Janet Arnold Study Day: Dressing to impress in the Seventeenth Century

Janet Arnold Study Day: Dressing to impress in the Seventeenth Century

Saturday 07 October 2017

Clothing has the power to speak and convey meaning and never was this more visible than in the seventeenth century.

A century of rapid changes both religious and political, it witnessed the unification of England and Scotland, the civil war and the removal, then the restoration of the monarchy. Fashion trends were influenced by trend-setters and throughout the century garments went from restrictive to comfortable and back to restrictive again.

However if you were rich you flaunted it and as styles became softer beautifully embroidered fabrics and exquisite laces in your ensemble demonstrated this. France led the way in style and elegance exporting fabulous fabrics and luxury goods. Few of these high quality garments have survived as their monetary value meant they were subject to reuse and recycling so it is wonderful that our day will begin with Rebecca Quinton, curator of European Costume and Textiles at the Glasgow Museums who will join us for this study day to tell us about the rare and beautiful seventeenth century pieces that survive in the museum’s Burrell collection. She will be followed by Maria Hayward, Professor of Early Modern History at the University of Southampton who has spoken to WECS previously on the clothing at the court of Henry VIII. Her current research is on the clothing of the Stuart kings, the types of garments being worn and the craftsmen who made them.

We then welcome back costume designer Jenny Tiramani, a leading researcher in historical costume practices and founder member and Principal of the School of Historical Dress, which holds the Janet Arnold Archive. She has co-authored Seventeenth-Century Women’s Dress Patterns: Books One and Two (2011, 2012) for V&A Publishing and together with Santina Levey she completed Janet Arnold’s Patterns of Fashion 4 (2008). With luck her return will coincide with the publication of the next Janet Arnold Patterns of Fashion 5: Bodies, hoops, stays and rumps 1600-1795.

To complete the day WECS’ member Pat Poppy, who was part of Bournemouth University Library and Learning support team and blogs on Costume Historian blogspot, will speak on her current research into the General Account Book of Anne, Countess of Bath and her extravagant purchases. Wife to Charles I’s Privy Seal, Anne certainly set out to make an impression and puts the super rich women of today in the shade.

The report on this event is included in the Autumn 2017 issue of WECS Wardrobe.

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