When I was painting some of the Unicorn tapestries to my living room wall in this project, I already thought about writing a studying page for the costumes in the tapestries and eventually make one or two of them – but that’s still a project for the future.
When studying the tapestries I soon found that many of the costumes shown there use the same patterned brocades – in different colors or sometimes even in the same colors. While I was painting them, I started to ask myself which fabrics I would need to actually make all costumes shown in the tapestries, and wondered how many actual gowns I would have to make if some of them were shown several times.
So… here’s a study costume by costume in each tapestry first; and below that you can find a fabric-wise list of the costumes.
The ‘Desire’ tapestry shows two costumes: The gown of the ‘Lady’ and that of the servant.
She seems to wear the same golden underdress as in the ‘Desire’ tapestry, at least the pattern is the same but it seems as if for the ‘Desire’ tapestry it had been woven with more colors (and now it’s open for discussion if that was only done in the tapestry or if the real fabric was also woven with more colors). This fabric pattern – or perhaps the complete underdress – also appears on the overdress in the ‘Sight’ tapestry.
It’s impossible to make out any lining on this underdress.
The overdress seems to be made of dark blue / slightly dark greenish velvet because of the structure that has been woven into it. It seems to be lined with the same red brocade of which the servant’s dress in the ‘Desire’ tapestry is made of and which also appears in blue colors on the Lady’s underdress in the ‘Sight’ tapestry and the servant’s overdress in the ‘Smell’ tapestry.
The Lady is also wearing something that strongly reminds me of the jewelled partlets which Eleonora di Toledo seemed to have much loved, as they appear in many of her portraits:
The same kind of partlet also appears in the ‘Desire’ costume.
I think the underdress could be the same material as the servant’s overdress in the ‘Smell’ tapestry – a slightly changeant, light- / mid blue brocade with a darker pattern or – as I have already written for said servant’s costume – it could also be some kind of ‘quilted’ fabric.
It’s difficult to determine the color of the lining – at the front there seems to be a bit that seems to show a cream / peach lining. but in the right side of the picture, there seems to be a red lining showing.
The overdress could be made of the same fabric as the underdress in the ‘Desire’ tapestry. Though it doesn’t seem too much likely, by comparing the pattern on the (in the picture) left sleeve on this gown with the pattern on the skirt in the ‘Desire’ tapestry, I think there’s some kind of likeliness.
The overdress seems to be lined with red velvet – I’m thinking that it’s velvet because of the obvious ‘structure’ that seems to be woven into it.
Fabrics used on the costumes