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Showing posts from January, 2012

This Day In History- The Birth of W.A. Mozart

My husband and I attended a concert by the National Symphony Orchestra last night, which amongst other pieces played Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A Major. It was a wonderful piece and I've heard it before many times, but nothing compares to hearing music performed live by dedicated professionals. In the program I was informed that Mozart's birthday was, in fact, today, January 27th of 1756. Happy birthday, Mozart!
If you're interested in hearing the piece we experienced last night you can listen to it at

Italian Renaissance Hairstyles

In keeping with my last post on Italian Renaissance costume I thought we would take a look at something we didn't touch much on; hairstyles. They were extremely varying; up and down, braided, netted, entwined with silks and ribbons, even pearls, and, of course, dyed, bleached, and curled. The only thing in somewhat short supply seems to be hats, and really who would want to cover up what you had spent so much time constructing?

Occasionally a small cap, or scuffia, was worn either with side curls, or with most of the hair stuffed up underneathe:-

Another notable hair decoration was the reta, or hairnet. Some of these were beaded, some woven in decorative patterns, and some left very simple.

Under and around these ornamentations, or even without them, hair was often braided or crimped.
There was the simple modesty of a veil, if you felt the need to cover up... Or, if blending into the background wasn't your thing, there were big turbans, or simply huge ones. 

And, of course, the…

Italian Costume c.1500

I've been watching a lot of the show Borgia, and frankly loving it. The costumes are superbly done, both because quite a lot of research clearly went into them, and also because they express the characters very well. Extra points for the realism of people having a set wardrobe and not new outfits every scene. Remember, clothing took longer to manufacture than it does now, both because nothing was mechanized and because of the amounts of fabric and level of time-consuming detail-work required.

It's easy to forget when talking about costume history that unlike England or France or Spain during this period, Italy was far from a unified country, and wouldn't be for a long time. One of the ways in which the divisions were expressed was in the variation in costume between the Italian states, and by contrast their intricately intertwined trade and politics and familial alliances expressed themselves by a relative similarity as well. Let's have some examples, shall we?

These fi…