England had once a great and powerful ruler…a woman that amazed the world with her intelligence, judgment and power in a world where men had absolute control. Elizabeth Tudor, daughter of Henry VIII of England and of the renegade Anne Boleyn, was that magnificent women, a glorious queen…Gloriana (named after Edmund Spenser’s character in the poem “The Fairie Queen” )or the Virgin Queen.
Elizabeth I of England became queen when she was 25 years old, in 1558 until her death in 1603. One of the longest reigns of England’s history and one of the greatest. The Golden age was named the period of her supremacy.
Elisabeth was not a beautiful women yet she was pleasant by her appearance. But she was smart; she was speaking Latin, German and French. Her character was temperamental, inherited from her father but also from her mother, yet she was diplomatic when the duty was asking that.
This woman was feared, by her politics, strategies, acts and success on the battlefield, by Spain, France, and Rome considered the greatest powers of that time.
She succeeds to bring stability in a country shackled by religious polemics.
She never married and never had children and so the reign of Tudor’s dynasty ended with her.
Elizabeth was a great patron of arts and especially theater, the queen being the patron of the considered greatest writer of all times – William Shakespeare.
What is also stunning is her wardrobe. She was a loving clothes and fashion. She was dressing to make an impression to all. No one was allowed to dress more sumptuous than her. The way how she dressed was reveling to everybody her statute of Queen. She was wearing all colors but white and black were among the favorites. The dressed had rich lace and embroideries.
So, a costume for a woman was compose by:
-Smock or shift, also calleda chemise made of linen
-Stockings or hose
-Corset or bodice
-Farthingale – a hooped skirt
-A Roll or Rowle
The ruff is a collar large and round. It is also pleated and detachable.
The jewels were amazing- pearls, diamonds, precious stones. Her appearance was amazing almost an illusion.
Also, it can be observed the make-up of Elizabeth I. www.elizabethi.org gives a good image of how that was.
„The Queen was never fully dressed without her make-up. In the early years she wore little, but following her attack of the smallpox in 1562, she would wear quite a lot to cover up the scars left on her face. She would paint her face with white lead and vinegar, put rouge on her lips, and paint her cheeks with red dye and egg white. This make-up was very bad for her health, particularly the white lead, as it slowly poisoned the body. While the Elizabethan tried very hard to take care of their teeth, and knew that to keep them clean was to keep them healthy, they did not have very sophisticated dental care, and teeth rotted. As a consequence, Elizabeth had to have several teeth removed as she grew older. To prevent the appearance of hollow cheeks, she would stuff rags into her mouth. It was very fashionable to wear a wig, and the Queen did so from a young age.”
She had a great influence on fashion in what historians called Elizabethan Era.
It was complicated to wear such a costume that time. Actually, Elizabeth was very strict. She was guided by specific laws called Sumptuary Laws.
The definition of these laws is: “The word sumptuary comes from the Latin word which means expenditure. Sumptuary Laws were imposed by rulers to curb the expenditure of the people! Such laws might apply to food, beverages, furniture, jewelry and clothing. These Laws were used to control behavior and ensure that a specific class structure was maintained. Sumptuary Laws dated back to the Romans![ …] Queen Elizabeth I continued to use the Sumptuary Laws, just as her father and sister had done before her. Elizabethan Sumptuary Laws dictated what color and type of clothing individuals were allowed to own and wear an easy and immediate way to identify rank and privilege”. (www.elizabethan-era.org.uk)
Many portraits of her remained as testimonies. Later, opera, theater and the big screen bring her “alive” in front of us.
She was interpreted by Sarah Bernhard, Bette Davies, Flora Robson, Glenda Jackson, Anne Marie Duff, Helen Mirren and, my favorite, Cate Blanchett.
Elizabeth I in paintings
Actresses interpreting Elizabeth I
…if I was Gloriana…
I was wearing a vintage blouse with lace, golden textile, Romanian marama, no name golden belt, vintage and no name jewels.
À bientôt !