The Renaissance may seem as far removed from our generation as the stone age, but, like your ancestors, bits and pieces of the Renaissance still exist today in our fashion DNA – passed down from centuries long ago.
Around the 1490’s, the noblemen and women of Northern Europe and Germany began experimenting with the human form by way of accessories. Long sleeved garments had puffed-out cuffs, hips were made wider by using padding and extensions, and feet were slimmed to an unnatural narrowness.
Head gear would accentuate the desired look. A flat cap, like that seen in portraits of Henry VIII, was a very popular headpiece. Women desired a much more distinctly feminine look with the Mary Stuart Cap, a heart-shaped hat that almost encompassed the entirety of the head.
While you would be hard pressed to find a Jerkin (a sleeveless jacket) or cod piece (a decorative pouch) on a modern renaissance man, the Jerkin has a close cousin in the vest and the cod piece grew up to become a zip or button fly, making a pair of jeans as every bit as noble as the pantaloons Henry VIII wore.
Today, the 15th century romantic renaissance period is making a huge comeback on the runway. Valentino has released its complete spring-summer 2014 campaign featuring dreamy-lace looks inspired by costumes that were indeed found in the Renaissance era. Other designers are also featuring renaissance looks such as Marios Schwab’s fall 2013 collection, Dolce & Gabbana’s fall 2012 collection, and Alexander McQueen’s Fall 2013 collection. Let’s take a look at how the renaissance era has inspired today’s fashion world.