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.
Pinnacle of the V-Shaped Silhouette for Men ca. 1463
Ferrières's treatise on hunting is open to the chapter on falconry, illustrated
with an enthroned King Modus instructing youths in the art of hunting
with birds. The pen-and-wash medium carefully delineates the tailoring of
their garments. Three young men wear the short gown with pleating that
flares flatteringly both below and above the narrow waist. The slit sleeves
are highly padded at the shoulders. While the youths sport the revived
pouleines, two also wear loaf-shaped caps, typical of the 1460s. The hunter
at right, who prefers the long gown, wears a "burlet-chaperon," headgear
in which the fat burlet is permanently rolled.
Henri de Ferrières, Livre du
roy Modus et de la royne Racio
France, Lyons, ca. 1463
Illuminated by the Master of
the Vienna Roman de la rose
295 x 223 mm
Purchased, 1947; MS M.820, fols. 54v–55r
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.