Design Analysis of Venetian Patricain Women’s Dress

   From the mid to latter half of the 16th centaury.   

Winter dress of Venetian women at home and outdoors

Well-to-do Venetian woman at home

Things that are seen.

Before looking at Venetian gowns of the mid to late 16th century, consider first what makes a Venetian gown different form other areas of the time. And what other 'rules' apply to this dress code.

      Silhouette.  The distinctive silhouette of the Venetian.  Full hips, but not unnaturally full.  Lack of curvature of the torso and fitted bodice. 

       Open V front of the dress not seen anywhere else. 

       The V in the back of the waistline of the dress. 

       Very wide necklines.   

      Skirts used a lot of fabric giving that extra fullness. Hoops and bum rolls were not used. 

      Sleeves that were designed not to be restrictive, but comfortable, and matched the accompanying dress, these sleeves were mostly detachable . 

      Sleeves that were embellished with cutwork were not then treated as lantern sleeves.   Cut worked sleeves were also finished with lace cuffs.

      Embellishments.  The Venetian dress code differed form other areas because of its lack of embellishments such as embroidery or beadwork.  Preferring the lush and voluminous nature of the fabric to speak for itself.   

      Lace is one embellishment they loved and used well.  Not  too much, but enough for the casual observer to understand that this was a status symbol.

      Jewellery.  The simplicity of a single strand of large pearls about the neck was not seen else where at this time.  Single pearl drops from a large hoop earring were like wise unique.  Other jewels were employed, but not the the same extent as the English at the same time.

       Accessories.  Things such as 

      Three distinct occacsions for hair styles.

      Cuffs on a full sleeve only show lace.  Lantern style sleeves show the ruffle of the chemise extending from underneath. 

      Hem finishes are minimal in treatment.  Guarding is not used on Venetian hems.  An accent strip is occasionally seen, and would appear to be purely decorative.


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