd and The Jimmy Hendrix Experience, instrumental in creating the style. Syd was very fashionable and often wore velvet trousers, bandana knotted like a tie around his neck, blouses with psychedelic prints, waistcoats and colourful shirts. Sunglasses in different shapes and colours were also popular.

syd 58

At around 1967. Mod fashion started to alter to a new, laid back hippie style. The following year was known as the summer of love, and many festivals helped to promote hippie style. As I already said, George Harrison and Pattie Boyd were fashion icons, mainly representing Mod fashion, but around this time they embraced the new flower power style. Pattie begun wearing paisley printed trousers, waistcoats, lots of jewellery, mini dresses with floral prints, wooden bracelets, wide sleeved blouses, crazy patterns and sandals.

george harrison and pattie boyd 61960s pattie boyd 21

I love the 1960s as a decade in everything! Swinging London fashion and culture is so interesting and I hope I inspired you in a fashion way and I hope I managed to capture the essence of wonderful, colourful and optimistic 1960s London.

Egyptian influenced jewellery

8 Jan

Egyptian culture was extremely inspirational for 19th century jewellery. Nineteenth century saw Egyptian influence coming in vogue two times – at the beginning of the century (Regency era) and again in the second half of the century. Archeological discoveries were instrumental in introducing new trends, mainly in jewellery. Second half of the 19th century saw revival of many styles; Renaissance, Etruscan, Rococo, Ancient Greek and Egyptian. Egyptian influenced jewellery came back in style in 1920s after the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb.

Characteristics of Egyptian influenced jewellery are vast usage of gold, vibrant coloured jewels, motifs such as tombs, bird ibis, scarab, sphinx, cobra, feathers… These motifs were combined with style at the moment; such as Art Deco in the 1920s and that created something even more fabulous.

1800s Egyptian Revival Sphinx Brooch

1800s Egyptian Revival Sphinx Brooch

1880. A sapphire and enamel scarab brooch, the cabochon-cut sapphire with rose cut diamond details, curved wings with green and white enamel and rubies, Austro-Hungarian

1880. A sapphire and enamel scarab brooch, Austro-Hungarian.


1890. Egyptian revival brooch.

1890s Fabergé, Russian, Scarab Brooch, Egyptian revival

1890s Fabergé, Russian, Scarab Brooch, Egyptian revival.

1890s Magnificent French Belle Epoque Egyptian Revival Brooch

1890s French Belle Epoque Egyptian Revival Brooch.

1900. An Egyptian Revival gem set scarab brooch, circa 1900. Emeralds, sapphires, pearls, rubies and rose-cut diamonds in yellow gold, partially silver-topped

1900. An Egyptian Revival gem set scarab brooch, Emeralds, sapphires, pearls, rubies and rose-cut diamonds in yellow gold, partially silver-topped.

1920s Egyptian Revival Brooch

1920s Egyptian Revival Brooch

1925. A French Egyptian Revival Art Deco beetle brooch

1925. A French Egyptian Revival Art Deco beetle brooch.

Isabeau of Bavaria: First fashion icon

4 Jan

Fashion icons such as Marie Antoinette, Josephine de Beauharnais, Georgiana Cavendish and  Elisabeth Sissi of Austria are all well known, but who started all that? Who was the first to set trends and inspire, not just women at the court, but many other to follow her as an example of good taste and fashion sense? Well, the first modern fashion icon was Isabeau of Bavaria.

Isabeau of Bavaria - 19. century depiction

Isabeau of Bavaria was born in 1370. into famous House of Wittelsbach. She was born in Munich and baptised as Elisabeth. At the age of fifteen, on 17. July 1385. she married Charles VI. of France. He was very much pleased with her, mostly because of her beauty. They had twelve children; six daughters and six sons. Her husband showed his insanity in the early 1390s and Isabeau played an important role in leading the country and preserving the throne to her heirs.

Isabeau wasn’t very popular in her times. There were a lot of people who believed she and Louis of Orleans (her brother in-law) were lovers. An Augustinian friar, Jacques Legrand preeched a long sermon about court’s excesses, specially mentioning Isabeau and her ladies in waiting’s fashions – with exposed necks, shoulders and décolletage.

Isabeau with court attendants shown in a 19th-century print

Isabeau with court attendants shown in a 19th-century print.

Isabeau allegedly spent vast amount of money on court amusements including dance, balls, feasts and most importantly – fashion. She wore jewel-laden dresses, rich brocades, elaborate and extravagant braided hairstyles coiled into tall shells, covered with wide double hennins. She encouraged her ladies-in-waiting to wear the same fashions.

Beautiful brunette spent her days dressed in very expensive dresses with rare jeweles, golden, blue or burgundy coloured brocade dresses richly decorated with floral motives and trimmed with ermine. These dresses had long trains covered in jewels, embroidered with gold and trimmed with ermine fur and were carried by her ladies-in-waiting.

1380s - 1410s

Isabeau shown in brocade court dress with ladies-in-waiting carrying the ermine-lined train, gouache on parchment.

Women’s fashion in the late 14th and early 15th century consisted of long gowns, with long sleeves, worn over a kirtle or an undergown, and linen chemise was worn as the first layer, next to the skin. The long-waisted silhouette popular in 1300s started declining in 1390s and in early 1400s new high-waisted silhouette became fashionable. Dress was often full at the belly and usually confided with belt, as you can see down below.

The most popular fabrics for rich ladies of the period were brocade, wool, silk and velvet. Colour palette was limited, though, burgundy, all sorts of red, green, brown and indigo blue were all the rage. Fine linen was used for hair coverings. Outdoors, women usually wore mantles and cloaks lined with fur and trimmed with ermine.

Harley 4431 f.3

Miniature showing Christine de Pizan giving Queen Isabeau a book as a New Year’s gift in the queen’s closet with her ladies.

In a beautiful miniature portrait above Isabeau is wearing red high-waisted gown with green belt and very, very long and wide sleeves trimmed with ermine (traditional symbol of royalty). Isabeau and her ladies-in-waiting wear jewelled heart-shaped stuffed or hollow “bourrelets” on top of hair dressed in horns. Christine, on the other hand, wears a divided hennin covered in white cloth.

Isabeau’s dress is decorated with small gold floral prints. Under her wide sleeves you can see very right-fitting black sleeves. Two of her ladies-in-waiting have indigo blue dresses with bald golden print, while others have red, brown and green dresses. Christine is shown in ultramarine coloured gown with red under-sleeves.

1420. isabeau of bavaria

Isabeau was an art collector, like many of the Valois. She loved jewels and often commissioned lavish pieces made of gold and different jewels made with special technique called ronde-bosse – a newly developed technique of making enamel-covered gold pieces. She commissioned several fine pieces from Parisian goldsmiths, as Marie Antoinette had also done four hundred years later.

Isabeau died on 24. September 1435. at the age of 64-65. I found this little statue of her based on some portraits, and it shows the Queen in 1390s (I assume this looking at the silhouette of her dress) dressed in rich golden brocade dress trimmed and decorated wit ermine and jeweles. Note how the dress has a nice little floral print to it. She wears earrings, a ring and a rich necklace. Her head covering is also very exquisite; richly decorated with jewels and brown fur with a crown on top of all that. Take a look at her indigo blue shoes.

Isabeau of Bavaria statue