Whalebone and the wardrobe of Elizabeth I : Whaling and the making of aristocratic fashions in sixteenth-century Europe

Journal article


Bendall, Sarah. (2022). Whalebone and the wardrobe of Elizabeth I : Whaling and the making of aristocratic fashions in sixteenth-century Europe. Apparence(s). 11, pp. 1-23. https://doi.org/10.4000/apparences.3653
AuthorsBendall, Sarah
Abstract

[English] During the sixteenth century the bodies of Europe’s elites began to change in size and form as both men and women adopted wide starched ruffs and collars, ballooning sleeves, stiffened or bombast upper garments and puffy lower garments. This early modern aristocratic body was the result of many different ideas that emerged during the sixteenth century, such as self-control, civility and physical uprightness. Often overlooked in explanations of late sixteenth-century fashions is the availability of new raw materials that allowed artisans to fabricate clothing that portrayed these aristocratic ideals. This article traces the emergence of baleen, an animal material derived from whales, in the wardrobe of Elizabeth I of England, to argue that the emergence of the queen’s recognisable early modern aristocratic European silhouette was closely tied to this industry and the trading networks it created. The use of whalebone to create the ostentatious fashions of the late sixteenth century demonstrate that fashion and whaling have been inextricably linked since at least the sixteenth century.

[Français] Au cours du XVIe siècle, les silouettes des élites européennes se sont profondément transformées avec l’adoption par les hommes et les femmes de larges collerettes et cols amidonnés, de manches bouffantes, de corsages et pourpoints raidis au crin ou rembourrés et de hauts de chausse ou jupons amples. Ce corps aristocratique des débuts de l'ère moderne était le résultat de nouveaux idéaux aristocratiques apparus au cours du XVIe siècle, telles que la maîtrise de soi, la civilité et la droiture physique. Les analyses de la mode de la fin du XVIe siècle oublient parfois pourtant de se pencher sur les matériaux, souvent nouveaux, qui permettaient aux artisans de sculpter les vêtements et donner forme ainsi à ces idéaux aristocratiques. Cet article retrace l'émergence de l’utilisation des fanons de baleine dans la garde-robe d'Elizabeth I d'Angleterre pour montrer que la silhouette si reconnaissable de la reine devenue emblême de la silhouette artistocratique des débuts de l’époque moderne était étroitement liée à la pêche baleinière et aux réseaux commerciaux qui la sous-tendaient. L'utilisation des fanons de baleine pour créer les modes ostentatoires de la fin du XVIe siècle montre que mode et chasse à la baleine sont inextricablement liées depuis au moins le XVIe siècle.

Keywordswhalebone; Elizabeth I; aristocratic fashion; tailoring; whaling; fanons de baleine; Elizabeth I; mode aristocratique; méthodes de construction; pêche à la baleine
Year2022
JournalApparence(s)
Journal citation11, pp. 1-23
PublisherInstitut de Recherches Historiques du Spetentrion, Universite de Lille III
ISSN1954-3778
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4000/apparences.3653
Open accessOpen access
Research or scholarlyResearch
Page range1-23
Publisher's version
License
File Access Level
Open
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online11 Feb 2022
Publication process dates
Deposited09 Mar 2022
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