Take "Medieval Inspired" Fashion with a grain of salt.

Sometimes a big grain.

by Cynthia du Pré Argent

© 2000 Cynthia Virtue

The two photos below are from a fashion spread in a magazine called Art News Annual, published in November of 1947.  Much of the magazine is devoted to an exhibition of medieval and renaissance tapestries that came to New York City that year, but some of it is devoted to fashions inspired by the tapestries.

As it is often difficult for us to see the modern influences in our versions of medieval clothing, these examples from over 50 years ago provide a very useful contrast, because the differences between "real" and "inspired" are more obvious to us.  In this case, the designers probably weren't striving for a medieval look; they simply used a few of the costume details, but the message is still useful.

I may add a few more to this page later in the Autumn.

A reader adds this info about one of the dresses:

My god! My mom had the sequined 'sight' dress from the first picture.  I sent the page to my mother, because she did a term paper on the tapestries when she was in college and she recognized the dress. She said that my grandfather bought it for her and paid just under $500 for it.  She really doesnt remember much about the marketing-my grandfather had the shopper from Bloomies or Saks that my grandmother used bring models and clothing to the apartment for my mom to get a wardrobe. She mainly remembers it as being very expensive, not entirely to her taste and that the sequins took getting used to, they would catch on anything made of cloth. She did think it was pretty, and having lived through the depression and the rationing of WW2, it was definitely not what she was used to! This was for my mom's wedding and honeymoon trousseau - she was raised on a farm in Diagonal Iowa and not at all used to the circles my dad's family ran in.

All material © 2000 Cynthia Virtue Email Author with comments
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