Burgundy w/ Gold,Gold w/ Gold, Sage w/ Gold, Lilac w/ Gold,
Light Blue w/ Gold, Navy w/ Gold, White w/ White, Black w/ Silver, Black w/ Gold
White, Black, Red, Royal Blue, Burgundy, Purple
Slate Blue, Sage, Dark Green, Oatmeal, Dark Brown, Gold
“My Lady, please, you must cover your hair!”
“Oh, Isabeau, you fussy old nursemaid, there is a veil attached to my hennin.”
“Yes, and it covers nothing at all! Your hair streams forth like a river. It is shameful.”
“Oh pish! Do you want me to look like a shriveled old frump? This is a tournament in honor of His Grace’s nameday. All the great of Burgundy will be there! It is shameful if I do not catch their eyes!” Indeed, the entire Order of the Golden Fleece will be gathered, along with the many young knights and squires who hope to gain its notice through their feats of arms. But most importantly, and secretly, it is the eye of one young squire in particular that is of concern….
“Then at least pin shut your collar with a brooch. You wish to look a lady, not a strumpet!”
“And this is the fashion of a lady; did not Franz say so when he returned from Milan? Would a strumpet of a belt with a silver buckle fastened beneath her bosom?” Then again, fingering that silly Englishman’s carnelian pin, wouldn’t it be wise to let a certain Burgundian squire know he’d best not take things for granted? “All right, Isabeau, I see your point. Perhaps a brooch would be more appropriate…”
As a society in transition, the 15th century was if nothing else, a dramatic era, and this is reflected in its fashions. In the waning decades of the 14th century, a new style evolved as a direct contrast to the sleek, fitted women’s cotehardie. This sumptuous gown was the houppelande, and in any ways represented the perfect marriage of three centuries of women’s fashion. In this one garment, the voluminous, “angel-wing” sleeves of the 12th century combined with the loose body of the 13th, and the deep necklines of the 14th.Combined with a high-collar, full-train, an underdress, and a tall hat, or henin, the end result was a stunningly elegant gown that is associated with the “fair damsel” to this day.
The houppelande and the accompanying henin continued to evolve throughout the 1400s, and we have chosen to reproduce a style that would have fashionable amongst courtiers and wealthy burghers throughout the second and third quarters of the 15th century. Based on primarily northern Italian and Burgundian sources, the two great fashion centers of the period, this style had a broad, international appeal, and can be found throughout England, France and the Holy Roman Empire. In honor of the garment’s inherent elegance and sumptuousness, we are introducing our henin in a dazzling array of jewel tones.
Drawing from a book of hours of Charles the Bold, National Library in Vienna, Austria, circa 1477
From an engraving titled ‘An Allegory of Love and Death in Florence, Italy circa 1465-70
Drawing after a detail from 15th century Flemish Tapestry in the collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC, United States
A fashionable noble woman shows off her Gold on Gold brocade Henin with a sheer silk veil, complimenting her lovely orange brocade houppelande. She adds another splash of color with her bright red linen kirtle underneath, advertizing her wealth though her use of many bright colors and lavish fabrics, truly one stylish lady.