Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Baroque Period

Princess of Holland
Dolls of the World Collection
The period that we know as the Baroque Period thrived throughout Europe from 1600 to 1750,  The dress of this period contrasted sharply with that of the 16th century.  During the early years of the 17th century (1600-1620), many of the garments retained the appearance of the previous century.  After 1620, Spanish fashions disappeared from the European scene.  Under the new influence of Holland, a more comfortable relaxed style of clothing was adopted.  Woolen cloth was the fabric worn by the mass of the population.  Silk remained the fabric of the wealthy, and the most fashionable material of the time was lace.  The falling bands (collars), sleeve cuffs, ruffles, lace overlay and decoration for gowns all displayed to perfection the Baroque floral designs with free-flowing Arabesques and bold outlines so characteristic of Italian lace.
Cavalier dress circa 1625
Doll by Willem van der Leer
Trimmings were simple and confined to buttons, buttonholes, and lace. Women's bodice necklines were cut wide and square, and waistlines heightened. By 1630, sleeves became full and draped softly below the elbow, revealing the wearer's lower arm fo the first time in centuries.  

Cavalier fashion for men paralleled the trends in women's clothing. Men wore doublets (short jackets) made of stiff fabric or pointed in front, and jerkins (utility jackets made of leather). Waistlines were often adorned with ribbon bows which held the doublet and breeches together. Sleeves were trimmed with horizontal rows of braid or vertically slashed and finished with buttons. The stiff hose of the past was replaced with full, long breeches trimmed with braid and slashed on the side, as well as softer, wrinkled hose below. Later in the period, men wore baggy breeches known as "Rhinegraves," which were gathered below the knees with lace frills.                                          
Henri II of Lorraine, circa 1631
Doll by Christine Donnard, based on the portrait by F. Elle
 Women's gowns were more colorful and looser than in the past. The dresses could be laced up the front. The manteau gown was particularly stylish. This gown had a bodice with a decorated panel that ran from the neckline of the dress to the waist. The dress would also include the robe, or overskirt, and petticoat, or jupe. The sleeves would end below the elbow.

Circa 1690
Doll by Christine Donnard
Doll is wearing a fontage, a headdress worn between 1690-1710
Only in Spain were the new forms not taken up.  Court dress became still more extreme, and this had a widespread influence upon Spanish fashions.   Women adopted even larger farthingales, and the rigid corsetry dictated the entire silhouette.   Men also retained their skirted doublets and bombasted trunk hose, and they preferred the ruff to the lace collar.

Dona Isabel de Velasco, circa 1656
Doll by Almudena Gonzalez, based on the painting by
Diego Velazquez, titled Las Meninas

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