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The early Middle Ages - the Romanesque period - start around the 800s. Architecture, art, and fashion are very down to earth. Garment shapes were extremely simple, consisting of mostly identically cut outerwear and underwear; people sometimes wore just simple rectangles or semicircles by way of capes, typically closed on the right shoulder. The Frankish outfit featured trousers, which especially baffled Romans. Materials were also rather basic: wool and linen in the house of the women - even the most distinguished ones - also spun, woven and sewn. On the other hand, fur was generally worn. As Byzantium fell in 1204, silk weaving quickly spread throughout Europe, becoming especially popular in Italy. However, patterned fabrics remained prohibitively expensive and could only be worn by a select few, who did so on special occasions.

At the same time, Byzantium produced the most magnificent silks, opulently woven with gold threads and fitted with precious stones. Such treasures, even if imported to Europe, were so costly that only an affluent few could afford them, mostly in the form of ribbons decorating garment hems, necklines, and sleeve edges. Men's and women's clothing was nearly identical -expect for the Franks and their trousers.
In 1200, at the dawn of the Gothic period, a dramatically different sense of form emerged, leaving behind the earthbound, severe Romanesque style. It is a time inspired by the afterlife, with a pervading sense of elevation. Similar to cathedrals, which seem to draw the viewer upwards, vertical lines dominate fashion. While Romanesque clothing did not trespass the crown or the sole of the foot, this new period sees and attempt to break these boundaries. Thus, dresses are provided with increasingly longer trains and hats become higher and more pointed, visually stretching the body in both directions.
In general, Gothic style - much to the chagrin of the Church - tends to emphasize the body: medieval clothing is extremely tight down to the waist and women's dresses feature ever-growing necklines. Over these tight-fitting upper garments, men (and woman) wore another - sleeveless - loose over-garment called Surkot, whose sleeve openings - dubbed as "devil windows" by the Church - grew increasingly larger, revealing the waist.
Popular among both sexes was the Houppelande, a coat-like garment with long, hanging sleeves and the semi-circular "Tassel" coat (Tassel = metal clasp).
The outfit of male aristocracy also included the tunic, to be later replaced by a close-fitting short jacket, some featuring long hanging sleeves. Under that, aristocrats wore a doublet to which leg warmers were laced.
In the early Gothic, the Romanesque's hooded jacket for men evolved into the "Gugelhaube", a kind of shoulder cape with hood, whose tip grew into a long flat band.
In addition, both sexes carried the chaplet, a wreath of jewels, flowers, foliage or fabric, which married women handed over. Later came various forms of horns and Wulsthauben and the Hennin, a higher, more pointed "Zuckerhut".
Pointed shoes (medieval poulaines) were an inseparable part of Gothic fashion.
The costumes of the late Middle Ages are represented in all its magical splendour in the court of Burgundy. The most luxurious robes, the most imaginative headgear, thelongest trains were found here.For three quarters of a century, the Burgundian duchy dictated costumes and etiquette in Europe. Throughout the Middle Ages and, initially,also in Burgundy, bright colour were predominantly. Thus, Philip the Good favoured black for his vestments and made them popular for the first time in fashion history.
Regardless, red remained the favourite Middle Ages colour, and the Lily cross the favourite ornament.
 
 

Costume examples from our workshop

 

Burgundische Kostüm

Period: around 1490, Burgundy

This medieval dress has been crafted from an antique red-golden brocade fabric with the typical ornament from the late Burgundian epoch. It has been cut with a high-raised waist that is emphasized by a golden antique metal belt. The V-neck is decorated with a silk décolletage cover of matching color and is surrounded by a velvet collar. The wide, trained skirt and the sleeves are furnished with velvet-trimmed hems. The corresponding truncated velvet hennin is adorned with a silk veil.

Price category: E
 
 

Kostüm aus Brennnesselstoff

Period: 13th / 14th century

The material of this dress has been made from a mixture of cotton (warp yarn) and stinging nettle (weft yarn). This fabric is suited for simple peasant costumes as well as for dresses of the upper classes. Through its silky appearance and its unique fall, which is due to the stinging nettle fibers, the dress itself can be designed in...

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Robe aus Seidendamast

Period: around 1450

This robe from 15th century has been crafted for an English reenactment group. It is made of precious silk damask from the Venetian weaving mill Luigi Bevilacqua, which today still hand-produces on historic looms following its own original pattern-designs. The Portrait of Isabella of Portugal by the Early Netherlandish painter Rogier van der Weyden (1400-1464) served as ...

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Kostüm mit Granatapfelmotiv

Period: around 1480, Burgundy

This Burgundian medieval dress with its pomegranate ornament points already towards the Renaissance. Following this, the slim-fitting top has been raised; the round, 'ermine'-trimmed collar further accentuates the décolletage. Similarly the wide skirt is edged with an 'ermine' hem. The accompanying divided hennin has been crafted from black velvet and has been braided with metal lace.

Price category: F
 
 

Houppelande

Period: late 15th century

In the following we would like to present two houppelandes made of brocade, velvet and silk. Houppelandes were a kind of outer garment or overcoat that was worn by both men and women from the end of the 14th to the late 15th century throughout Europe. We crafted the following cream-colored houppelande from an antique brocade fabric with the typical ornament of the late Burgundian epoch. It is cut with a high raised...

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Tunika

Period: around 1450

This tunic overcoat for men owes its noble appearance to both the plain yet artful cut and the grave fabric: red-golden brocade with fleur-de-lis. The distinct standing collar of gold-brocade and the 'ermine'-trimmed hem reinforce this impression.
 
Price category: B
 
 

Kostüm - Romanik

Period: around 1000 – 1200

This early Romanic ensemble consists of a long and straight cut chemise, made of hand-woven linen, and an equally cut tunic, made of virgin wool. The hand-woven brocade braids make it obvious that this is the robe of a nobleman.

Price category: D
 
 

Männer - Houppelande

Period: around 1460, Burgundy

The following houppelande has been designed for men. It has been made of dove blue brocade, which has golden fleur-de-lis woven into it. Sleeves and hem are trimmed with premium faux fur*. Belt and neckline are made of velvet and are decorated with artificial gems. We also designed this Burgundian-style velvet hood that goes perfectly with this robe.

Price category: D
 
 
Rotes Seidenkleid Period: around 1450

This cotehardie has been designed after an original cut pattern that was reconstructed based on grave findings. The very slim-fitting top is laced at the back. Small gores, i.e. triangular fabric pieces, inserted into the skirt assure its extreme width. The contrasting green lining shows to advantage when the dress' front is slightly raised, a gesture very common in medieval portrayals.

Price category: D
 
 
Brautkleider Come and see our pages with beautiful wedding gowns !
 
 
  * We do not use real fur (see Philosophy)