The case of the “French Vardinggale” : A methodological approach to reconstructing and understanding ephemeral garments

Journal article


Bendall, Sarah A.. (2019). The case of the “French Vardinggale” : A methodological approach to reconstructing and understanding ephemeral garments. Fashion Theory. 23(3), pp. 363-399. https://doi.org/10.1080/1362704X.2019.1603862
AuthorsBendall, Sarah A.
Abstract

This article showcases experimental dress reconstruction as a valuable research tool for the historian. It presents a case study detailing how two underskirts of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, French Farthingale Rolls and French Wheel Farthingales, were reconstructed using historical techniques and experimental methodologies. The first section outlines my methodological approach to reconstructing these ephemeral garments, exploiting archival and printed records, visual sources, and knowledge of seventeenth-century sewing techniques. The second section focuses on the experience of reconstruction and shows how this process allows the historian to form tacit knowledge. This section also raises questions and provides answers about artisanal design practices such as reflective rationality, embodied experiences, and tacit skills that cannot be accessed in other ways. Finally, this article shows how reconstruction can inform understandings of the embodied experiences of dressing and wearing. Dressing the female body in the reconstructed underskirts discussed in this article made it possible to observe the garments’ practical realities and challenge polemical historical sources concerning fashionable sixteenth- and seventeenth-century European dress.

Keywordsreconstruction; dress; farthingales; experimental dress; methodology; embodied knowledge
Year2019
JournalFashion Theory
Journal citation23 (3), pp. 363-399
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISSN1362-704X
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1080/1362704X.2019.1603862
Scopus EID2-s2.0-85065414841
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range363-399
Publisher's version
License
All rights reserved
File Access Level
Controlled
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online03 May 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Jun 2021
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