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.
Women Encounter Bad Advice and Irrationality ca. 1380
The women in this allegorical treatise wear cotes hardy similar to their
French contemporaries (albeit on slightly plumper figures). Their loose
skirts contrast with tight bodices, bosoms, and sleeves, the ends of which
are slightly funnel shaped. In the second miniature at the left, the young
male personification of Bad Advice wears a wasp-waisted, stuffed doublet.
His pouleines (pointed shoes) are particularly elegant with open fretwork.
In the miniature at the right the older male personification of Irrationality
is similarly dressed. Behind him, the young male Seducer wears a dashing
pink paltock (a loose jacket with sleeves) over his doublet.
Thomasin von Zerclaere,
Der Wälsche Gast, in German
Germany, Trier, ca. 1380
Illuminated by the Kuno von
352 x 252 mm
Gift of the Trustees of the
William S. Glazier Collection, 1984; MS G.54, fols. 5v–6r
The second half of the fourteenth century was a bleak period in French history. The Black Plague, which first struck in 1348, was a recurring horror. As the Hundred Years' War dragged on, France suffered devastating defeats by the English. Following the Battle of Poitiers in 1356, King John II was captured and taken to London as a prisoner. Fashions changed little during this period.
Men's fashion was dominated by the pourpoint: a close-fitting doublet influenced by the military. With a short flaring skirt and a cinched waist, the pourpoint was padded at the chest and shoulders, giving its wearer a distinctive hourglass silhouette. Pouleines, long pointed shoes, and belts—slender, or the thick "Bohemian" girdle—worn low on the hips complimented the look.
The cote hardy—an outer garment for women—while retaining its voluminous skirt, got even tighter at the bodice, bosom, and sleeves. The resulting look paralleled that of men's fashion. Tippets, decorative strips of cloth hanging from the arms, remained popular. Both men and women continued to wear the chaperon (the hood with attached cape and tail).