So I am participating in this year’s Italian Renaissance Costuming Challenge hosted by Realm of Venus. I was really bummed last year when I found out about the contest just a smidge too late to join. Lame! And it would have been perfect timing too, since I was putting several outfits together at the time, from the skin out. But I wasn’t late this time! I am all signed up and pretty damned excited to get started.
Right now is the planning stage. I am researching, deciding on design elements, and buying supplies. The only stash fabric I have right now that I am thinking of using is a few yards of some brilliantly bright red silk, and maybe some of the white silk I have left over from the hooded cloak. And maybe I can use some of the random bits of linen for lining parts of it.
I really need some canvas for stability/interlining, and muslin for lining and pattern making.
The Project: straight out of my submission email, “I have always wanted to make a late period male outfit for myself. It is something I have no experience in and should be a very fun challenge. I am plan to make a shirt, doublet, pants, hose, and fur lined overcoat. Possibly also a hat and shoes. If I get really ambitious, I will make a matching skirt to the doublet so that it could be turned into a female outfit as well. Giovanni Battista Moroni is my main painting reference.”
Thought Process: I was not really sure of what I wanted to do, other than something super fancy. But as I started searching through my images, and looking at late period painters, I realized that Moroni’s portraits are awesome. Several of the outfits are just black and red, with a touch of white, very understated while still being extremely decorative. My favorite at this point, and the most likely candidate for my outfit is this Portrait of Don Gabriel de la Cueva by Moroni. Although….crap. After doing a bit more research, it appears that the portrait is of a Spanish noble, not an Italian one. Damn it! I am not quite willing to give up on this image though, because I think it is an awesome outfit. Hmm….more researching….more reading….yay wiki….ok. So “Gabriel de la Cueva was appointed Viceroy of Navarre in 1560, to replace his father who had died, and later Governor of the Duchy of Milan in 1564, a position that he held until his own death in 1571.” according to Wikipedia (which I know is not the best source of information but it works for now). So Gabriel may have lived in Navarre, Spain during the time the portrait was made, which is supposed to be from 1560. But I cannot find an evidence that the painter Moroni ever left Italy at all. So perhaps Gabriel was visiting Italy in 1560 for some reason? Is there any possible way I can legitimately make an outfit like his and still call it Italian?
Well, continuing on, in the hopes that I will be able to make this outfit, or something similar.
Extant References: I searched for the Portrait of Don Gabriel in conjunction with various costuming terms, trying to find other people’s thoughts on the outfit, and to check if anyone else had already made a version it themselves. I didn’t see any other reproductions of the outfit, which is awesome. I think it would have somehow become a less interesting project for me if someone else had already dissected the painting and made the outfit. But I did find this awesome page at operafantomet‘s website with several neat extant male garments. About one third of the way down is the burial outfit of “PIETRO OF ARAGON (1552)”. This outfit is the most amazing thing ever because (1) it has nice detailed images, (2) it is almost identical to Don Gabriel’s underdoublet and pants, and (3) it is very definitely Italian. So even if Don Gabriel is not an Italian man, the outfit he wears is very similar to at least some of the fashion trends in Italy at the time.
Painted References: Really, anything by Moroni is a good reference for this outfit, but more specifically, the Portrait of a Soldier has a very similar overdoublet with short sleeves and red slashed underdoublet/pants to the Don Gabriel portrait.
The Portrait of Jacopo Foscarini has a similar color scheme, but decoration is quite different, and the over garment is more of a long coat, not really an overdoublet like I want.
The Portrait of Antonio Navagero is nifty and that big fluffy coat he’s wearing is what I was originally thinking when I included a “furlined overcoat” in my project outline for IRCC. I am now thinking that I would rather make the black overdoublet Don Gabriel wears, but maybe I will make the big fluffy coat too. We’ll see. Portrait of a Man also has a big sexy coat.
Moving outside of Moroni paintings, there’s this portrait of Jacopo Strada. He is also going for the red underdoublet + black overdoublet look. Apparently that must have been quite popular. Glad I am on the right track :D
This portrait of Bartolomeo Panciatichi by Bronzino is interesting. Make sure to look at the original big size. He is wearing the short sleeves I like, and his red sleeves are slashed to show some sort of golden woven texture underneath. Craziness. Oh, and if you have a moment, save the picture to your computer and play with the brightness/contrast in your preferred program: there is some crazy textured decoration on his over doublet that is all black on black, making it hard to see.
I will probably make a black hat like this, since they seem to be common. Oooo, and here’s a sketchy version: the pleats in the brim are quite easy to see.
Not quite a useful reference for my outfit, but look at this! I found another Moroni painting that I hadn’t seen before while searching for the stuff above. It’s a Portrait of a Man, and he’s wearing a doublet and pants combo, possibly black, with likely gold or silver bobbin lace trim all over it. The fabric under the slashes appears to be shiny, and maybe striped? Make sure to use the zoom feature!
Check out other parts of this outfit below:
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