Wednesday, January 18, 2012

"Sink Me! He's been taking lessons--the cravat's a picture."

It has often been expounded upon that when one writes Fantasy, one must have a proper setting for it, complete with history, culture, customs, clothing, etc. Herein I've attempted to show you a bit of Scarlettania's Fashion, with a touch of Gildnoir as the case may be.

How Cecily longed for the touch of silk, brilliant as a butterfly’s wing, or brocade, or ermine. But most of all she longed to feel the feather-light brush of gossamine—the fabric of princesses—spun from dewy spiders’ webs.  How many, many times had she slipped her gossamine gown over her head, feeling its airy beauty and yet never stopping to think how precious a thing it was?
 Gossamine is a fabric I concocted in my imagination. It was intentionally a spin-off of the word "gossamer" and yes, it was intentional to make it a rather fairy-tale-sounding material. After all, we can't expect Mr. Macefield to be too too original, can we? ;) Gossamine would feel very very light, but it would have a pattern over it. Something like a mixture of organza, satin, and damask. :)

I have not yet shown Cecily Woodruff (or Lady Cecelia, if you will) in her own country, but I think that on her eighteenth birthday she will wear a gown much like this:

In stark contrast:

“Treason, is it?” Diccon’s breath caught in his throat as sudden rage surged through him. “Is it not what you are making war to commit yourself? To take a foreign woman as your wife just because she is beautiful and catches your eye?”
Fitz-Hughes’ smile dropped off his face like an autumn leaf before a blast of cold wind.  He smoothed the dark mail of his armored sleeve, stroking discordant jingles from it. “I believe that question is the fifth demerit you’ve earned today, boy. Watch your tongue a bit more carefully—you are trying my patience.”
Randolph Fitz-Hughes' Gildnoir-ian fashion is dark and brooding with here and there an unexpected splash of gaudy gold or yellow. It follows the pattern of his Clan-cum-Kingdom--wild, untamed, sophisticated, opulent. It's a queer hash, you know.

Not all of the clothing of Scarlettania is rich and brilliant though. There are some in the kingdom who do not wear gossamine, contrary to popular belief.

She thought she had better make amends quickly—it would never to do have the inhabitants of a strange castle vexed with you when you had no more of an idea of how to get out of the castle—if it came to that—than a beetle has of getting out of a match-box maze.
“I like your dress,” Adelaide said, feeling shy all at once and vexed because of it.
Dear-Heart gave a short laugh and brushed an even shorter finger across the fabric. “This, miss? Why, it’s nothin’ but flax an’ that bein’ such as has seen better days.”

Dear-Heart, Agnes, and the other women of the working class wear picturesque gowns of simple fabrics: cotton, linen, (or as Dear-Heart says it, "flax") and other materials. The gowns follow the classic "peasant" style of full, light, short sleeves, and a higher waist-line. Warm earth-tones are favored, as well as dusty-rose, deep red, navy, and other deep colors. :)

As for the court-gentlemen of Scarlettania, as well as for Bertram and Darby when the arrive, there is a definite late colonial- early Regency feel to the clothing. Waist-coats are very much "in," as are knee-breeches--at least for the younger boys. Scarlettania is not a fighting country, therefore only the very few knights wear armor. The city men wear fine, embroidered waistcoats, soft, well-tailored jackets, and breeches. The grown men wear cravats, of course, and knee-boots.

Darby glanced down at his embroidered vest, and soft jacket. He had been much delighted over the great golden dragon slithering across his chest in elaborate stitchery—it continued all across the back and around the other side. It wasn’t the sort of dragon he’d seen in Chinese paintings—it reminded him of a snake and a nightmare combined into something infinitely thrilling. And in its head were two emeralds for eyes; these made do for buttons.
His pants he was less pleased with—they were tight and buckled under his knees with bright brass fastenings—he had decided when he put them on that they looked just like the ones George Washington was in the habit of wearing—no wonder he went around chopping down cherry-trees; the pants were enough to make any fellow cross.

So that's that! How about you? What are the styles in your country? :) ~Rachel


Unknown said...

My story is set in Regency England, a period I love to read about, so the dresses are all tube dresses. I have to research the fashion of the time, but I always imagine my characters looking like they've stepped out of 'Pride and Prejudice'.

Unknown said...

You are so brilliant Rachel! I loved reading about your fashion in your world. It was so refreshing and amazing. Perhaps, I shall do something like this on my blog. Although, the clothes for my characters are not as elegant as yours--since the live during the late 1930s. But all the same, I may just concoct a post on 30s fashion.

I can't wait to read more of your wonderful story. The way you write is so beautiful and makes the reader want to read more. Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

The excerpt about Darby made me laugh. I love the reference to George Washington.