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Epic Infanta Dress Diary #1: Concept

 Hello Livejournal,

I am about to embark on a journey that I have taken before, but never so well prepared. After five years of pretending to be Mary Sidney Herbert, the Countess of Pembroke (and perhaps the single most important literary patron in English history), I am trading her out for a brand new character. To go with the new character, I will be needing a new costume, and I am going to attempt to document the process here.

The lady of the year is...

Infanta Isabella Clara Eugenia, beloved daughter of Philip II of Spain!

La Princesa:

She's in the ballpark for my age, and interesting to boot. Betrothed to the Holy Roman Emperor until she was about 25, she was back on the market when he declared that he would not marry anyone. Isabella did not marry until she was 33 years old. Very unusual, especially for a woman of her station.

I want the dress to have a very different line and flavor than the gowns being worn by the English ladies, so I've been looking obsessively at sayas and ropas. It's the way to go, as the big overcoat look of the high-collared ropa will definitely read contrast against the skirt and low-cut bodice look that the ladies of Warwickshire tend to rock. Long story short, I want to put her in a dress cut almost identically to the one seen in this portrait of her stepmother, Ana de Austria:


Love the collar. Love the sleeves. Love the unbuttoned aspect. Love the striped detailing on the undergown. Love the textured fabric. Love Love Love. But it needs to be green, because I am not wearing white for outdoor theatre. So it should look more like this:


Pardon my unprofessional sketching. It's way better in my head.

The gown underneath will look similar to the English ones, but it's never going to be out on the street on its own, so you won't see the line this way. It goes a little something like this:


And the hat needs to be an Italian bonnet. I'll miss my jaunty tall hat, but this is a good fit for the style, and I think that if I bling it up enough, it will look uber fancy without treading into tiara territory. Isabella *is* a princess, but we can't have her mistaken for the Queen. Here, to model the Italian bonnet, is my new favorite Spanish lady, Doña Ana de Mendoza, the Princess of Eboli and Duchess of Pastrana.


Yes! She had a frakkin' eyepatch for real! How sexy is that? If I thought that I could handle being in an eyepatch for ten hours a day, I'd lobby to play her, but there's just no way.

Next on the docket will be drafting the pattern for the ropa. I have some old bedsheets that have pilled and are a little rough, and I no longer ever want to sleep between them. They'll make great mock-up patterns. Stay tuned.


( 2 best shots — Fire Away! )
Mar. 31st, 2011 12:47 am (UTC)
Sigh: lady, you have mad skills. If I ever win the lottery, I'm hiring you to dress me.

Looking forward to meeting the princess - even if she isn't the one with the eyepatch.
Apr. 14th, 2011 09:11 pm (UTC)
Thanks for an idea, you sparked at thought from a angle I hadn’t given thoguht to yet. Now lets see if I can do something with it.

( 2 best shots — Fire Away! )


Kelly and Sadie
Kelly Joy

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