This exhibition explores the evolution of courtly clothing from the
"Fashion Revolution" around 1330
This exhibition is generously underwritten by a gift in memory of Melvin R. Seiden and
by a grant from the Samuel H. Kress Foundation.
Major support is provided by The Coby Foundation, Ltd., with additional assistance from
the van Buren family in memory of Dr. Anne H. van Buren, and from the Janine Luke and
Melvin R. Seiden Fund for Exhibitions and Publications.
Geneviève: The Period's Poster Girl 1468
Geneviève, receiving King Mark's letter, exemplifies this period's look. Her
turret, from which cascades a transparent veil, terminates upon a frontlet,
a wide band of cloth that frames her face. (The frontlet would play an
important role over the next decades.) Her wide, V-necked gown has a high,
narrow waist and tight sleeves with funnel cuffs. Black, a popular color
at this time, accents her turret and frontlet, collar, cuffs, and wide hem.
The distinctive feature of men's clothing here is the revival of pouleines.
Romance of Tristan, in French
France, Bourges(?) 1468
Illuminated by the Master
of the Vienna Mamerot
440 x 328 mm
Purchased by Pierpont Morgan, 1903; MS M.41, fols. 24v–25r
In the 1460s and '70s fashions reached their Gothic climax. The look for both men and women was tall, long, and lean. Thin was in.
The look for men was dominated by the gown, worn either very short (to the crotch—or barely so) or very long (to the ground). Both versions, accented by a thin belt around a narrow waist, featured high padded shoulders and pleats that flared down over the buttocks and up over the back and chest. These features, developed during the previous decades, brought to a culmination the flatteringly masculine V-shaped silhouette. Pouleines, which accented the lean look, were revived. The chaperon, in fashion for over a hundred years, finally went out of style as new hats–especially a tall, loaf-shaped version—arrived.
Women's gowns continued with their wide V necks, high wasp waist, and long trains. For headgear, temples went out of fashion and were replaced by the turret. This cone-shaped coif, from the tip of which cascaded transparent veils, is perhaps the stereotypical ladies' hat from the late Middle Ages.