The Underskirt

This is a very full skirt.  Venetians didn't appear from their silhouette to wear any hoops or bum rolls, so underskirts it was.  The underskirt front should go under the point of the corset, so that it does not show through the open front, and smooth the front for that highly fashionable flat look. Thus the underskirt might also be smooth at the waist, so as to not create any extra bulk in that area.

Cesare Vecellio's Costume Plates Circa 1590

Winter dress of Venetian women at home and outdoors

As cartridge pleating was the most common method of gathering or pleating used for overskirts it is completely acceptable that it would have been used for the underskirts also.

The silhouette of the Venetian is one of a full-hipped woman, not a smooth, scant hipped little thing of today.  This is important to remember when considering the underskirt as this garment adds with extra fullness, this was the desired effect.

Attr Veronese:  Portrait of a Family detail

Sarasota, Ringling Museum

Venetian noble woman

Habitus Variarum Orbis Gentium 1581 Los Angels County Museum of Art

Plain fabrics can happily be used, there is also evidence as seen above to indicate a more decadent fabric to have been used for underskirts also.  Or at least at the hem or below the knee so that if the outer skirt was lifter you could show off your beautiful under skirt.  This does seem to correspond with the Venetian dress code of 'Conspicuous Consumption with Elegance'.

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All intellectual content, composition, layout, designs and photographs, unless otherwise noted are copyright 2007 to Deborah Lane , or, copyright 2003 to Deborah Murray also known as Mistress Oonagh O'Neill . All Original renaissance art works and artefacts are not copyright to Deborah Murray, and are shown for educational use only .  If you see something you'd really like to use, please contact me!