About Joyatri

Avid thrifter and vintage clothes wearer. Love 1960s and early 1970s styles. Partial to Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Victorian, Renaissance and Medieval art. Former art historian. Current packrat. On a continual quest for good-looking, comfortable vegan shoes. Bhangra dancer since 2002. Fascinated by all things Indian. Vegan and animal advocate. 

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Words I like:

"She was dressed, as usual, in an odd assortment of clothes, most of which had belonged to other people." 

Excellent Women by Barbara Pym (1913-1980)



“I said "Somebody should do something about that." Then I realized I am somebody.”

 Lily Tomlin




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« V & A's Museum of Childhood, London | Main | Mary Tyler Moore meets Woodland Elf »

Confessions of an Art History Nerd: Vittorio Carpaccio

I often draw inspiration from historical styles of dress as shown in paintings. As much as I love the styles of the 1960s and 70s, I love clothing styles and art work of Art Nouveau, Pre-Raphaelite, Renaissance and Medieval  periods as well.

I have a graduate degree in art history and was a museum curator for a decade and a half. Ever since high school, I have paid attention to clothing depicted in paintings (In graduate school, I entertained the idea of creating a line of hats and shoes based on Northern Renaissance paintings).

Whenever I go to a museum, I take a little notebook and make sketches and notes of dress styles/color combinations I might want to emulate. Spread over dozens of notebooks, it seemed like a good idea to record those notes here in order to have them all in one place. I’m a nerd, I know.

Last spring, in Venice, I spent hours poring over two series of painting– Miracles of the True Cross and Stories from the Life of St. Ursula in the Gallerie dell’Accademia. My previous post showing my Marks & Spencer vertical-stripe leggings reminded me that I had tried to find leggings with geometric designs or Renaissance patterns after that trip. Although I like wild patterns, they are usually tempered by being in earth or dark tones (like the blue, olive, brown stripes of the M & S leggings).

Detail of The Healing of a Possessed Man, 1494, Miracles of the True Cross, by Vittorio Carpaccio (c. 1465-1525/1526), Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.

Check out the patterned hose of the gondolier in the front left.

Detail of Arrival of the English Ambassadors, 1495-1500, Stories from the Life of St. Ursula, Vittorio Carpaccio (c. 1465-1525/26), Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice.

The red coat with black velvet (?) collar and cuffs is quite fetching as are the tri-colored hose of the figure on the left. (Hey, I have those green boots worn by the man in the center!)

(After seeing so many images of men in close-fitting leggings, I wondered how they were constructed back then. The website, Dressing a Venetian Nobleman in 1500, explains how.)

The closest I’ve found to the Venetian hose from 1500 are these tights by birdapparel on Etsy.

OK, not Renaissance inspired, but I quite like these brown and white ikat print leggings by PeekoApparel on Etsy.

I might just experiment with thrift store leggings and sew two different-colored legs together to get this look.


Photo: iMAXTREE, Bernhard Wilhelm, 2008 Menswear Collection.

These are ugly color combinations, but I see that this designer was inspired by the look as well.

Reader Comments (1)

The leggings you wore in your last post were just fabulous, it makes me regret not hanging on to the insane ones I owned back in the 1980s. I did make myself a pair a couple of years ago, they were a pretty easy item to construct and if you found the right pattern you could construct the Renaissance pair of your dreams.
Have you come across Black Milk? They have leggings to die for (and prices to weep at): http://www.blackmilkclothing.com/collections/leggings

January 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterVix

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