Putting the Creative in Creative Anachronism

So, ever since I was a little kid, my favorite holiday has been Halloween.  I suppose it’s no surprise that the SCA would appeal to me, since the holiday for me was about being able to dress up and be someone else.  Now, since becoming an adult, I’ve tried to hang on to the fun by dressing up for work, decorating the house, and going to parties with friends.  But the last few years have seen a bit of a slump for me.  We don’t have a lot of kids in my neighborhood, and most of them do the Mall Trick or Treat instead.  Almost no one else decorates their house.  There haven’t been many parties local to me, and I’m not much for the amateur hour bar crawl.  Long story short, I just haven’t been feeling it.

This year, I came up with an idea for couples costumes for my husband and I.  Halloween is on a weekend, so driving up to one of the out of town parties with friends seemed possible.  I was getting excited.  And then my local group scheduled their event for that weekend.  Sigh…what’s a girl to do?

Now, my original idea was to do a modern day take on Hades and Persephone.  All black suit for the husband, bright colored dress for me.  Subtle accessories with asphodel and pomegranates and Cerberus.   But what if….what would Hades and Persephone look like in the 14th century?  And a plan was born.

Now, the husband loves black clothes, and he’s been joking about wanting a black from the skin out outfit for a while.  I’ve always argued, because we don’t have documentation for black under garments, blah blah blah.  But, well, this is supposed to be fun, and let’s be honest, 14th Century Hades would do it.  So for him, he’s getting the following: black linen hosen, black linen braise, a black St. Louis shirt in linen.  For his over tunic, I’ll be doing black wool with appliqued white asphodel flowers and dagging.  So, imagine something like this:

Spoleto, Rocca di Albornoz,

Spoleto, Rocca di Albornoz, “Camera Pinta” 1390-1410: si può notare l’affrappatura del fondo

But add a ring of decoration similar to this:

MINIATURIST, Italian Dante: Divina Commedia 1380-1400 Manuscript (It. IX. 276), 430 x 280 mm (folio size) Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

Dante: Divina Commedia
Manuscript (It. IX. 276), 430 x 280 mm (folio size)
Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana, Venice

Then we’ll accessorize from there.

For my Persephone gown, I’ll be going with white undergarments.  I’ll do a black base dress to represent her role as Queen of the Underworld.  For the overdress, I found a gorgeous green/grey herringbone linen on clearance from Fabricmart Fabrics that is very spring like.  I was debating whether I wanted to do block printing or embroidery or applique and then I struck on a through.  I googled “Pomegranate trim”.  And I found 5 yards of 4 in wide sage green duponi ribbon with gold embroidered and beaded pomegranates.  It’s wired, but I should easily be able to cut the wire off and do a rolled hem on it. The look I am going for is a late 14th women’s Italian gown with wide trims, seen in this style of miniature.

Manuscript Bodmer 78 Historia destructionis Troiae Folio 28r Dating 1370 From Venice, Italy Holding Institution Fondation Martin Bodmer

Manuscript: Bodmer 78 Historia destructionis Troiae Folio 28r
Dating 1370
From Venice, Italy
Holding Institution: Fondation Martin Bodmer

In the later Italian art for the later half of the 14th C, you find a lot of uncovered women’s hair, so I will likely be shamelessly Italian and leave mine uncovered.  However, I have sneaky plans to make myself an additional laurel wreath, but work Asphodel style flowers into it.

So, that’s the current plan.  And because it seems like a fun project, I’ll be sponsoring a competition to encourage people to do the same thing for the event, for the best period garb representation of a legend macabre.  Happy Friday!  What are you working on?