Originally I started this Ascension Day project just for the apron. But once I got the apron done, I figured I might as well have the rest of the outfit that goes with it! If you are unfamiliar with the project so far, I am recreating an outfit based on an image in Degli Habiti antichi et moderni di diverse parti del mondo. This was a famous fashion book written and illustrated by Cesare Vecellio in 1590 (link to 1598 reprint). He was from Venice, and if we compare his depicted fashions of Venice with other contemporary works, it seems to be quite accurate and helpful. But as he covers areas farther from Italy, the drawings become increasingly fanciful, since his information about those outfits tends to be not from first hand viewing, but from drawings and descriptions from friends and associates who saw them. Fortunately for me, the outfit I am interested in IS near Venice and is descriptively titled “Peasant Women in the Region Surrounding Venice, Seen in Venice on the Day of the Ascension of Our Lord, a Venetian Holiday and Fair”. The 1590 edition of this book was published with both Latin and Italian descriptions, but incase you can’t read either, there was a reprint in 2008, featuring English translations by Rosalind Jones and Margaret F. Rosenthal. I did not think it appropriate to repost their entire page of translation (go buy the book! It’s super fab!) so instead, here’s my poor translation of the original Italian to English, with the help of google and Florio’s dictionary. If you want to see a whole lot more about my efforts to translate the Italian, Latin, and French versions of this text go about halfway down the apron page.Peasant women of land round about in Venetia, whom you see on the day of Venetia ‘Ascension from N. Lord. They wear such over their heads some straw hats made with beautiful fine art, and with feathers of different colors, under from ‘which they have their hair fixed exceedingly well under a net of threads of’ gold. They carry some Bavari (cape about the neck of any garment) wrinkled, and above a veil of silk or other thin cloth. They wear a dress of bombast, or wool of different colors with some silver-gilt pins above the bust, with gards of velvet or other sorts of silk, with corals or beads of silver turn/round the neck, or chest, and thus so down the seams of the sleeves. Above this they wear a round savegard of silk, or other sort of very thin cloth, accommodated with some binding rosettes made to needle with silk braiding/cord/ribbon; are encircled with a belt of crimson velvet or black; they wear socks worked with white shoes worked, and then the pianelle (similar to pattens) over, go very to order/method/form, and appearance is very delightful to look upon.
Let’s go from top to bottom!
How fun! A couple talented folks have made their own versions of this outfit, check them out!