Gallica Volume 3

Fashion in medieval France

Gallica issn 1749–091X General editor: sarah Kay

Gallica aims to provide a forum for the best current work in medieval French studies. literary studies are particularly welcome and preference is given to works written in english, although publication in French is not excluded. Proposals or queries should be sent in the first instance to the editor, or to the publisher, at the addresses given below; all submissions receive prompt and informed consideration. Professor sarah Kay, department of French and italian, Princeton University, 303 east Pyne, Princeton, nJ 08544, Usa The managing editor, Gallica, Boydell & Brewer ltd., Po Box 9, Woodbridge, suffolk iP12 3dF, UK already Published 1 Postcolonial Fictions in the ‘Roman de Perceforest’: Cultural Identities and Hybridities, sylvia huot 2 A Discourse for the Holy Grail in Old French Romance, Ben ramm

Fashion in medieval France

Sarah-Grace Heller

d. s. BreWer

without the prior permission of the copyright owner The right of sarah-Grace heller to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the copyright. performed in public. designs and Patents act 1988 First published 2007 d. recorded or reproduced in any form or by any means. rochester. a catalogue record for this title is available from the British library This publication is printed on acid-free paper Typeset by carnegie Book Production. suffolk iP12 3dF. UK and of Boydell & Brewer inc. chippenham. Wiltshire . s. transmitted. cambridge isBn 978 1 84384 110 4 d. nY 14620.© sarah-Grace heller 2007 All Rights Reserved. Brewer is an imprint of Boydell & Brewer ltd Po Box 9.boydellandbrewer. lancaster Printed in Great Britain by antony rowe. Woodbridge. adapted. stored in a retrieval system. except as permitted under current legislation no part of this work may be photocopied.published. 668 mt hope avenue. Usa website: www. broadcast. Brewer.

contents acknowledgements introduction 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Sine qua non of a Fashion system The Birth of Fashion desire for novelty and Unique expression Words for Fashion The desire for spending money The development of shopping The seduction of the Well-draped Form Bibliography index ix 1 15 46 61 95 120 148 172 181 197 .


For my parents. Tom and mary heller .


and inspiration. P. a mentor. i would like to thank vic verrette for showing me the romance language path. for his attentive readings of the manuscript in all its stages. who made me come upstairs from the costume shop. editor of this series. sarah Johnston. For their daily sustenance and patience. Grateful thanks for early and continued guidance on the project go to susan noakes. akehurst. Tom and mary heller. and many others who have lent interdisciplinary perspectives and enthusiasm. . a great debt is owed dick davis. friend. nick howe. at Grinnell college. particularly rebecca haidt. and all the other members of the ohio state University department of French and italian for their continued support. i thank my parents. and ronald martinez of Brown University. F. and Kathryn reyerson of the University of minnesota. The manuscript was also much strengthened thanks to the comments of sarah Kay. r. Judith mayne. heather Webb. Graeme Boone. and Kyle Baith and lucia myrtle. whose arrival coincides with that of this book. and to my many wonderful colleagues at the center for medieval and renaissance studies. ellen mease for her challenging introductions to critical literature. and Pip Gordon.acknowledgements a significant portion of the work on this book was made possible through the generous support of the ohio state University college of humanities. Thanks go to diane Birckbichler.


dates given in this book are nearly always approximations. That time when everything grows gay because you see no bush nor hedge de lorris and de meun. 1 . Translations are my own throughout. Those who are familiar with the old French literature of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries may find that astonishing. Take for instance an opening passage in one of the most famous and influential of thirteenth-century texts. li bois recuevrent lor verdure. and often extensively debated by scholars. particularly in art and costume history. 1225–40). Cambridge Companion.c. have argued and accepted that fashion was not really born before around 1350. Guillaume de lorris’ Roman de la Rose (c.... si set si cointe robe feire que de colors i a . 49–66). el tens ou toute rien s’esgaie que l’en ne voit buisson ne haie qui en may parer ne se veille et couvrir de novele fuelle.. The narrator-protagonist sets the scene in may. The earth and all the bushes are pleased to wear new clothes: avis m’iere qu’il estoit mais . la terre meïsmes s’orgueille por la rosee qui la mueille. et oublie la povreté ou ele a tot l’iver esté.introduction scholars. except as noted. l’erbe et les flors blanches et perses et de maintes colors diverses. lors devient la terre si gobe qu’el velt avoir novele robe. relying either on the most recent scholarship or to the selective chronology in Krueger. since very concise descriptions of fashionable clothing abound in that corpus.1 it seems to me that it was may . c’est la robe que je devise. Le Roman de la Rose (lines 45. peire. por quoi la terre mielz se prise. dates of medieval works are rarely certain. qui sunt sec tant come yver dure.

. i washed my hands. and blooms of many varied colors. 433–5. or leather). curiously sewing his sleeves in a zigzag stitch: de mon lit tantost me levé. and where the stylish elite distinguished themselves by devising them according to their tastes and means. braies (undergarments 3 2 . such is the robe that i describe in which the earth takes so much pride. The recovering woods green out after being dry as long as winter lasts. cousant mes manches a videle. put on my chausses. 4 old French terms indicating under-layers of clothing such as chausses (close-fitting leggings worn under robes primarily by men. pp. earth herself makes herself splendid blushing moistened by the dew. wool. she is skilled at making stylish robes. lines 89–99. and the theme of the reverdie or the may-tide reclothing of the earth in green is commonplace in medieval lyric poetry. schulze-Busacker. because her palate has two hundred hues: the grass.2 What is remarkable in Guillaume de lorris’ version of the trope is earth’s pride in her splendor. of silk.4 curtius. metaphors imposed on the natural cycle of spring from the register of a commercial economy where new clothes were exciting. hors de vile oi talent d’aler por oïr des oisiaus les sons. chauçai moi et mes mains lavé. she wants to have a brand new gown.. pp.2 sarah-Grace heller that fails to put on fine array and clothe itself in new leaves. prized. the narrator enters the spring day. and white and dark blue flowers. and her skill in ordering new clothing. European Literature. “Topoi”. de lorris and de meun. si prins l’aiguille a enfiler. m’an vois lors tot sol esbatant . preparing to enter the world (and fall in love) by dressing himself well. The topos of praising nature and spring in descriptions of the locus amoenus (pleasance) is a classical one. 195–200. Le Roman de la Rose. qui chantent desus les buissons en icele saison novele. as the dream tale continues. lors trés une aguille d’argent d’un aiguillier mignot et gent. This makes vain earth swell up so proud.3 straight away from bed i rose. and forgets the poverty she dwelt in all winter long.

fr. Tant cant si poinet a caussar no. Histoire du costume. 90. whose calls are heard above each bush and tree in this brand-new season.l poc ges hom la tor emblar. so dressed. i set off alone . These details are worth remarking. de flors indes et perses” for line 63. Poirion. the protagonist Guillaume dresses himself with noteworthy attention to sartorial detail after a dreamed meeting with the god of love. 5 daniel Poirion’s edition. or quickly done in slap-dash slipstitches. as well as the type of stitch he uses: an ostentatious zigzag. pp. The lover-narrator does not describe himself as simply dressing. . 6 cf.. 1559 of the late thirteenth century) reads “D’erbes. un mantel vert ap pena grisa a mes sot si a la fenestra. of linen or hemp). mais us bels estivals biais which could be roughly translated as breeches or drawers. langlois. based on observations of nature. not a more modest lateral stitch as seen on some extant sculptures. Tot bellamen si vest e.n. li tor estai a la man destra. noted by i leave them untranslated to avoid confusion. her new gown contains hundreds of different colors but especially pers and in some manuscripts inde. from a charming needle holder and set to drawing thread through its eye.inTrodUcTion 3 then drew out a silver needle. 185. the figures in Quicherat. 1260–80). and chemises (undershirts or slips. also of linen or hemp) have no exact modern equivalent. and also for their emphasis on artifice. and to emphasize their distinct styles. fr. Le Roman de la Rose.6 The zigzag requires significant sartorial proficiency and ambidextrous ability.n. i felt like going outside the walls to hear the song of birds.. rejoicing. popular and costly dye colors in the thirteenth century. on the term “zig-zag”. in the occitan romance known as Flamenca (c. which follows the Z manuscript family (base text B. sewing on my sleeves with zig-zag stitches. throwing on some clothes in the insouciant style one might expect from observing the habits of some young men. “vizele”. first for their prominence at the very beginning of the work.5 dark shades of blue: prized. nor something invisible. 25523. he specifies sewing his sleeves with a silver needle drawn from a handsome and stylish case. close to the earlier manuscript B. especially for a person sewing on a garment while wearing it. spring does not wear a dress of light greens and fresh floral tones as one might expect. e non ac sabbata ni caus[s]a.s caussa. he gazes towards the tower where his beloved is imprisoned: em braias fon et en camisa.

men. does Guillaume not clearly have his own personal style here? he follows aristocratic modes of sumptuous dress in all respects. even to the point where they hinder easy dressing by their tight fit. having the exotic effect of being a prestigious possession imported from the right place. he placed a green cape lined in grey squirrel under him on the window sill. This portrait conveys that he has wealth: that much is incontestable. his boots are not reputed for comfort. too. rather. they are lightweight and carefully styled. and can give a false impression of the degree to 7 huchet. were at the forefront of consumption and display through the middle ages (and arguably up to the late eighteenth century). but what the author emphasizes is his distinctive interpretation of the standard elite model. his are distinctive leggings. The thirteenth-century ideal hero is repeatedly represented as an individual who strove for distinction in appearance. he would never wear a pair of silk chausses unless no one could peel them off. displaying his individual body and all its virtues. lines 2192–203. They are imported from a named merchant city. or one-size-fits-all (like slippers) or utilitarian (like sabots or heavy work shoes). caussas de sais non caussera si ben hom tant non la[s] tirera. douai. . his shoes. sumptuous and fashionable are not necessarily synonyms. While the invectives of moralists and satirists are often directed at the vanity of women. are distinctive. Flamenca.4 sarah-Grace heller que foron fag ins a doais. he is portrayed as a man who can casually throw a rich fur-lined mantel of luxurious fabric over the windowsill. having primary control of finances and selection. it should be noted. as he worked to put on his chausses he could not turn his gaze from the tower. this was often motivated by rhetorical tradition or competition for financial control. The narrator makes it clear that he does not blunder indiscriminately into just any sort of trousers. but fine lightweight pointed boots that had been made in douai. he dresses in elegant clothes and chausses: he wore neither work shoes nor slippers. They set him apart from all the other mediocre young lovers who would wear any breeches as long as they were of a rich fabric. is that not fashion? The examples of fashion in noble male characters in thirteenth-century literature are numerous. contrary to the notion that ornament and shopping have ever been the exclusive domain of women. The tower was on the right-hand side. in his dressing Guillaume does not merely dress. emphasized twice in the passage.7 he was in braies and a chemise. Guillaume’s chausses must fit him distinctively. however.

car mout erent en grant tooil les jens Jehan d’apparillier 8 Then anyone would see the displaying of lengths of linen. 1230–43). et es costés par les fenestres Pendre drap d’or et tant d’escarlate Qui ne sont pas fourré de nate. all taking a newfound pride in appearance: Qui donques veïst desploiier Toiles de lin et couvrir rues si dru que nus n’i voit les nues. the entire town is dressed up. for it had been with great pains that Jehan’s people had dressed up the town. were engaged in the pursuit of the new.” so say all who see the display. and ermine! in dammartin there was not a servant girl. women and people of lesser status such as the bourgeoisie or courtly companions. The hanging of cloth in the streets for a triumphal entry was both a common practice and a descriptive trope in the middle ages. in this particular text. Font cil qui voient l’apparoil. vallet ne bourgois ne bourgoise a qui li quers mout ne renvoise Quant il voient tele leur vile: “ceste feste n’est mie a guile”. (lines 5644–59). the stylish and the distinctive.inTrodUcTion 5 which they were free to consume. Jehan et Blonde. so many that no one could see the clouds. but in squirrel. perceptible in the passage quoted above from Guillaume de lorris in which all the hedges and bushes wanted new clothes in keeping with the desires of the allegorized springtime. . and hanging by the sides of the windows so much cloth of gold and scarlet woolens – not lined in matted furs. and its townspeople of all social stations with it. miniver. mais de vair. This atmosphere of generalized desire for the new. dressing up the streets. a townsman nor a townswoman whose heart did not rejoice greatly when they saw their town so: “This celebration is no trick. a valet. in honor of the initiation of the protagonist Jehan’s rule as count. With that caveat. de gris et d’ermine! entour dammartin n’eut mescine. finds an urban echo in Philippe de remi’s Jehan et Blonde (c. indeed whole towns. the 8 Philippe de remi.

no matter how powerful a man he might be. clerics. extant historical documents such as the French royal sumptuary laws promulgated in 1279 and 1294 testify to interest in new clothes and the status they imply on the part of many social groups. emphasizing the admiration that the improved appearance solicits from all onlookers: their hearts were gladdened to see the splendor. et cil ne puit avoir par an que iiij paire. may have made or possess more than two sets of robes per year. companions. “ordonnance somptuaire”. The romance supports the fantasy that novelty. ne bers. ne prelaz. and that no squire.] 9 however. unless he has four thousand pounds tournois a year in rents or more. fine-quality. What is important in this particular example is the demonstration of how successful this improvement method is. if he does not have more than seven thousand pounds tournois a year in rents. and mantle/cape) such men would be allowed annually: il est ordené que nus ne dux. ne puisse faire ne avoir en un anz plus de iiij paires de robes vaires. de tournois. ne face ne n’ait que ij paires de robes par an. prelate. ne autres. signifying the whole layered ensemble of cote. They seek to improve their town using the same methods which people would use to show that their social status had improved: by showing off brightly dyed. ou se il n’estoit fiuz de cel qui les eut. se n’avoit iiij mile livrées de terre par an tournois ou plus. all now raised out of poverty by his triumphant adventures. after attempting to limit the number of daily meals for noble men and clerics to three. [it is ordered that no duke. se il n’avoit plus de vij mile livrées de terre à tournois. The ostentatious materials they were consuming and the number of new outfits they wished to have per year are clearly a cause for concern. surcoat. ne dont l’aune de Paris conte plus de xxx s. combien qu’il soit riche homs. or unless he is the son of a man who does. and town dwellers are not neglected. count. soit clers soit lais. efforts to improve appearance receive positive attention. wives. men of wealth receive the greatest number of privileges in these attempts at regulating visual status according to income. ne cuens. baron or anyone else. et que nus escuiers. and if he does he may not have more than five.6 sarah-Grace heller villagers collectively cover their buildings and streets with the same fine fabrics which they wear. This concern would 9 duplès-augier. et cil n’en pourrait avoir qu v au plus. the statutes address the number and cost of new fur-lined outfits (“pairs of robes”. in 1279. nor whose cloth costs more than 30 sous tournois. the same types of fabrics which Jehan gives as gifts to two dozen new knights and to his family members. and as such he may have no more than four sets. unique style and ostentatious appearance will garner approval and increase an individual or group’s social importance. Beyond the narrative fantasies of romance. . whether cleric or layman. may have made or possess in a year more than four pairs of robes lined in vair fur. expensive textiles.

compare these. income thresholds. since the period self-described as the renaissance. it relies on communication for its existence. forbidding vair. This book argues that fashion is above all a conceptual system. to the eighteen statutes that concern men primarily or exclusively. miniver. These regulations will be treated in further depth in chapters 3 and 5. Wives of noblemen of various levels of status were allowed as many outfits as their husbands in four different statutes. as well as desire on the part of many social groups to have more new changes of clothing in a year. They also speak of a social reality underlying the desires and fantasies represented in narrative works. if any. or noblewomen who are not chatelaines or in possession of two thousand pounds in rent a year. these laws reveal shifts in fabric prices. overall. precious stones. That descriptions of ideal clothing expressing degrees of uniqueness. not merely a visual one. individual judgment. attempts to gain social recognition – and even love – through public display of individual taste and refinement characterize the actions of many members of modern society. the middle ages have often been presented as antithetical to all that is modern: an age of darkness. some assumptions about the definitions and dating of “renaissances” and modernity deserve re-examination. Fashion is a result of a subjective. not a mere poet’s dream. total lack of progress. crowns of silver and gold for the bourgeoisie. is more important than it might initially appear. another statute sets the limit at one new outfit a year for unmarried women. or the six that treat gifts of clothing given to the companions or squires of noblemen and prelates. no object is inherently fashionable. the object remains only an object. and barbaric social practices. accelerating consumption was real. and consciousness of the complex social ladder over the course of a quarter century. it does not have any value until declared desirable or useful in a social situation. if such attempts also characterize thirteenth-century French society. The existence of fashion in thirteenth-century French literature undermines this notion of a clear watershed of cultural development. medieval fashion and written or poetic expression must be studied together because fashion and expression are intrinsically linked. The search for the ultimate in visible. which must. as the statutes of 1294 give this issue specific attention. social distinction. consume. never gaining (or losing) social importance and not realizing much.inTrodUcTion 7 appear to be an increasing one. The assertion that fashion and . The renaissance is reputed to be the age of the birth of the individual. seen in sources from the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries in northern and southern France. The finest furs were denied to clerics of lower status. if a judgment is not communicated. and ermine fur as well as gold. however. paradoxically. the beginnings of modern science and of the vital world marketplace. of its potential role for symbolic communication in human relationships. men had more freedom to select. except on their hats. personal distinction and attraction appear in vernacular romance books is not mere happenstance. and also decide what others would wear. be agreed upon by a group.

. moreover. where greater value is placed on the old and respected than on the new and innovative in various kinds of social problem-solving (everything from how to educate scholars to how to govern the polis to what to wear). at times the presence of one criterion is highlighted. the criteria must implicitly be functioning together. in contrast would be a traditional society. here they are. when it has been addressed. disciplinary interests and methods have limited the questions writers have asked about the nature of fashion. (2) in a fashion system. Fashion has after all constituted its own genre of journalism for several centuries. They are rather a kind of matrix. chapter 1 will examine the rationale and contributing scholarship for each principle or criterion. Before something is fashionable. only in recent years have scholars taken it seriously as an object worthy of study. despite the many diverse contributions. Fashion.8 sarah-Grace heller expression must be studied together has important consequences. and they will constitute the primary object of this study. but if fashion plays a dominant role in a society. paradoxical. Words are crucial evidence for locating the growth stages of a fashion system. and that desire must be advertised to a group. some readers may be surprised to find that this is a book about fashion without pictures. in brief: (1) a fashion system produces a relative disqualification of the past. and the sources at their disposal: sociologists have produced markedly different theories from psychologists. which this book attempts to resolve by describing a set of ten criteria for determining such a system’s presence in a culture. systematic change. one of the first problems a study of fashion must confront is the staggering quantity of publication on the topic. and complex. when fashion was discussed it often appeared as a by-product of investigation into some other problem. Previously. a comprehensive working definition of fashion is still needed. (3) Fashion represents a means of individual expression within a framework of social imitation. each one related to several others. This is the focus of chapter 1. anthropologists. they should not be understood in a linear manner or as ranked in order of importance. as opposed to a social system where change is sporadic and irregular. they must be worked upon by the value-conferring power of words. or novelists. which proposes to develop a synthesis of fashion’s mechanisms. while far from the mere frivolity which has characterized some analysis of it. But before simple items become items of fashionable consumption and imitation. although these criteria are numbered for the sake of easy reference throughout the study. is undeniably fickle. there is society-wide desire for constant. due to a particular concept of time that privileges the new. Formulating a working definition of what a fashion system is and how it functions presents many challenges. adopting a rigorously interdisciplinary approach to arrive at something more holistic and widely applicable. it must be desired.



(4) in societies where fashion is present, consumption and appearance play a significant role in the emotions and the human subconscious. a fashionable society features an esthetic cult of the self, encouraging unique and distinctive consumption in the interest of developing one’s confidence and increasing one’s value in the eyes of others. (5) in a fashion system, change occurs in superficial forms rather than in major ones. The surface details of a relatively constant, slowly evolving silhouette are what are open to change and thus become outlets for self-expression through visible personal choice. radical attempts to alter major silhouettes (for example changing a garment form, such as substituting men’s trousers for skirts) are met with great resistance. (6) Fashion systems follow a theatrical logic of excess and exaggeration. Fashion is theatrical in that it necessarily involves conspicuous consumption. it is a performance, requiring an educated audience to be effective. The phrase “logic of excess and exaggeration” refers to how incremental changes in details accumulate, eventually developing a fashionable form to an extreme point at which time a dramatic switchback occurs. Trendsetters move either towards greater conservatism or towards greater audacity in order to preserve their distinction; less savvy imitators may exaggerate a fashion past the point of distinctive discretion to the point of appearing gauche, excessive, or awkward. (7) Words constitute the economy that gives and denies fashionable value to forms. in this way, fashion is performative, the result of the right person declaring something fashionable in the presence of the right audience. This point is important, because it dictates the need to study fashion through texts and words conveying fashionability and desire to consume, innovate, and express individual distinction. (8) in a fashion system, criticism is constantly aroused by the rejection of the past and the tendency for continual changes. criticism and disapproval help to perpetuate the system by establishing an old view or product, or somehow a contrary one, against which to innovate and create something new. (9) a fashion system places value on pleasure, making seduction a social norm. consumption of fashionable objects is seen as a means of gaining attention and approval, and from those things, pleasure. (10) Because a major goal in a fashion system is consumption at the greatest possible level, when such a system is established there is a gradual movement towards equalization of appearances and accessibility to all social groups. Fashion has frequently been called a democratizing force for this reason. individual groups (groups based on socio-economics, profession, gender, race or ethnicity, and so on) create methods of maintaining distinction, but the possibility remains open for social mobility based on the ability to create objects worthy of consumption or based on the skillful manipulation of impressive appearances. By making all things


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subject to change, a fashion system eventually destabilizes most sacred institutions, making them open to experimentation.

The opinion that fashion, as we now know it, did not exist before the fourteenth century, a view studied in chapter 2, appears primarily in the work of scholars concentrating on visual evidence of the history of dress. While the contribution of these scholars is indisputably important, it risks misrepresenting many aspects of fashion history. For the thirteenth century, visual evidence is limited to cathedral sculptures, some funeral bronzes, and a moderate number of miniatures – fewer than in subsequent centuries when miniature painting and elaborate book production became more fully developed spheres of consumption. When images are few, rough, or decayed, visual scholars tend to find little fashion. From what images they have, they attempt to decide what was fashionable: pointed shoes, long sleeves, neckline brooches and so on. The problem is that fashion is not simply the sum of all the noticeable or representable objects. it is above all the desires that motivate the production, display and placement of those objects. a fashion system is never static: it is its nature to solicit constant change. Where there are static and rigid codes of appearance which censor visual display, it is not present as the defining, shaping force it has come to be in many urbanized areas of the West. To study fashion’s presence we must look beyond visual images to expressions of desire for distinction, uniqueness and admiration. The notion that words constitute the economy of fashion (criterion 7) dictates in different ways the approaches of several of the book’s later chapters, which study specific aspects of emerging French fashion system over the “long” thirteenth century (c. 1160–1330). chapter 3 explores expressions of the desire for novelty (criteria 1 and 2) in vernacular narratives, looking at occasions when characters get new clothes and how they are described as attempting to create unique appearances (criteria 3, 4 and 5) and impress others by so doing (criteria 6 and 9). chapter 4 studies the role words play in a fashion system from a philological standpoint, examining a set of old French and occitan words related to cointerie, describing stylish, elegant, desirable objects and behavior, which have not previously been recognized as linked to the semantics of fashion. This section obviously focuses on criterion 7, but also touches on criteria 3 and 4, examining how cointerie signals personal and social distinction; on criterion 6, as lovers stage themselves for public approval; on criterion 9, as the term is linked to sexual appeal; and on criterion 8, looking at how fashion arouses anxiety and criticism. after establishing that most of the criteria are in play in French urban society in this period, the book turns to some of the sociological mechanisms involved in the development of the nascent fashion system. chapter 5 examines representations of the need for personal spending money in vernacular texts, essential for making distinctive individual choices in display, something that is impossible when a gift system is dominant or when coin is too scarce to allow for shopping. This section enters into analysis of criterion 10 to some degree, looking at how access to fashionable distinction



is opened up to groups beyond the highest elite. shopping is the topic of chapter 6, which studies representations of how new things were obtained and whether individual choices (criteria 3, 4 and 5) could be expressed in those transactions, looking at the roles played by different members of the social hierarchy. it also looks at how shopping began to occur in different geographies such as noble manors or emerging commercial cities such as Paris. moving beyond these relatively abstract studies of the desires for consumption expressed in texts, chapter 7 turns to look at the specific materials and styles characteristic of the thirteenth-century look, which has been dismissed as simple, undeveloped, and unisex by some, celebrated as elegant by others. This last chapter briefly surveys how newly available and more abundant materials were employed to create an attention-getting profile. international trade and the desire for the exotic are clearly key aspects of fashion, so an apology is due for limiting this book’s scope to a case study of nascent fashion in France. it is worth remarking that the French have arguably seen fashion as worthy of serious inquiry longer than have the scholars of other national traditions, and indeed seem to have long been significantly selfconscious about a national preoccupation with fashion.10 The importance of fashion to French cultural identity can, for instance, be observed in montaigne’s remark that he would excuse “in our people” the fault of not having anything better to do than perfecting their own manners and customs, since that is “a universal vice”, but he had to complain about the particularly French “indiscretion” of constantly changing opinions about clothing,11 or in the eighteenth-century Dictionnaire sentencieux, which defined fashion as “ways of dressing, writing and behaving which make the French twist round and round in a thousand different ways to make themselves out more gracious, more charming and often more ridiculous.” 12 suggesting a crucial link between writing and the mentality of fashionable consumption, some of the earliest – and some of the most lucid – theories of fashion have emerged from what we would now consider the literary realm, although these contributions are not often recognized by fashion historians. honoré de Balzac sought to describe
10 When herbert Blumer issued his “invitation to sociologists to take seriously the topic of fashion”, his bibliography was slim, limited only to english-language works. Blumer, “Fashion”. sima Godfrey contrasted the intricate association “if not collusion” of “the heady world of French letters and the bodily world of fashion” with the anglo-american perspective, which lacks such a close association. she suggested that it is easy for a “familiar sort of puritanical discourse” to condemn both fashion itself and Gallic critical theory as trivial and passing, “mere fashion.” she offered a different argument, one which is really a call for study: “it is not that the French read their letters lightly – loin de là – but that they read their fashion, and have consistently done so in modern times, seriously.” see Godfrey, ‘Fashion and Fashionability’, p. 12. see also Wells, “of critics and the catwalk”, p. 72. on fashion still making many american academics uncomfortable, see steele, “The F-word”. sumner, Folkways, pp. 184–5. 11 montaigne, Les Essais, 1. 329. 12 caraccioli, Dictionnaire critique, s.v. “mode”.


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the life of leisure in his Traité de la vie élégante,13 calling “la fashion” a necessary ingredient in the life of “l’homme qui ne fait rien.” The poet and art critic charles Baudelaire defined fashion in the course of defining beauty and modernity in his essays on constantin Guys, promoting this little-known artist by describing how he captured the “spirit of modern life.” 14 While the tradition of French authors theorizing fashion has particularly flourished since the nineteenth century,15 it also includes such earlier figures as montaigne and, as this book argues, even medieval French writers such as Guillaume de lorris. While certain French fashions have indisputably reigned supreme in the West, in the thirteenth century and at other times, it is readily clear that cultural hegemony does constantly shift, particularly where fashion is concerned, and that France is certainly not europe’s only fashion capital. italy’s role in the development of european fashion can hardly be denied.16 italians such as dante would contest France’s cultural hegemony in later generations,17 and milan’s runways now compete with those of Paris. The evidence of consumption found in sumptuary laws began to appear in France and italy in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries (the first extant law is from Genoa in 1157), spreading through much of the rest of europe thereafter.18 Joachim Bumke has described the influence that French fashions in clothing, armor, and courtly literature had on German practices, estimating that this influence was most marked in the years between 1170 and 1220, but extended from the eleventh to the fourteenth century, arousing the contempt of moralists.19 surrounding regions such as england, Burgundy, and Flanders also both imitated and outpaced the French at various points in the middle ages and later. Ultimately, France can still be considered the defending fashion capital over the centuries. antoine Furetière illustrated this long-held position in his 1690 Dictionnaire universel, in his definition of the word Mode: “said particularly of the manner of dressing following the customs of the court. The French are constantly changing fashion. Foreigners follow the French fashions, except for the spanish, who never change fashions.” 20 Francocentrism is peculiarly common even among modern French theorists, in contrast with the generalizing tendency common in anglophone and other scholarship. For instance, claude Javeau’s reasoning that sociological research on fashion was important rested on its illumination of many aspects of French

Balzac, “Traité de la vie élégante”, pp. 211–57. Baudelaire, Peintre de la vie moderne. 15 see Fortassier, Les écrivains français et la mode, pp. 43–57. 16 Placing the birth of italian fashion ahead of that of France, steele, Paris Fashion, pp. 17–18. 17 Brownlee, “The Practice of cultural authority”, pp. 258–69. 18 heller, “sumptuary legislation”, pp. 121–36; Killerby, Sumptuary Law in Italy, pp. 23–6. 19 Bumke, Courtly Culture, pp. 79–82. 20 Furetière, Dictionnaire universel, s.v. “mode.”


then. . This book.). 22 Bourdieu.” Javeau. referring to both its methodology and its empirical object. both in medieval court cultures and among the early bourgeoisie. had no counterparts elsewhere “at least for the arrogance of its cultural judgments. “Quelques réflexions”. xi–xiii. apologized for the “Frenchness” of the book. p. pp. directs its queries towards the written record. has importance for understanding the evolution of the Western fashion system. 250. in the preface to the english version of Distinction. Un grand nombre d’éléments de notre mode (m. For all that other peoples have imitated the French. the French themselves have long imported materials and amalgamated styles from other european capitals and more distant parts of the world.) de vie s’ordonnent autour du vêtement et des changements qui lui impose la mode (f. it begins with another: what is fashion? 21 “le vêtement joue dans notre culture un rôle capital.21 Pierre Bourdieu. asking: did fashion exist in the French middle ages? To answer that question.” 22 examining the mechanisms of distinction in France. Distinction.inTrodUcTion 13 culture. having directly inherited the habits of the ancien régime court society. the Parisian haute bourgeoisie which.


1 such criteria would help explain many of the otherwise inexplicable behaviors and products found in fashion-dominated cultures. but fashion systems have a major bearing on civilization. and in particular a way of perceiving the value of objects produced in great imitative quantities which were obviously popular in their own time. most commentators on fashion up to fairly recently have characterized it as either trivial or decadent. Système de la mode. or medieval cultures. They would offer a structure for analyzing trends in many objects of consumption. . such as in primitive. scholars who know those cultures will frequently claim its presence. but i would argue that the mechanisms of trade. a “fashion system. creativity and production that various vogues bring into being have shaped economies and cities. Yet when it comes to declaring where fashion is absent. ranking even lower in status than the decorative arts. it was long classified among the minor arts. Fads may be minor. There is the impression both that it exists to different degrees in different times and places.” a 1 Barthes. To come to terms with this problem and be able to speak with a common analytical vocabulary.1 Sine qua non of a Fashion system although it is one of the most commonplace terms in the modern lexicon. This argument contrasts with the sociologist William Graham sumner’s categorization of fashion as a mass phenomenon “on a lower grade than mores. controversial to analyze. there is a need for a set of criteria that represent the basic necessary conditions that must be present if fashion’s various aspects coalesce to become a dominant system in a culture. such as vogues for tight leggings or sewn sleeves. individual fashion trends. when fashion becomes systematically embedded in a society it connects many levels of life – from the collective economy to personal psychology – in a self-renewing cycle of creativity and production. and moreover tends to inspire demonstrations of scorn or devotion. “fashion” proves difficult to define. Though long considered a superficial frivolity. and that today’s urban fashion is more urgent and omnipresent than that of former days or less developed areas. ancient. but which have been dismissed by later generations as derivative and unoriginal.” to appropriate roland Barthes’ term. may not produce lasting contributions to society. its existence in a culture has far-ranging significance. those not making lasting contributions to civilization.

Adorned in Dreams. Blumer. constituent parts of its functioning. veblen. craik. p. Fashion is nothing if not complex. in one way or another. For example. L’empire de l’éphémère. p. The Face of Fashion. it is important to disengage the discussion of consumption from the level of moral polemic. Fashion’s paradoxes must be embraced as fundamental. . 122. p. some non-fashion 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 sumner. covering subjects from biology. Pour une critique.” but excuses his hesitation before the subject. Folkways. Fashion as a dominant social system would satisfy all the criteria.” 4 Jennifer craik has observed that fashion’s “slipperiness” as a concept has made it attractive to post-modernists. a symptom of decadence. and sociology to morality. lipovetsky. Ten criteria defining the existence and workings of fashion i propose a definition of fashion that bases evaluation on ten key criteria or principles. a dismissal that ultimately testifies to fashion’s complex and paradoxical functioning. 11–12. spencer. and psychological interactions in a culture. it is a social system that involves controversy as part of its functioning. while in the same breath calling it the key to understanding all the mechanisms of culture. 184–5. Theory of the Leisure Class. Gilles lipovetsky has called for deeper examination of fashion as a critical problem of great import for understanding the directions in which human society is evolving.3 in herbert spencer’s ten-volume Synthetic Philosophy. 9–13. i stress that this is a definition of fashion as a dominant social system regulating social. pp. Baudrillard. psychology. pp. at times arguing that consumption is a social ill. Wilson.5 Jean Baudrillard called fashion the most inexplicable thing in the world.” 2 many have condemned fashion as irrational.16 sarah-Grace heller force that makes the contemptible seem acceptable by covering “both absurdities and indecencies with the aegis of custom. 282.6 Baudrillard displays a notable example of an ambivalent attitude towards fashion. 7–8. Ceremonial Institutions. he acknowledged that to leave out fashion would “leave a gap. rather than the simple impulse towards ornament. economic. pp. complaints about them point to fashion’s very presence. so best to understand it as such rather than to engage in controversy while discussing it.7 elizabeth Wilson has likewise insisted on the need to discard any theory that does not allow fashion to be at once organized and contradictory. 47–66. “Fashion”. p. warning that fashion is a problem that has been solved too easily and that two-dimensional explanations of it must be discarded. 205.8 The seeming irrationality and incomprehensibility are aspects of the mechanisms of fashion which allow it to function and flourish in a culture. 82. some even say mysterious. saying “Fashion is difficult to deal with in a systematic manner. omnipresent and popular and yet highly complex. rational and irrational.

The robert offers. changing opinions every month. Terms such as passager in French. 9 . 53–4. usage or style”. pp. Goûts collectifs.v.v. (Paris: robert. “fleeting” or “of a specific place or time” in english.11 The emphasis on modernity in the subtitle of Baudelaire’s work.” cf. 1:329. s. one characteristic of a particular place or time. rather than as presented in order of importance or developmental appearance.” and “the mode of dress. a current usage. “4e. and as such offers a place to begin this list of principles.” 9 a fashionable society is distinguished by the presence of desire for novelty. 2nd edn (oxford: clarendon.” and more specific to clothing. Relative disqualification of the past produced by a new concept of time Fashion is fleeting The importance of time for the concept of fashion is prominent in dictionary definitions of the term. “a prevailing custom.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 17 systems will of course meet some of them. 1987)..” 10 montaigne. Constantin Guys: peintre de la vie moderne. “3e. among other definitions. instead of judging for oneself. s. s. 1989). reveals the importance he attached to time. forfeiting the originality derived from time’s stamp on experiences. Essais. “mode.” where he complains of the French indiscretion of being blinded by the authority of the styles of the moment. adopted in society for the time being. style of speech. with consideration of some of the critical debates regarding each one.v. “fashion” in Webster’s Third International Dictionary. Peintre de la vie moderne. such a tension is present in montaigne’s essay “des coustumes anciennes. The most obvious consequence of a desire for the new is a disregard or animosity toward the old. (new York: merriam. and specifically to the present. 11 Baudelaire. manières passagères de vivre. etc. in the following sections. or threads in a web.10 Baudelaire poured scorn on anyone who plunged too deeply into the past. esp. la mode. 1. Rejection of the recent past sometimes fashion can be detected by the presence of tension between those interested only in novelty and those calling (usually in vain) for greater reverence for the past. a notion of obsolescence. The reader is invited to view each principle as a spoke in a wheel. “fashion. each of these points is explored in greater depth. The Oxford English Dictionary gives. are typical qualifiers. “a prevailing usually short-lived custom. furniture. For him this meant losing memory of the present and abdicating the privileges conferred by circumstance.” Dictionnaire alphabétique et analogique de la langue française. etiquette. Oxford English Dictionary. de sentir qui paraissent de bon ton dans une société déterminée. 1966). habitudes collectives et passagères en matière de vêtement.

as much as a more destructive spirit of rejection. Blumer. The freedom and eventually the imperative to reject items of recent production. L’empire de l’éphémère. 37.14 a fashion system is initiated when a society begins to reject the past’s importance. 289. From the idea of fashion’s rejection of the past it followed for lipovetsky that fashion cannot exist in traditional societies where social superiority is accorded by ancestral legacy. it frees actions for new movement.” “backward” and “out-of-date. 39. 236. even those still serviceable. as Blumer observed. L’empire de l’éphémère. detachment from the hold of the past is no small contribution to the achievement of such freedom.” believing that this makes fashion a key force in the social operating system of “modernity.” 12 herbert Blumer’s analysis of fashion’s complex relation with time is worth quoting in entirety: [F]ashion serves to detach the grip of the past in a moving world. a way in which each generation can repudiate its immediate predecessor and distinguish itself from it. p. in this sense there is virtue in applying the derogatory accusations of being “old-fashioned.15 The paradox of this criterion is that the rejection of the past is highly dependent on awareness of it. opens up the possibility for much greater production. lipovetsky. a fashionable society 12 13 14 15 Braudel. . p. a fashion system is characterized by constant production. Time in different cultures The view of time is one of the key distinguishing factors between those societies where a fashion system governs social activity. To meet a moving and changing world requires freedom to move in new directions.” “outmoded. 70. Fashion is inseparable from “a relative disqualification of the past. and by the ideal of constantly increasing production.” 13 From this point of view. Capitalism. and those where desire for novel adornment is only a latent force. Fernand Braudel defined fashion in this vein as “a search for a new language to discredit the old. lipovetsky. pp. and a need to be free of the constraints of tradition. where social continuity is highly valued and styles are dictated by reverent repetition of forms inherited from the past. in the areas of its operation fashion facilitates that contribution. The significance of this release from the restraint of the past should not be minimized.” in Gilles lipovetsky’s terms.” Both fashion and modernity are founded on a view of time in which the present and immediate future are more important than the past. which he called fashion’s “historical radicality.18 sarah-Grace heller one of the important symptoms of a developing fashion system is dissatisfaction with the recent past. “Fashion.” p. Baudelaire’s condemnation of painters transfixed by the rules of the past shows a kind of productive spirit. By placing a premium on being in the mode and derogating what developments have [?] left behind. a culture’s view of time has deep psychological roots and permeates the culture on all levels.

17 16 . affirms that the high middle ages were a crucial period in Western fashion’s development. then many smaller societies would be excluded by virtue of the sporadic or circumstance-based nature of the changes that occur there. and differentiation – are observable or inferable in most cultures. p. 2.000 Years of Fashion that equate all differentiation in ornament with fashion.” p. conspicuous waste. systematic fashion is defined by the rapid changes in emulation and differentiation observable in industrial or production-oriented systems. and it must be “up-todate. however.16 contrary to the perspective that fashion is characterized by a specific view of time is the notion that fashion is universal. because “it leaves unanswered the question as to the motive for Blumer. but rather propose a method that might be applied to them.20 This book proposes that there was a period in the early to central middle ages in europe when a fashion system did not exist. and therefore all societies may be studied in terms of fashion. for example. The problem is to define the type and rate of change that make a fashion system distinctive. followed by a period in which one begins to appear. 18 Boucher. systematic change Quantifying a rate of change That change is characteristic of fashion goes almost without saying. The regular discarding and renewal of wardrobes certainly increases waste. veblen found this principle obvious but mystifying.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 19 must have a forward-looking concept of time. 23. comparison. see Gimpel. it will not presume to analyse other cultures.000 Years of Fashion. but veblen admitted that using waste to explain the need for constant change was inadequate.” and that “all barbarians and savages” were “guilty of fashion. and attachments in favor of being up-to-date.” like montaigne. if.18 more recent ethnographers prefer not to take the barbarism of “smaller societies” (the term aubrey cannon uses instead of “primitive” or “traditional”) for granted. pp. rather than being bound by a notion of the sacred. sumner. 19 cannon. p. 286. which will inhibit their willingness to discard old practices. 20. Constant. for example. is implied in sumner’s assertion that fashion exists among the “uncivilized. 186. beliefs. La révolution industrielle du Moyen Age. consider veblen’s three requirements for fashionable dress: there must be conspicuous consumption. What cannon labels the main elements of fashion – emulation. “Fashion”.” 17 such a view is illustrated by histories such as François Boucher’s 20. Folkways. “The cultural and historical contexts of Fashion. 141–60. 20 on dating the invention of the mechanical clock.19 The invention of the mechanical clock in late thirteenth-century europe. a sign of a growing need to measure time with precision. This.

and also a relative element: “the epoch. Baudelaire. Theory of the Leisure Class. The autonomous esthetic logic of fashion. successive attempt to reform nature. . that makes sense. p. p. pp. 104. and regularly changing hairstyles would not qualify as fashion. because in those cases variation does not proceed from an autonomous esthetic logic. classifying the desire for novelty among the things lost to observation. however. 125.24 When a culture changes its dress to adapt to the influence of conquerors. trade. but from occasional foreign influences or the relationship of cultural domination. or a simple logic of survival. in contrast. 49. this may proceed from a political logic. veblen attempted to explain the motive for fashion’s constant change by remarking upon the relief people feel at finding something different from what went before. and the prevailing esthetic. the passion. as well. narrowly defined. it is difficult 21 22 23 24 veblen. veblen. comprehending an eternal element that was invariable and excessively difficult to determine. 31. Frequency of novel consumption in different cultures lipovetsky argues that societies in which change in dress habits occur at isolated moments (such as foreign conquest) lack fashion. he described beauty as having a dualistic nature.” This second part of beauty and art is transitive.22 Ultimately. 122. he did not pursue the problem. p. Time features prominently in Baudelaire’s definition of fashion as a permanent. and it also fails to explain why conformity to a given style at a given time is so imperatively necessary.20 sarah-Grace heller making and accepting a change in the prevailing styles. the level of the human make-up where reason does not enter. only when it becomes a complex system demanding regular renewal of change. change falls clearly under the rubric of fashion. produces abrupt and seemingly capricious changes that are much harder to explain from a historico-political or economic perspective. if new goods are suddenly introduced at an appealing or prestige-granting price. L’empire de l’éphémère. continually reproducing itself so as to hold sway over production. as malcolm Barnard observes. accessorizing with jewelry.” 21 some twentieth-century theorists solved the quandary by ascribing motives to the realm of the unconscious. and its “metamorphoses are so frequent that you are not allowed to scorn them or refuse them.” 23 he intuited that fashion’s power derived from its constant and regular transformations. Theoretically. fashion not being his main objective. 29. ancient roman practices of cosmetic use. lipovetsky. For instance. because this was still a far cry from the “permanent debauchery of eccentricities” of modern Western fashion. it could be an economic logic. evaluating this except as an expert on a particular culture proves tricky. in lipovetsky’s view. the morality. the fashion. Peintre de la vie moderne. and in feeling “reputable” once again. Theory of the Leisure Class. The drive to create and acquire new styles must instead be well entrenched and permanent.

that in this example. and the consumers. systemic fashion motion. or outrageous. which leads to personal expression. social pressure to stay within the bounds of the familiar sets limits upon individual expression. legible. pp. Wilson. continuous quest for curious baubles. Too great an alteration to familiar models is received as outlandish. Fashion systems and urban commercial development are linked. expression must occur within the confines of social imitation. like criterion 7. unremarkable. and appreciated. expression in a fashion system engages two key parties: the purveyors or producers of variation. in this way fashion keeps itself in a state of evolution characterized by hairpin turns. This system of expression is peculiarly paradoxical. 16.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 21 to define fashion without defining it in relation to “anti-fashion”. it seems unlikely that we will ever have enough evidence to say whether the ancient romans lived in a permanent.” 26 it can be said. one point upon which most theorists have long agreed is that fashion constitutes a system of social regulation and pressure based on emulation or imitation. constantly balancing its movements rather than moving towards infinitely extravagant variation. p. noteworthy.25 however. this principle links fashion conceptually to words. 3. Understanding the necessary paradoxical equilibrium between conformity and choice is key: privileging one of these forces is what leads to controversy. imitation is often postulated to be the very essence of fashion 25 26 Barnard. radical or simply impossible to comprehend. . the continuous roman demand for new finery did diminish with the many disruptions of trade and the transition from urban to rural living that occurred in late antiquity and the early middle ages. which decides whether the display is accounted acceptable. Fashion as Communication. elizabeth Wilson argues that “the view that ancient culture was static may be outmoded. at least. a slight distinction in variation is perceptible. The role of imitation The respective roles of imitation and free choice in fashion’s processes have been the object of considerable theoretical discussion over the past several centuries. chosen items of display are critiqued by the group. Fashion provides a means of individual expression within a famework of social imitation A system of expression one of the most significant consequences – and stimuli – of constant variation and innovation in a culture is personal choice. Adorned in Dreams. constant novelty requires consistent market availability. 10–17. but these very limits contribute to maintaining continual. This dual system of expression is part of what keeps a fashion system in perpetual motion.

such as the desire to create a positive self-image. offering a more precise and more sensitive description of the complexity of the “fashion process. for instance where innovation is prevented or there are limitations placed on new models or personal and social development. independence.29 The description of fashion as a universal phenomenon generated between the poles of the demand for social adaptation and the need of differentiation does not explain why people feel the need for differentiation in such a personal manner. rather than as a universal phenomenon. Ceremonial Institutions. “Fashion. individual differentiation. and wealth. Beyond that. Blumer emphasized that for fashion to appear in a culture. who devoted much of his theory of fashion to the discussion of imitation and its opposite. a more subtle explanation expands the principle of imitation to include the principle of personal selection. isolated frontier settlements. he considered the prominence given to change. 133. which he held to be positive. spencer. Ceremonial Institutions. the area in question must be open to new models or social forms: people must see the potential in new things and feel that they will be able and allowed to adopt them. cannon critiqued its neglect of the psychological side of fashion. “The cultural and historical contexts of Fashion.27 But ultimately it can be difficult to distinguish one motive from the other. there must be the possibility of choice. or hamlets of fundamental conservatism. 24. skill. even to the point of considering it a key to identity and mental health. and this kind of dual-valence formulation omits a great deal. p.28 The negative and positive aspects of conformity fascinated simmel.22 sarah-Grace heller itself. or the desire to assert equality with him. with the adaptation of the special to the general. he demonstrated how fashion is better conceived as a system with some fragility and variability. . reverential imitations are associated with subordination. 205–6.” p. Blumer. one could give examples such as soviet-block countries. By outlining conditions by which fashion will not become a systemic process. spencer traced the difficulty of dealing with fashion’s mutations to the two possible motives behind imitation: reverence for the one imitated. 286. where new models are not regularly introduced and choice is not allowed or not available. differentiation.” p.30 There is further the need for a certain level of available wealth. pp. a view that becomes reductive when taken as the sole explanation of a fashion system’s workings. The focus on status mobility also obscures more subtle distinctions such as those of personality.” as he called it. Where imitation is a productive factor. intellectual sophistication. and training in choice. some inhabitants may have desired the new and different. while competitive imitations characterize a state of comparative independence. For instance. he saw it representing one of the fundamental tendencies of human character: that which contents itself with uniformity. cannon. and relief from generality the negative and obstructive side of imitation. but 27 28 29 30 spencer.

but which demonstrates the profound contradiction of the society of consumption: the system is forced to produce more and more consumer individualism.” 31 in 1970. Governance of the Consuming Passions. such as Baudrillard. 119. “The cultural and historical contexts of Fashion. and that they probably have more resources to participate in it. 29–35. For those who envision fashion as a trickle-down system. where people only imitate their betters and fashion is imposed by the dictate of a dominant class. La prédication en langue romane avant 1300. For instance. 32 Baudrillard. but ultimately. hunt offers other examples of where “the industry” has failed to make the changes it proposed. which often lasted only a few months or a year and had passed by the time shipments of requested merchandise actually arrived. criterion 10. believing that the arrival of capitalism diminished the unchallenged moral dominance of the church.34 31 many medievalists would challenge such a view as an exaggeration of the medieval church’s power. 55. despite having been told that “hemlines were lower” several years in a row. has emphasized the natives’ dependence on the traders. it is more true to say that those in power would like to harness it.32 This account accords much power to distant and mysterious bureaucratic forces. but in many other directions as well.” pp. total control over the production of desire in consumers remains elusive. when women refused to let their skirts down. . 117–28 and passim. (see below the discussion of class. Fashion as social control The pressure to conform has been celebrated and also assailed by thinkers who saw in it a powerful tool of societal manipulation. observing that the preachers of the high middle ages constantly complained of people not frequenting the churches. p. p. it is too complex and widespread to have been created at the whim of a single ruling group. suggests that traders were often at a loss to predict the trends in bead demands. which it is at the same time obliged to restrain with greater and greater force. as alan hunt said. state. The fashion system was not initiated or reinforced by the dual forces of choice and conformity.) some.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 23 such desire was not the operational mode. 34 cannon. however.” 33 Fashion is not a conspiracy. history. such as the “hemline battle” of the 1920s. and bureaucratic control – a view open to question given how the economy has evolved. 33 hunt. The analysis of requests for beads. Zink. La société de consommation. “any account that ignores the fact that people make decisions on their own account will be incomplete. told from the european point of view. it is possible to take a less dark view of fashion by realizing that it flows not only from elite to imitators. pp. have taken a pessimistic view of the role of fashion and consumption in society. cannon offers the example of the canadian fur traders. Baudrillard feared that the free market economy had virtually disappeared in favor of monopolistic. leaving society without a collective ideology to curb the spreading “exacerbation of individualisms. fashion is an insidious force of collective mind control.

The imperative to change is experienced by many contemporaries in a given social milieu as a social obligation to adapt and assimilate. at the same time it grants a sense of uniqueness – something that comes to be highly valued and to assure a sense of personal well-being under fashion’s reign. . the “powers that be” gain through the breakdown of collective solidarity. p. 119.36 individual choice cannot be manufactured. he believes that consumption is a powerful tool for social control: by granting consumers the freedom to consume. 45. if not generic form.24 sarah-Grace heller There is difficulty in reconciling the respective roles of choice and conformity. lipovetsky. arguing that fashion derives from individuals’ own desire to resemble those whom they judge superior. but Baudrillard’s categorization of the freedom to consume as an elaborate construct manipulated by capitalists does not account for all the aspects of fashion’s processes. if not garment silhouette. as is the notion of the fashion slave. as lipovetsky put it.37 it is the opportunity for individualism on the humanly manageable scale that makes fashion profoundly appealing enough to be perpetuated. are rooted in the potential for individual expression that it affords. for example of color. The “tyranny of fashion” is a commonplace expression. L’empire de l’éphémère. it grants a sense of personal power in offering choices. Witness the many fashions introduced by designers or stores that have failed. a principle granting freedom of expressive choice to each individual works symbiotically with the pressure towards conformity. lipovetsky questioned the condemnation of fashion as tyranny and mind control.35 social control is associated with fashion often enough that it merits inquiry. L’empire de l’éphémère. in heroines’ words and adventures. which in the past has been more closely linked to psychological concerns. Fashion grants a feeling of security to individuals by offering a mostly familiar silhouette or form (see criterion 5). rather than from any sort of oppression derived directly from an arbitrary superior power. lipovetsky. and yet hand in hand with. There is also significant appeal in the social mobility afforded to those who excel at achieving the balance between conformity and individualism. texture and detail. between sophisticated novelty and vulgar excess. a limiting factor of some kind. 35 36 37 Baudrillard. 51. or be ridiculed or excluded. Fashion’s appeal. in medieval heroes’ home towns. Baudrillard struggles with how consumers’ individualism works in contradiction to. if not their necessary level of battle prowess. 44. La société de consommation. p. if not the color of their hair or skin. such as regulation by a bureaucratic authority. pp. and its durability as a system. the subject of the next criterion. at the heart of fashion’s power as a social system. of versification and rhyme. fashion’s great originality is in linking global mimicry with the freedom of small choices and minor personal variations. imitation theory must be balanced with a theory of choice.

les tendresses. p. 42 Flugel. The psychologist J. 43 Flugel. whose decrees it is our duty to obey rather than understand: for indeed. The psychology of fashion While it is problematic to apply Freudian-style psychoanalysis to all cultures. 60–1. .39 on the contrary. the affections. Choices are influenced by individual human emotions. the subconscious. il habille des subjectivités: les inquiétudes. there is a very human quality to this force that defies simple containment or straightforward logic. he classified dress as a “higher or spiritual need. 119. For anecdotal examples of fashion and personal confidence in academic settings. Theory of the Leisure Class. 13–48. 185. Folkways. pp. a person’s dress helps the individual’s appearance conform to the social 38 “Un couturier n’habille pas des clients. see steele. The Psychology of Clothes. the field of psychology has made significant contributions to the study of fashion by introducing the notion that it involves subconscious motivations.38 many of the conditions for fashion’s existence include the idea of desire.43 For the psychologist Gregory stone. 12.” 42 Flugel classified the deeply felt reactions to being inappropriately dressed such as shame and nausea. Fashion and Eroticism. linear. musing after mallarmé that fashion is a “goddess. “le couturier et sa griffe. these decrees transcend all ordinary human understanding. steele. p.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 25 4. The couturier Ted lapidus captured the affective aspect of fashion saying that designers do not dress clients. les anxiétés d’une masse d’hommes et de femmes.” p. c.” 41 on the conscious level is the need to live up to an accredited standard of taste and reputability. ascribing the emotions to the fear of arousing contempt or displeasure in others under the rubric of modesty. 41 veblen. 40 For a summary of the uses and problems of using psychoanalysis to study fashion. “The F-Word. Flugel showed a similar appreciation of the religionlike power of fashion. The importance of human choice and reception in fashion brings into play one of fashion’s most frustrating qualities: it does not change and vary along predictable. p. rational lines.” Quoted in Bourdieu and delsaut. from pleasure to embarrassment. making the role of emotions in fashion a key element to consider. from allure to irritability. The Psychology of Clothes. and the sense of self The emotional appeal of fashion defies logic a personal fashionable choice can produce a range of complex feelings in both consumer and audience. the anxieties of a great mass of people.” 39 see also sumner. it is implied. 137. pp. veblen denied that the need for dress is experienced consciously as “a naïve propensity for display of expenditure.” beyond the apparent venality of the demand for conspicuous consumption and waste. but subjectivities: the insecurities.40 influenced by the first wave of psychoanalysis.

stone’s study construes fashion as the psychological impulse on the one hand to emulate peers. it is noteworthy that he locates the early stages of the development of selfrepresentation in the middle ages.” stone. 411–12. as people love to say. this notion helps distinguish between societies where fashion is central or marginal and thus contributes to the argument that fashion is not universally present. preventing the paralysis of embarrassment.45 These could be viewed as the earliest manifestations of a desire for fashion in an individual’s lifetime. 54.” preparing him and those with whom he interacts for his role and behavior. such as artists beginning to sign their works. Fashion’s role in the historically perceived rise of the value of uniqueness and individuality is explored by lipovetsky. rebellion against parents is a form of individual expression within a framework of social imitation (criterion 3). “appearance and the self. What he called “the creation of the esthetic cult of the self” consists rather in 44 45 46 stone. or patrons seeking to immortalize themselves. and on the other to establish a separate identity from that imposed by parents. 67–9. the error of previous theories lay precisely in having considered the questions of fashion and of the representation of the individual as unrelated.44 studying children’s earliest desire to wear specific clothing. like the principle that a society of fashion privileges the present over the past (criterion 1). finding ways of representing the self becomes a preoccupation absent in societies where fashion is latent. who says that far from being contrary to the affirmation of personality. when they are one and the same. Fashion as self-expression in societies regulated by fashion. these observations do support a number of other criteria discussed here. While these alone are insufficient to account for the larger sociological effects of fashion. fashion is founded historically on the value and legitimacy of the individual and his or her unique personality. and rejecting dress imposed by parents is a way of rejecting the immediate past (criterion 1). L’empire de l’éphémere. nowhere does he mention the “rise of the individual” associated traditionally with the renaissance.46 The historical milieu where he saw the pursuit of individualized appearance first becoming a passion and a legitimate aspiration was the court culture of the late middle ages. stone’s survey group responded almost unanimously that their earliest self-conscious appropriations of clothing were those of their peer group. it also “mobilizes his activity. . pp. in his view.” pp. in contrast to clothing imposed by a mother or other authority figures. “appearance and the self. This quest for expression returns to the premise that words constitute the values in the economy of fashion (criterion 7). lipovetsky.26 sarah-Grace heller expectations of a milieu.

1–9. pp. is an appropriate place to look for evidence of fashion because it is a natural site for “fashioning.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 27 the growth of the right to present oneself as an individual. 68. Renaissance Self-Fashioning.49 Fashion as self-expression to counter restriction The possibility for a new kind of representation of the self that a fashion system offers has important consequences for certain groups.” This implies that where the will and self-expression are not experienced as being in danger. both conscious and unconscious. whose self-expression has been restricted in many societies. with unique features. he begins from the notion that in sixteenth-century england. among other processes. such as women. he observed that self-consciousness was widespread among the elite of the classical world. stephen Jay Greenblatt’s study. This view also implies that self-fashioning had been well established previous to the period he studied. 47 . in contrast with fashion as a social system that comprehends many acts like fashioning.47 The traditional historical moment of the beginning of the great Western drive to represent the self. and a sense that they could be fashioned. giving the examples of the increased presence of intimate confessions in poetry.” for representation. p. Greenblatt upholds the idea that a successful alternative to the dominant christian doctrine calling for renunciation of the self and the worldly desires was not fully articulated until the early modern period. moreover. formulas declaring an author’s identity in chronicles and memoirs. this role is so he looked to an increase in subjective identity and the will to express individual uniqueness. is the renaissance. there may even have been less autonomy in the sixteenth century than before. therefore.48 “Fashioning” for Greenblatt denotes the self-consciously artful.” it must be recognized that this was in response to “the most sustained and relentless assault on the will. manipulable process of representing and even designing human identity. it follows from this that self-representation occurring in writing is on a par with fashioning the self through appearance. reexamines the accepted notion that the concept of the individual is the hallmark of that period. they need not be so forcefully expressed: a simpler or less searching form of representation of the self would suffice. literature. While it is important to recognize the role that gender can play in the fashion system. mannerisms and traits. celebrated by Burkhardt and michelet. although it was discouraged by the augustinian tradition of christianity that dwelt on the sinfulness of pride and vainglory. 48 Greenblatt. but he also points out that when it is said that there is a “new stress on the executive power of the will. Greenblatt observed that there is considerable empirical evidence that self-fashioning occurred before the sixteenth century. which supports the idea that fashion existed before the early modern period. and later the taste for realistic portraits and autobiographies and also the rupture with the traditional anonymity of death in the fourteenth century. there was both a sense that “selves” existed. L’empire de l’éphémère. 49 Greenblatt also remarked that self-fashioning functions without sharp distinction between literature and social life. Renaissance Self-Fashioning.

“regulating Women’s Fashion. chojnacki. simmel. these studies show examples of two societies where fashion appears to have had a dominant. but few productive economic or political outlets. simmel saw unprecedented development of individuality occurring in Germany in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. 133. 39–48. to freedom of personal action and self-improvement. 138–42.52 For all that women’s freedom and desire for self-expression are notoriously difficult to measure quantitatively. Wilson.54 steele. even in societies where there is relative equality between the sexes. veblen’s theory of vicarious consumption. 144. because the need for self-expression would not have been perceived as a norm. Brenninkmeyer. leading scholars to sense the presence of a general belief that self-expression was necessary and important for personal well-being. that women are 51 50 . shaping role. While that has and should certainly be questioned. hughes. simmel. simmel believed that they sought redress by adopting “the most extravagant and hypertrophic styles in dress. only to be proven wrong within a generation.” pp. Sumptuary Law in Italy. pp. passim. but scholars of late medieval italy have come to a conclusion parallel to simmel’s on Germany: that increasing splendor in women’s dress at this period arose because women had wealth. “The Power of love. 143. Face of Fashion. i. many writers on fashion in the last two centuries have included description of the place of gender in the mechanics of fashion. pp. 111–32. pp.” 52 Killerby. devleeshouwer.” p. steele suggests that fashion offers a compromise between the real and the ideal self one would like to present or become. Theorizing any more specific role for gender in a general theory of fashion is problematic.e. “Fashion. 50. 179. which describes how a fashion system promotes an equalization of appearances and thereby destabilizes existing status codes.28 sarah-Grace heller variable that it cannot be formulated as any particular kind of general principle.” p.53 gender undeniably plays a role in how fashion manifests itself in each culture. it ties some of the psychological appeal of fashion to criterion 10. “Fashion.” 53 see introduction. 176–203. Their need for self-expression was channeled into the ostentatious use of wealth. citing great inroads upon the “collectivistic regulations of the middle ages by the freedom of the individual. This kind of tension would probably not have occurred in a society where fashion was not the primary social shaping force. also craik. Adorned in Dreams.50 This more flexible notion is more likely to hold true at the level of generalization. p.” Because women were denied access to this individualistic development. pp. 141. the fashion system offered another area where they could express themselves and feel power: their personal appearance.” p. pp. Where women could not engage their minds and fortunes in political or philosophical debate or leadership.” 51 he saw italian women as having all the freedom that German women lacked. “sumptuary law in nürnberg. La société de consommation. see also Greenfield. 117–33. 54 For example Baudrillard. The Sociology of Fashion. Fashion and Eroticism. Fashions themselves are very frequently restricted to one gender or the other. Fashion is often construed as an exclusively feminine preoccupation. “costume et société.

. self-criticism and self-improvement. and from one decade to another. discussing the forms that novelty and choices may take in order to satisfy the demands for both self-expression and imitation. on fashion’s theatricality). leading to eating disorders) as society criticized them less and less from the outside (e. The next principle follows from 3 and 4. lipovetsky. see also criterion 6. 121. 44. the effects of self-representation are vast and complex. as individuals compare themselves with others and decide whom to imitate and whom to mock. 106–9. The idea of unprecedented self-observation carries within it equal potential for benefit and harm. 56 For instance.g. 313. and the development of many artistic and technological outlets of expression. p. social sensitivity. p.57 Ultimately. each person is allowed to become their own metteuren-scène.56 Baudrillard saw a generalized narcissism as the outgrowth of whole societies seeking to express individuality with tools provided by massproduction and marketing. in another of fashion’s seeming contradictions. falls apart in the age of the massive entry of women into the job force. lipovetsky referred to this as “auto-observation esthétique. lipovetsky. 55 lipovetsky. Theory of the Leisure Class. La société de consommation. 57 Baudrillard. p.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 29 Women’s power to earn money and to control their own affairs can vary markedly from one municipality to another. a display object for their husbands. and the evaluation of their merits depends upon the perspective of the beholder. pp.55 This psychology is a counterpoint to the outward-looking type of moralizing criticism discussed in criterion 8. designing an individual public persona (on this. 184. 125–7. saw women growing more and more implacable in their self-criticism (e. as well as a climate of relentless self-criticism. narcissism and self-hatred are all consequences of long-term presence of fashion’s dominance in a culture. following the emergence of taboos on shows of misogyny). self-representation. it must be examined with the context of each particular fashion system rather than on the theoretical level.g. writing on the outcomes of the sexual revolution.” a new. Good or bad. Under the conditions of fashion. unprecedented kind of self-observation. fashion also entails an inward gaze as each individual assesses his or her own place in the hierarchy and considers what changes need be made to improve his or her position. La troisième femme. Self-observation While fashion indicates a looking outward. L’empire de l’éphémere. it promises greater self-knowledge. Gender specificity is a variable of fashion rather than a constitutive principle of it.

many have located fashion’s birth at a point where a major change in silhouette seems to occur (see chapter 2).60 changes occur slowly by small increments in real time. new fashions grow out of their immediate predecessors. but are obliged to express their ideas by producing their own version of the familiar. ostentatious gestures code more negative things such as inexperienced composition. revolutions do not come out of the blue. Fashion is like wisteria. 58 59 60 lipovetsky. wrought by many. there would be no surprises: the transitions would appear as smooth as evolution in the animal kingdom. 35–6. This is very important when judging the cycles of fashion from a limited number of images. This criterion will be particularly important in evaluating the presence of a fashion system in its early stages. 40. but Baudelaire observed that where fashion exists. Change in superficial versus major forms The scope of choice permitted by a fashion system in a fashion system. Basic silhouettes resist change. in this way.58 The theory of the social power of minute signs explains in part why novels and romances are full of description: tiny details are eloquent under the reign of fashion. social superiority. in a fashion system. in this process. decade or century. becomes visible in subtle outward signs with the initiation of a fashion system. pp. as in the middle ages. likewise. Peintre de la vie moderne. L’empire de l’éphémère. such as historians of costume must do for the middle ages. they appear radical when compared at the rate of an image per year. fashion is paradoxically characterized by both constant change and relative stasis. pp. 283. but less frequently reshaping of the general form or silhouette. changes occur not as shocks or radical disappearances but as a process of evolution.59 Baudelaire observed that if an impartial observer could page through every single fashion all the way back to the origins of France. “Fashion. consumers are offered choices between details rather than basic forms.30 sarah-Grace heller 5. which blooms on old wood: each new season’s growth is produced on the stems of the previous year. one should expect to see rapid. 23–4. without a lacuna. creators of products are rarely allowed to alter familiar forms radically. changes that appear too radical are not assimilated into the larger picture. lack of intellectual subtlety. perceived in terms of family reputation and tradition in non-fashion systems. Baudelaire. cf.” p. many small personal choices made on the daily level. criterion 8). the blunders of fools and fops. the lack of self-identity associated with fashion victims rather than those who know how to speak with the power of signs. frequent modifications of surface details such as ornaments and accessories. like the growth of plants when shown in a time-lapse sequence. attempts to alter them too abruptly are greeted with vehement criticism (itself a sign of fashion. but. whereas large-scale. . Blumer.

who crusaded with his men and spurned competitively sumptuous dress in favor of sober riches. 169.” 63 The result of changes occurring on the minimal rather than maximal level is that resemblance between moving and settled societies may be difficult to discern. but by cultivating commonalities. trying to “speak” the idiom of 62 .” p. p. La société de consommation. as well as the force producing that encouragement. as Blumer put it. the small but distinctive differences that the objects are represented as representing.62 This process occurs in the society of “combinatory personalization.61 The display of P. 65 see Jean de Joinville. fashion requires strict yet constantly yielding limits on the range of possible change. so that their appearance varied little from that of those on the street.P. “la vie de saint louis. what people are really doing is not seeking out objects and goods in themselves.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 31 Baudrillard coined the term “plus petite différence marginale (P.d. in this respect fashion performs in a moving society a function which custom performs in a settled society. 64 devleeshouwer.” where consumption is portrayed ideologically as a way of finding and showing true personality and uniqueness. 128. 63 Blumer. 205–8. when the chief executives of Time Warner and america online publicly signed a merger agreement: the older ceo of the longer-established company wore an open collar and sports coat (the casual dress of the younger generation) while the younger ceo of the newer corporation wore a sports coat and tie. monopoly-controlled goods or services in order to find one’s own individuality. Function of the trendsetter successful leaders in a fashion system maintain their rule not by radical distance from the populace. another example is a story reported in autumn 1999. implies cultivating the small qualitative differences that symbolize style and status.P.m. 289.” p. This is basically a paradoxical ideology: consuming mass-produced. even though it be passing uniformity and order. fashion as opposed to custom.d. 181. “By establishing suitable models which carry the stamp of propriety and compel adherence. robert devleeshouwer gave a striking example of how this principle of fashion can transform something like the institution of monarchy.65 61 Baudrillard.m. as both will exhibit signs of uniformity and order. “costume et société. fashion narrowly limits the range of variability and so fosters uniformity and order. Baudrillard.64 such a description evokes the thirteenth-century French king saint louis. The distinction between them will lie in the encouragement of widespread individual desire for variability. “Fashion. Propriety and variability in another paradox. but rather differences. La société de consommation.” pp. noting that the few monarchs who survived the second World War are tolerated only because they cultivated a bourgeois persona instead of a military one. p. in attempting to present a personalized image.)” to connote the search for differentiation within the context of repetition.

lacking the audacity of the newest proportions) or by their excessive foppishness (lacking the dignity of the newest austerity). their appearances will go more or less unnoticed as they are obliged to act as audience to another performer’s choices. 66 spindler. it follows that the fashionable elite maintain lofty status by continually seeking to change a detail of their appearances by one degree (as opposed to many) in order to remain constantly distinctive. Exaggeration and Reaction all fashion’s logic centers on display. only a trained audience will be properly receptive to the small signs expressing difference and character. the next criterion.” p. at other times. social inferiors may be distinguished from the elite either by their backwardness (for example. as established respectability: each wearing what the other was expected to wear as they attempted to merge their powers and to appear to be leaders attractive to consumers and investors. 87. people in a given society must be trained to act as audience to one another. a fashion system allows all audience members to be performers in their turn: all are allowed to make impressions with their entrances and exits. and only people aware of their audience will attempt to develop such a language of signs: this is fashion’s theatricality. clothes without an audience are poignant reminders of how little we ever wear for ourselves.32 sarah-Grace heller Fashion’s process of translating inner feelings and personality into outward signs implies that for fashion to exist and function. once that audience is constituted. 6. Given that it is a force that allows the construction and maintenance of social hierarchy through subtle outward signs. The cumulative effect of continual one-upmanship.66 Fashion only functions where there is a suitably educated public (to understand the scene in “rear Window. .” we have to know what “boyfriend clothes” look like and what they connote) of sufficient size to constitute an audience. Theatrical logic of excess and exaggeration: conspicuous consumption Fashion requires an audience amy spindler expressed fashion’s theatricality in a meditation on modern clothing fashion: clothes are really identifiers of each person as a performer in his own life. and a lot of what we wear has to do with who is going to be looking. “What Your clothes make of You. remember miss lonely hearts in alfred hitchcock’s “rear Window”? she is rendered a pathetic character just by the knowledge that she would dress up in her “boyfriend clothes” and then spend the evening alone.

pp. 66. lipovetsky. as against only 19% of the wives of industrial and commercial employers. p. This is how hierarchy functions in a fashionable society: a betrayal of insecurity sends any performer in the system to the bottom of the social heap. no less a product of fashion’s ideology. compared with 67% of the middle-class wives and 68% of the working-class wives. The master of fashion maintains power by continually mastering the code of behavior.” betraying his own insecurity.” observing that where the petit bourgeois or nouveau riche “overdoes it. an esthetically founded notion. Baudrillard.’ and pretentious.” 71 lipovetsky. is often exaggeration and excess. 249. agreeing that demonstrative expenditure is one of fashion’s defining traits. is a more satisfyingly complex alternative to the reduction of veblen’s conspicuous consumption. a point of excess may be reached when for someone wishing to remain in the avant garde the preferable direction for change is towards austerity or “naturalization. he refuted the notion that people enjoy fashion and follow the latest styles simply in order to position themselves socially.71 lipovetsky. L’empire de l’éphémère. lipovetsky’s principle of theatricality.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 33 the fashionable alter inch by inch the volume and contours of their appearances. L’empire de l’éphémère. La société de consommation. and then additionally by altering it slightly to maintain the code’s value as a tool of distinction. pp. L’empire de l’éphémère. 40–1. senior executives and professionals. fashions touting natural features or simplicity still adhere to the logic of theatricality. bourgeois discretion signals its presence by ostentatious sobriety and understatement. 33% of the wives of junior executives or office workers (32% of the manual workers’ wives. an awkward word or visible fidgeting with an uncomfortable garment can end a presidential campaign or a job interview. 68 67 . 64. p.” 70 masters of the system are those capable of demonstrating distinction with confidence.” even movements towards natural forms are in absolute terms no less artificial or staged. 126–7. On Human Finery. he gave an example from his survey research: “When asked how they would dress if ‘invited to dinner by their husband’s boss’. Distinction. 69 criticizing veblen for not providing a satisfactory explanation of why fashion sometimes takes completely opposite turns. and that fads are nothing more than a manifestation of the desire for social prestige. of whom 81% say that they would change their clothes ‘but without putting on their sunday best’. 70 Bourdieu. pp. 38–44. 29% of farm workers’ wives) say they would ‘wear their best clothes’. 183. see Bell. it must account for the sudden reversals of extravagance in the direction of simplicity that appear periodically in the history of fashion. pp. For a theory to prove durable.69 Bourdieu scrutinized the process of incremental exaggeration and “underexaggeration. he rejected Bourdieu’s theory of distinction as too focused on class consciousness and on the desire to appear aristocratic. “a refusal of everything that is ‘showy. and which devalues itself by the very process of distinction.67 an inverse movement is also possible. on similar grounds. however.’ ‘flashy.68 despite seeming to reject ostentation. lipovetsky conceded that fashion cannot be separated from conspicuous consumption.

The drama of conspicuous waste veblen’s second explanation for the existence of fashion. 122. Theory of the Leisure Class. For instance.73 The negative connotations of “waste” make it a difficult term for use in examining fashion objectively. “consumption. spectacles. There is just as much fashionable theatricality staged by the ostentatious self-flagellator constantly in public prayer as by the prince’s elaborate procession with monumental plaster arches full of fireworks. veblen himself admitted the weaknesses of his theories in fully explaining fashion’s mechanisms. in contrast with societies where rulers may have spent fortunes on monuments. 65. The importance of audience reaction is the subject of the next criterion.” While there are many ways that audiences show approval or disapproval – often non-verbal. employment. in keeping with the idea of fashion’s theatricality.” p. and creativity of many kinds.34 sarah-Grace heller The principle of theatricality is more able to accommodate the factors of the appeal of individual choice and the desire for newness (beyond desire simply for display).72 lipovetsky felt it does not explain the uniquely developed state that fashion attains in the West in the last millennium. The Social Life of Things. 120. p. Words constitute the economy of fashion The discussion of how fashion involves codes which give or deny value to various behaviors and displays of consumption leads to the question of how a fashion system creates “fashionability. 363. the law of conspicuous waste. sometimes economy is just as fashionable as waste. as when men of the 1340s began wearing short doublets in opposition to the trailing robes characterized by excessive yardage worn by previous generations. or gift distributions. duration and history. 7. 24. technological developments. . transformed to garbage by the celebration’s end. Waste has a role in fashion’s theatricality as one of many ways of demonstrating social distinction. one of the most important roles of the audience member is the evaluation of others’ appearances. L’empire de l’éphémère. it is just as much a show of distinction and individuality – just as much an act of fashion – to drive a smaller fuel-efficient hybrid as to drive a high-consuming sport-utility vehicle. Better to characterize it in terms of drama than waste. because to maintain its sway within the limits of the possible it must alternate (although not necessarily in predictable manner) between excesses of both extravagance and austerity. as arjun appadurai has argued. waste may be construed as productivity. Fashion is dramatic and conspicuous. p. such as the raised 72 appadurai. idem. if all members of a fashionable society act from time to time both as performers and as audience. which leads to economic growth. From a different point of view. pp. deserves some critique. 73 lipovetsky.

74 While language’s role in fashion is at times implied in lipovetsky and Blumer’s theories. a prime example of how attempts to analyze the meanings of appearance cease to signify soon after they are composed is lurie. pp.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 35 eyebrow. the look of disgust or admiration. 118–19) presents photos of people from the streets of new York which were shown to a panel of six experts told to try to discern who the people “were” by their appearances. there is no “essential Fashion. he asked if clothing is capable of having meaning without words. neither gives it a prominent. Pour une critique de l’économie politique du signe. neglect or imitation themselves – one of the most powerful ways of giving value to objects and behaviors. he found that outside of words.” Fashion an article in the New York Times Magazine. 108–9. 88–9.” Barthes showed that fashion is an economy whose currency is clothing. 1999. labeling it “fashionable” or “out-of-date. explicit role. 9–10. beyond a few rudimentary indications like looking eccentric. images. my premise that words are the key to detecting fashion is a departure from much of the methodology of fashion history. attributing it to the constant shifting of meaning between social categories. because any given combination of fashion signs proves almost endlessly polymorphous given any change in the variables of time. “Who am i?” (nov. dandified. sporty. While at the outset of the project Barthes sought to work out a semiology of real clothing.” but only recently have attempts been made to describe how it functions as a language beyond simply trying to decode the meanings of the fashions of a particular moment. attempts to decode fashion’s language generally fail to decipher anything completely. is expression through words. c’est le nom qui fait désirer. the process by which language gives value to fashion should be given major consideration. with its focus on the visual. Baudrillard discussed how the “lecture des objets” was enormously complex. Language of Clothes. 14. individual personality. this is the most important principle of fashion for this study. in a working theoretical definition of where fashion exists and how it functions. Les Armoiries. They were incorrect in most of their guesses.” “outrageous” or “conservative. 74 . classic. L”étoffe du diable.” no “Fashion system. Système de la Mode. in some ways. pp. p. and how far unconscious motivations are probed. c’est le sens qui fait vendre. or ceremonial. a simultaneous creation of a visual system and a verbal system. but whose exchange values are fixed by language.75 summing up the project. see his Couleurs. symbols. it is the verbal system that gives value to a garment. and moreover one which is possible to study in historical societies. 75 “ce n’est pas l’objet. 39. ce n’est pas le rêve. he understood desire as an essential functioning aspect of fashion. michel Pastoureau’s studies on colors and heraldry from the middle ages to the present mostly demonstrate that there is no set meaning to colors or heraldry but rather only constant drift of meaning. Baudrillard. what he discovered along the way was that a fashionable garment is an ambiguous entity. The overarching lesson of roland Barthes’ Système de la Mode is that fashion is necessarily a creation of language. he found desire to be a product exclusively of words: it is not the object but the name that inspires desire. Fashion has long been casually referred to as a “language.” Barthes.

in all kinds of writing. such as “fun/ classic. this information may entail anything inaccessible to the eye in the picture. is to transform an object into language. it is only logical to proceed from the word to the real. where the words are lacking to convey what contemporaries found important in them. lies in the intrinsically discontinuous nature of language.36 sarah-Grace heller simply does not function as a complete system without words. 77 in narrative. the color of anything that is not a prestigious dye.. The need for emphasis. First. The goal of description. that his quality equipment gives him a competitive edge. real or imaginary. (hence the danger of studying costume history exclusively from pictures. it will be assumed that he is wearing armor. the lacings on breeches.” or the sanction of fashionable/unfashionable. helmet linings: all these and more are routinely unknowable. although to a different degree: the reader is allowed to imagine any appearance whatsoever for a character until description intervenes to limit the possibilities afforded the mind’s eye. which imparts understanding of abstract functions: that he is a knight of great renown. description takes its cue from a hidden object. buckles. words often repeat certain clearly visible elements in the picture. seeks to demonstrate the qualities of a garment represented by an image on the same page. such as color. this function exists as well. not made of pewter etc. Words may intervene to give “connaissance” of non-inferred information: saying that his armor is unique in all the world. on the contrary. these may be adapted to describe fashion descriptions in literature such as those to be analyzed in later chapters in this book. and so on. its goal is to make the object exist for the reader. if a leather belt is mentioned. of “amputations”: the limits of the described garment are not those of the real material. but those of value relative to the ensemble. language can never render an entire garment. are so to speak amputated. . in literature. much is relegated to the realm of the unknowable: in the medieval example. in fashion writing. For example. it can only present a series of choices. it signifies that the fact that it is leather has absolute importance – while other details. The emphasis function of description shows the reader only what the author saw as having relevance and imparting useful information about an outfit’s fashion value. knows generous people. directing the eye towards what is important to notice. words immobilize perception at a certain level of intelligibility. in literature. that he has traveled to buy from exotic merchants. the way spurs are attached. he decided that to study fashion it is not reasonable to favor the real garment over the words. but without the benefit of an adjacent image it bears greater responsibility.76 Barthes’ third function of description is emphasis. and so on. Barthes reasoned. in contrast.) Barthes gave words three functions in fashion description. relegated to the realm of the unknowable. The “connaissance” function of words also conveys abstract functions. in fashion writing. small details. albeit only partially visible. There is no need for description if his armor signifies nothing more than that he is a man in a battle scene. gloves. made in spain.77 76 For example. such as form. Then there is what Barthes called “connaissance”: words impart information.) in literature. (Fashion writing of the kind found in magazines. if a character is depicted in a battle scene. it follows that this function is still in play. the back view.

the number. but it also resists language. Système de la mode. perhaps decoration on a shield. visual images. the points of uncertainty would be endless: the form.” 79 his emphasis on fashion’s need for defense demonstrates this inevitable pairing of fashion and remonstrance. 56–7. When Baudelaire proposed to avenge the art of the “toilette” against the inept calumnies of certain self-proclaimed “lovers of nature. 62. The written garment is carried by language. . what was “visible” in the sense of what was worth noticing. and becomes one of the key elements paving the way to modern democracy (see criterion 10). 8. as Barthes put it. it is imperative to go to words. arguing it is a natural consequence of personal choice. They also leave an infinite amount to the imagination. Words also serve opponents of a fashion and even of consumption in general. The important and complex role which criticism plays in fashion must not be neglected. it is created by the play between the two. words permit only an understanding of exchange values. criticism is possible because fashion entails choices.. pp.” 78 at the same time. Words are necessary to make something fashionable. They tell us what was important to contemporaries. lipovetsky embraced criticism as a key part of fashion. and where freedom to criticize is absent. if one were to try actually to construct a garment described in a magazine. This caveat is important because it demonstrates both the importance and the limits of the verbal when analyzing fashion.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 37 Barthes’ analysis primarily highlights the complex and paradoxical relation of words. but not necessarily with the effect of preventing or limiting fashion. but the garment (or object) can never be fully captured by them. for example whenever someone declares that “red is ‘in’” or when a hero wears something striking in a romance. fashion will not have the social shaping quality here in question. a major identifying trait of fashion is the resistance and moralizing it constantly arouses. the glinting helmet. the rings of the chain mail. 78 Barthes. Fashion can be read. one specific form possible evidence may take is criticism. disposition of white polka dots . Words can impart fashionability. for they are the “fashion-creating machine. they do not facilitate a reliable reconstruction.. Constant arousal of criticism The persuasion of censure if fashion is often best detected through the evidence of words. Where censure and rigidly imposed behaviors are in force. and material reality. To understand fashion. Peintre de la vie moderne. he argued that the arrival of a tradition of constant criticism marks the moment when fashion really took amputated from the emphasized pieces: the sturdy sword. 79 Baudelaire. fashion values. 99. and therefore multiple opinions that may eventually come into conflict. p. 14. but the garment cannot.

but he shows a short view of history in declaring that consumption is destroying the foundations of humanity. or “joy. in a fashion system. like sporadic change. the fashion system comes into play. he treats the modern and medieval worlds as polar opposites to summarize his point. which may indirectly bring about one’s own. he saw that. This was the distinguishing trait of modern social structure for Baudrillard. but only fashion as a potential or latent presence. pp. 42–3. L’empire de l’éphémere. although they were not developed to the same degree as those of Western post-industrial society. does not constitute a sign of a fashion system. just as medieval society balanced itself between God and the devil. modern society anchors itself on consumption and its denunciation.” to use the medieval term: one’s own and that of others. This may be called seduction. his theory suggests that criticism serves as check and balance to consumption. Baudrillard did not discuss the middle ages elsewhere in his work.80 it follows that sporadic. using the term in a general sense. This belief is not necessarily one occurring on the level of consciousness. however. La société de consommation. it represents a criticism urging readers to examine consumption and not be its mindless victims. . impractical or ugly.81 it is noteworthy that this implies both continuity and discontinuity between modernity and the middle ages. Baudrillard. keeping a cycle in motion initiated in the middle ages in the West. in a fashion system a closely related goal is the manipulation of the audience to accept individual will as reality. New value placed on pleasure makes seduction a social norm The joy of fashion While the goal of self-representation is often a deeply personal one. When a fashion system is initiated. following the popular stereotype of the non-modernity of the middle ages. localized criticism. yet an awareness of that period’s significance lies clearly in the background of his thinking. p. societies of consumption existed in the middle ages. display of fashionable appearance is thought to have a power to seduce: to attract the interest of others or awaken desire in potential sexual partners. more often 80 81 lipovetsky. Consumption and denunciation of consumption The fashion system paradoxically thrives on the binary opposition between consumption and the denunciation of that consumption. there is increased value placed on pleasure. 316.38 sarah-Grace heller root in the West. 9. When moralists and clerical chroniclers begin to take on the habitual role of calling the latest elegance ridiculous. Baudrillard’s general point that consumption and the criticism of that consumption go hand in hand is of crucial importance to understanding the systems of fashion.

in a system of fashion. but often it is oversimplified. Wilson. but condemned the bustles of his time as immoral and seductive. and services enhance attractiveness. that consumption and display of fashionable objects. innovations in clothing styles regularly produce novel ways of emphasizing sexuality. the reason for changing tastes in beauty must be sought elsewhere. Flugel argued the ultimate cause of fashion is sexual competition.83 Censuring “erotic” fashions often the link between fashion and seduction is subject to moral criticism. any garment can potentially be defined as erotic. pp.82 his idea that women are more narcissistic than men because women have a keener sexual rivalry and hurt each other by attempting to outdress each other does not prove true in all places and periods. Friedrich T. vischer. it is indisputable that sexuality is biologically coded to appearance in humans. 138. 102. pp. a form that advertises its own potential as a seduction aid is a product Flugel. 7–8. many other objects become invested with sexuality as they are linked to seduction through forms of representation. 83 82 . and even certain kinds of insects and plants. That seduction is often a goal of fashion is another principle following the logic of theatricality (see criterion 6): new. 1879). vischer. leadership qualities also have been connected to traits of striking appearance. The Sociology of Fashion. defined it as a legitimate notion in abstract terms inasmuch as it represented a grouping of cultural forms valid for a certain period of time.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 39 it is partly subconscious (see criterion 4). Psychology of Clothes. ideas. p. as to Flugel’s attempts to classify the emotional role of garments according to their genital-like traits. Mode und Zynismus (stuttgart.84 This type of criticism of fashion reveals anxiety over what is perceived as fashion’s dangerous capacity for seduction. animals. 84 Friedrich T. 91.” because bustled skirts indecently revealed the shape of the legs and body. cited in Brenninkmeyer. visual and other kinds of representation. from the saracen-inspired veil to the open shirt. Adorned in Dreams. “eine hurenmode. What differentiates a fashion system from latent fashion in the case of sexual or political attraction is the widespread belief. From the ivory mirrors and toiletry boxes of the late middle ages adorned with scenes from romances to any twenty-first-century product marketed with suggestive images or words. 7. as Wilson observed. p. from the appearance of low-cut bodices in the fourteenth century to the sixteenth-century codpiece. but i would suggest that pointed shoes developed their prominences less through conscious or unconscious imitation of male genitalia than fashion’s logic of theatricality and exaggeration. there is no doubt that codpieces were genuinely phallic. reinforced on many levels by written. The link between dress and seduction has also long been recognized. in his Fashion and Cynicism. distinctive forms are represented as having the potential to attract more attention from spectators.

La société de consommation. Baudrillard.86 This kind of psychology of fashion is linked to criterion 4 as well as this one. he placed the ideology of the pursuit of happiness as a central aspect of consumption and fashion. which discourages all hedonistic practices as sinful. “a thing of beauty is a joy forever. 27. likening fashion to a disease may overemphasize the negative consequences of consumption to the detriment of its productive consequences. never satisfied. . The constant process of denial of pleasure and rebellion against the denial effectively describes the way that fashion is used as a system of self-reward for which the term “retail therapy” has been coined. vehicles. Puritanical thinking. 106–9. there is an interface between ephemeral and eternal beauty. lipovetsky saw the advent of fashion as the arrival of a time in a society when pleasure becomes an individual right and a generalized expectation. becomes a tool in the service of materialistic ideology. supplies. continuously transferred from one object to the next. the desire for the pleasure denied. following Keat’s line. The Medieval Art of Love. seeing in the logic of fashion a glorification of frivolity and earthly pleasures. La société de consommation. The pleasure obligation and the pursuit of happiness Baudrillard observed that a kind of “magical thinking” regulates consumption. technology and other things in order to function better in one’s profession: this is as true today as in the thirteenth century.85 signs of emphasis and exaggeration of the sensuality of appearances are another important kind of evidence to look to in detecting the presence of fashion. 59. actually reactivates the process of consumption by provoking.88 consciously. buying clothes.40 sarah-Grace heller of the mentality of fashion. people may claim that obtaining something fashionable gives them pleasure. he located the emergence of western fashion in the courtly and chivalric cultures of the middle ages. by definition an emotion. 105. in a fashion system. just as in a generalized hysterical or psychosomatic conversion one symptom is substituted arbitrarily for another. La société de consommation. on why fashion arouses and thrives on criticism). as Baudelaire observes. pp. Baudrillard likened consumption to hysteria.87 (This offers some insight into the functioning of criterion 8. Baudrillard.” the contrary response. Baudrillard.” allow the fashionable object to become something which continues to grant pleasure. There are also those who. Treating the symptom does not cure the insatiable desire for something perpetually missing. happiness. consumers are likely also to be producers. because it is objectless: consumption is desire for happiness. p. vain and wasteful. “paradoxically and inexplicably. pp. in which a craving continues. not merely condemned to endless consumption. over and over. but in Baudrillard’s view it is always a fleeting pleasure. a miracle-working mentality that regulates daily life. where the “consecration of frivolities” and aspirations 85 86 87 88 camille. but often consuming in the process of furthering their own production.

The drive to experience the exotic. also one often open to attack. p. as can pure hedonism without regard for limits and for other responsibilities.91 or the views of those passing sumptuary laws to curb spending.” which is just as much a spur to production. pp. Zink. La prédication en langue romane avant 1300. there are evidences of the presence of fashion. increasing trade and exchanges and encouraging the development of such things as the arts. an ethic compelling a search for pleasure. individuals begin to allow themselves to take part in new sorts of activities: “fashionable” social activities like writing and listening to poetry. and functions in tandem with. dressing for court or to attract a lover. a notion which links two keys to fashion: the social setting of the court (criterion 6). beginning with the troubadours of languedoc. beauty. 71–2. 205–10 for his discussion of the difference between fashion. 112.89 When both giving and experiencing pleasure become socially acceptable and even exalted pastimes. to experience every sensation. and eroticism in modern life. but an institutionalized civic duty seemingly imposed by outside forces. Where there are signs that people began to feel that they deserved or were obligated to practice these activities.90 as people spend less of their time on production in work. There emerges an ethic of universal curiosity. p. L’empire de l’éphémère. This construct of love was created through the vehicle of a poetry that strove for formal novelty and the representation of the absolute uniqueness of the beloved. in lipovetsky’s view. see also pp. pp. 90 89 . Baudrillard described a “fun-morality” as characteristic of the society of consumption. the constantly new. they spend more time on the production of their own needs and wellbeing. true pleasure. eating delicacies. 201–4. the imperative to try everything. certainly spending beyond the limits of wealth can prove fatal to an individual or to a group. however. lipovetsky proposed that the new representation of love in such poetry furthered lipovetsky. eager to hear songs of courtly love and seduction. even paradoxical construct. things which few could really deem fatal to a culture in and of themselves. Courtly Love Undressed. For him. and the social ethic of pleasure it fostered (criterion 9). evidence for fashion emerges from a group of cultures eager for play with words and subtle variation. an often fleeting. engaging in drama and festivals. 91 Burns. Baudrillard’s view that the societal compulsion to try and to enjoy is fatal is an interesting echo of medieval preachers’ condemnatory views of fashionable activities like dancing or the wearing of foreign finery. 373. La société de consommation. the pleasure of the fashion system is no naturally emanating. the different – one of the most prominent hallmarks of a fashion system (criteria 1 and 2) – is indeed accompanied by.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 41 towards earthly joys became a norm. constantly attentive to their own capacities for consumption. but argued that its fun was not really pleasant. Baudrillard. Fashion should be recognized as part of the cultural revolution of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries that promoted courtly values. the great invention of this revolution. was courtly love. these are not inevitable consequences of the “pleasure duty. 133–5.

in which politics become as frivolous as clothing fads. however. who held that democracy itself was only a fashion and was thus destined to pass away. lipovetsky. The triple connection between fashion’s reign. such constant pressure often engenders. however.93 although Jennifer lipovetsky. is a more difficult question.42 sarah-Grace heller the process of the creation of the individual. p. L’empire de l’éphémère. anxiety both from those worried about their ability to maintain their high level of distinction and from those who resist the pressure to conform yet who wish to have status. like all other experiments in 93 92 . as much as anything. class. disgrace. if they did not. increasing social equality and democracy is a cornerstone of lipovetsky’s thesis that fashion is leading the world to a more complete form of democracy. L’empire de l’éphémère. Paradoxically.92 The link between fashion and the French and occitan vernacular literature of love was greater than lipovetsky intuited as a non-medievalist. social hierarchies exist in almost every culture. 72. as the later chapters of this book will show. voters choose and discard politicians and policies at will. there would be much less compulsion to describe them. Whether clearly delineated lower. middle. rather than clinging to the restrictions of party lines. 75. obviously. Movement towards equalization of appearances: fashion. 10. rigid concepts of social distinction and segregation by class continuously disintegrate in the climate of constant change characteristic of a society dominated by fashion. that there are inherent flaws in our conceptions of class and social hierarchy. The polemic surrounding the problem reveals. its ephemerality contributes to social equality by undermining the power of traditional appearance-based signs of prestige. on the one hand. on the other. pp. 47. in a fashion system. it makes the signs of distinction available to anyone with the resources to obtain them and who can keep up with their ephemerality. Fashion. see also sumner. distinction is constantly both threatened and nurtured by ephemerality. it is one that has been extensively debated. understandably enough. social hierarchy (a better term than “class” across time) unquestionably has a role in fashion. and upper classes exist. signs of such anxieties are evidence of fashion’s presence. There is constant pressure to keep up with the times and to continue revising the rules or follow the revisions to avoid social obsolescence or worse. and democracy Fashion as ultimately democratic The problem of class and fashion has been left to the end. Whether there are always ruling classes and dominated classes is also harder to say. is a tool for creating and maintaining lines of social distinction. it becomes possible to ascend the social hierarchy by appropriating the outward signs that signify social superiority. and it is even harder to delimit exactly which individuals fall into each category.

Baudrillard’s warning that too many people are taken in by the myths of beauty and the need to consume wrought by the media and advertising. no status has guaranteed permanence.1 [1997]. the talent for seductive staging of oneself and others. 124–73. in a fashion system. 140. p. Pour une critique de l’économie politique du signe. leading to a more and more democratic kind of fashion in the twentieth. an elite privilege slowly usurped by the wealthy in the nineteenth century.94 The most strenuous resistance to the linking of fashion and a movement towards social fluidity probably arises from Baudrillard. Sociology of Fashion. interestingly. comme en boxe le challenger. or the leisure class proposed by veblen never hold entirely true. p. who believed that rather than characterizing real change and movement. see also spencer. fashion masked deep social inertia. Ceremonial Institutions.” “Fashion. a fashion system’s “rulers” are determined not by bloodlines but by the eye. 96 several theorists point out that “underdogs” possessing “a good eye” seem to be the real makers of trends. ce sont les nouveaux entrants qui. for instance. which would permit competition between the aristocratic-minded and inferiors. they are bound to follow [fashion]. Folkways. comparing fashion to boxing: “dans le champ de la mode. dictates fashion? some answers. such an admonition represents more of a participation in a fashion system than a theory of fashion’s mechanisms. 94 simmel. p. is ultimately a variable rather than a rule of fashion. 3. then. 194.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 43 m. ‘font le jeu. Bourdieu and delsaut favored the new contestants. pp. review. felt that “democratic times” favor fashion to a remarkable degree. comme dans tout autre champ. such as Baudrillard’s ruling class. Flugel noted that fashion implies a fluid social structure. Jones considered the Empire of Fashion’s most vulnerable argument its link between fashion and democracy. 40. realizing that the imperatives of advertising and other propaganda are only attempts among many to sway public opinion denies these messages some of their power. The Empire of Fashion. p. Jennifer m. like gender. recognizing that ideology is ideology loosens its hold considerably. Fashion’s rulers status. admonishing that mindless assimilation of these myths can lead to a very vain lifestyle. Who. such a link is quite common. . he gave the example of political leaders from his time: “even Bismarck and other very prominent party leaders in constitutional governments have emphasized the fact that inasmuch as they are leaders of a group.” p. 37. and therefore an illusion. 9. Thanks to Baudrillard’s work the ideology of consumption is not so fatal as it once appeared. Jones. Psychology of Clothes. Brenninkmeyer viewed fashion as exclusively a court privilege in the fifteenth century. serves an important function in the present fashion system. simmel’s dominating elite whom all must imitate.” p. constant change is the rule for sleeve styles as much as for social prominence.’ les dominants jouent sur le velours: ils n’ont pas besoin de recourir à des stratégies de bluff ou de faire valoir qui sont autant d’aveux de faiblesse. p. This view grants more social importance to fashion than to modes of government. 109. 141.96 Baudelaire imagined government. in Esprit Créateur.95 it could be argued that the equality created by a fashion system is an equality based on ideology.” in “le couturier et sa griffe. 209. 95 Baudrillard.

88.97 his notion of a new aristocracy of dandies whose authority would be based not on work or money but on “heavenly gifts” implies that any group of people within a society with sufficient resources – but most of those born with talent – can reign in the society of fashion.99 dandies can have no more “indestructible” a reign than any other sort of authority. chanel and others. The great dandy Beau Brummel. see Balzac’s discussion of meeting the destitute Brummel in the Bois de Boulogne. he believed that “dandy-ism” appeared in times of social instability rather than naturally accompanying democracy.100 Whatever the current incarnation of the demi-monde might be. Talent does not found dynasties of rulers.” p 145. as rebelling against established forms and scorn for the past are integral hallmarks of fashion. a trend-setting coup de théâtre is more powerful when it arrives from an unexpected source. is due to its peculiarly uprooted way of life. so that the perpetual ascent of new dandies to fashionable leadership is. Talent is a surer key to success than work or wealth in ascending the social pyramids of fashion. Following fashion’s theatrical logic. “Fashion. however.98 designers such as chanel rose to prominence by merit alone. and simmel neglects it here. p. 99 on Brummel. 100 simmel. lost his position when his creditors finally expelled him from london. her label continues to “reign” under the administration of later designers brought to her house by talent rather than lineage. as simmel observed: The fact that the demi-monde is so frequently a pioneer in matters of fashion. Rule of the margins Fashion’s greatest innovators often come from the margins of high society. indeed. 98 97 . fashionable innovations can be seen to come from similar marginal groups in many cultures. to the rage for “grunge” in the late 1980s. a hatred that finds its relatively most innocent and aesthetic expression in the striving for ever new forms of appearance. betraying the influence of contemporary struggles between the new empires and new republics.” pp. as the aristocracy does.44 sarah-Grace heller fashion’s “ruling class. for instance. from the sway held by kings’ mistresses and favorites.” to be patterned after the aristocracy. see steele. The individuals it brings to power are only able to rule in their lifetime. 228–32. self-expression plays just as great a role. very likely. Whether the motive for this kind of creative self-expression was hatred should be questioned.” what he called “dandies. Paris Fashion. The pariah existence to which society condemns the demi-monde. produces an open or latent hatred against everything that has the sanction of law. Baudelaire. of every permanent institution. Peintre de la vie moderne. in “Traité de la vie élégante.

A summary From all these elements. The demi-monde does not exist without the monde. Fashion can be recognized by many signs. it is a desire for constant change shared – or resisted – by many individuals in a given society. They are defined by being qualified to pass judgment: qualified. Flexible hierarchy societies characterized by fashion systems must have some fluidity in their hierarchies. Fashion does not function only for its innovators. emerge from the lower ranks and work their way upward. such as rejection of the past. it is a conceptual system dependent on verbal communication for its expression as much as a system of visual display. of relative equality between persons of taste no matter what their background. There must be people who sanction new ideas. however. Perhaps the mark that unites the greatest number of fashion’s elements is paradox: iconoclasm and nostalgia. criticism of decayed mores and consumption. certain prestige figures certainly have inherited class qualifications in this regard. an overarching definition of fashion may be offered. prestige and social fluidity. This appearential distinction is the most important kind of distinction in a fashion system. more important than distinctions such as lineage. Where there are signs of social mobility.102 The power of prestige to sway opinions is ultimately fragile. where the creation and substitution of subtly new and different versions of standard models as objects promises social identity and personal satisfaction. who fund them. more than demanding it. 101 102 see also Blumer. conformity and distinction. “Fashion. of seeking to improve one’s status through shows of talent or ingenuity. Too rigid a social configuration will not allow either for individual expression or the related collective negotiation to innovate and accept innovation. but there are plenty of prestige figures whose position has everything to do with their wits. 281.” p. 287. a fashion system allows this kind of social mobility. by their individual taste. “Fashion. and a sense of the right or need to pursue pleasure. there is evidence of fashion’s presence. if not always. . Blumer stresses that fashion is a process of collective selection rather than class differentiation. Blumer. therefore.101 The difference between this view and the contention that fashion results from strategies of class domination is that prestigious figures do not necessarily obtain their prestige from class or other inherited distinguishing factor. who second new motions with their established authority as well as greater numbers of people who simply imitate them. talent and experience. Fashion systems feature opportunity for social distinction through appearances. fashion’s dictators often.SINE QUA NON oF a Fashion sYsTem 45 in short.” p. and which is theirs in spite of their class.

while dress and ornament are universal.401–2. The existence of so many different recorded births of fashion says something important about how fashion functions. and with the advent of cheap print media. david hult likewise questions the possibility of finding them in “vers la société de l’écriture: le Roman de la Rose. Zumthor. and question. (ovid. destined to live for the same number of years. but one critiqued by more recent generations who construe the quest for the origins of medieval texts. Essai de poétique médiévale. even while it may be situated along what is really an unbroken (but constantly bending) thread of evolution. and when the desire for innovation and the capacity for the production of innovation reach a critical point of becoming a constant and organizing presence. some of this dating. fashion is specific to certain times and places.or fifteenth-century courts of Burgundy or italy. they say. 21. The birth of modern fashion has been discovered in the industrial revolution.” This chapter will survey. Then.1 The confusion of opinions over dating fashion’s birth(s) reveals the vanity of trying to establish a single authoritative moment of incarnation. 158. themes. like ovid’s phoenix. many costume historians have located fashion’s birth in the West in the fourteenth. 1 ...” p.. totidem qui vivere debeat annos. p. Metamorphoses Xv. as newly born. speaking of fashion’s birth raises the problems of searching for origins and sources.. and ideas as chimerical. operating under the assumption that. the very title of dragonetti’s Le mirage des sources: l’art du faux dans le roman médiéval suggests that origins are chimerical. Better than trying to fix a single moment for fashion’s incarnation is to ask when the cultural value placed on novelty becomes prominent. from the corpse of its father the phoenix is born again.) can we speak of a birth of fashion? many scholars have done so. in the rise of the department store. young . corpore de patrio parvum phoenica renasci . Fashion systems constantly reject the immediate past.2 The Birth of Fashion Inde ferunt. or more generally with the era referred to as “early modernity. every new wave of innovation presents itself. historically a preoccupation of literary historians. criticizes medieval studies as excessively swollen with “the literature of origins”.

“die mode. for instance. mukerji. spurned classical art and literature. which she argued created a large new center of commerce. ushering in a new. and J. manifesting itself in Wedgewood’s pottery manufacture.6 Philippe Perrot noticed that a few slow traces of fashion were visible in the twelfth century. mcKendrick. beginning in the eleventh and twelfth centuries. but portrayed the Paris expositions of 1889 and 1900 as the first planned environments of mass consumption.The BirTh oF Fashion 47 Fashion is born whenever you study it Partial or limited knowledge of earlier cultures may often contribute to perceiving a birth of fashion. such views are not informed by acquaintance with the breadth of medieval trade. Dream Worlds. she presented medieval dress as stable and stratified up to Philip the Bold’s marriage to margaret of Flanders. Barbara vinken. neil mcKendrick. Williams. or the medieval vernacular literary traditions of the twelfth century and onwards that devote attention to splendid attire. From Graven Images. John Brewer. the feudal system was not the only system functioning in the period called. For instance.3 chandra mukerji located fashion’s birth in the “hedonistic consumerism” she found in europe in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. for convenience. 33. wore rough homespun. pp. . simmel. The Birth of a Consumer Society. intensified tyranny of fashion which characterized the eighteenth century. caution is in order when setting up a culture as the antithesis of a fashion system. p. This results from perceiving the period uniformly as the dark ages: when everyone lived in squalor. moreover. there is a tendency to assume that there was no fashion in the middle ages. due to illiteracy. emerging in the second half of the nineteenth century as a “post-feudal phenomenon. Williams believed seventeenth-century French aristocrats were the first in modern society to experiment with discretionary consumption.5 rosalind h.4 This does not account for the centers of commerce thriving much earlier. Culture and Consumption. the middle ages. from the fairs of champagne to the growing cities of northern europe and the mediterranean. clothing fashions. h.” 2 Few medieval or early modern historians would present the feudal and modern periods as contiguous. although he saw “extreme 2 3 4 5 6 vinken. when the fourth to the fifteenth centuries are popularly viewed as a monolithic cultural wasteland.” p. and the development of newspaper advertising. 57. taking place in elizabethan england. Plumb saw the opening event in the birth of fashion as the arrival in england of cheap calico from india in 1690. Grant mccracken argued that the “first appearance of modern consumption” was a “dramatic” occurrence. and never washed. in short. For instance.” mccracken. suffered oppression by theological dogma. Brewer and Plumb. 170–80. follows Georg simmel in declaring that fashion is a phenomenon of the modern. There is a noteworthy tendency to discover a birth of fashion in whatever period a scholar studies. lived a life of obscure oblivion. “Transvesty – Travesty.

and secondarily on moralist texts. commerce. Capitalism. recognizing that at the heart of the “great transformation” of the West occurring in the early modern period. Braudel.” he recognized the important economic progress made in earlier centuries. 8 7 . they wore padded jerkins. Under a coat of mail. 231. although he treats chronology loosely: to support the statement that there was “no change until the boost in the economy after about 1300. there was a “consumer revolution. which continued to be worn by older and more venerable men. Post examined the evolution in armor. clothing. without noting that orderic wrote around 1120–40 concerning changes that took place in the reign of William ii of england (1087–1100). p. Late medieval Burgundy The most widely accepted hypothesis dates fashion’s emergence to the appearance of a new men’s clothing style in mid-fourteenth century Burgundy.9 inexact treatments of chronology and foreign cultures in creating “antifashion” scenarios prove to be problematic. in radical opposition to the long robe. Material Culture in Europe and China. he used european travelers’ accounts to substantiate his conclusions that fashion did not exist in india. based primarily on illuminations and other visual representations. China Chic. which are symptomatic of the historiography of fashion’s birth.48 sarah-Grace heller inertia” before the renaissance. Fashion is often discussed without rigorous definition. it said that modern male dress first appears in France around 1350 with the revolution produced by the appearance of the short surcoat on young men. pp.” Braudel’s attempts to locate a birth of fashion contain a number of contradictions.” he evoked orderic vitalis.7 here are but a few examples. men wore long tunics. and the islamic world.” steele and major. 31–46. and consumption. 9 adshead. newton. a comprehensive survey of all the works positing its birth in one form or another would be a monumental task. Fernand Braudel was a pioneer among historians in the importance he placed on fashion. china. civilian clothes were basically Perrot. particularly for the court cultures of china and Japan. “couture and society.8 elsewhere.” but he placed the “true emergence of modern consumption” in the nineteenth century. a view challenged by scholars of non-european cultures. around 1700 he observed courtly competition for “fashion-setting dominance. Proposed by Paul Post in the first decade of the twentieth century. from the knee-length coat of mail to the plate armor that appeared in the fourteenth century. closely fitted to the body. under plate armor. Les Dessus et les dessous de la bourgeoisie. While he held that “the sovereign authority of fashion was barely enforced in its full rigor before 1700.

p. laver. Flugel. The Psychology of Clothes. peculiar variations have appeared. which neglects 10 Post. especially in popularizations treating the many centuries of the middle ages as monolithic. another example is the reference to outrageous fashions seen under “Philip the Fair of Burgundy (1285–1314). certain elements of medieval history are handled clumsily in this account. von Boehn. Governance of the Consuming Passions. duke of Burgundy (1419–67). 87. nor does nature provide all men with waistlines.” p. introduction to Post’s contribution: “il y a 40 ans l’auteur. his argument that plate armor meant the rediscovery of the long-lost male waistline. 28. 12 Boucher. The Sociology of Fashion. in part because of the dramatic impact of his use of the term “the birth of modern fashion” in describing his findings. for instance. hunt refers to it without clearly adopting it. this sunny realm [aquitaine] would become the cradle of fashion:” Batterberry and Batterberry. and others. or possibly Philippe le Bon.12 as the idea has been disseminated. 86.” 11 see the proceedings of the 1er congrès international d’histoire du costume (venise. p. a élévé l’étude du costume au niveau de la recherche sérieuse dans le domaine des arts. Piponnier. Brenninkmeyer. par sa thèse de doctorat. p. 126–9. pp. although Post himself did not publish a great deal.000 Years of French Fashion. 157. 215.The BirTh oF Fashion 49 adapted to the forms worn under these different types of armor. one lies in the exclusively visual focus. is open to question. For michael and ariane Batterberry. his conclusions have been generalized to imply more. Belts are mentioned for previous periods. in any case. 44.11 While his theory was limited to claiming that the modern lines of tailoring for male clothing first appeared between about 1340 and 1370. Provence and languedoc. The dating of fashion’s birth around 1350 based on Post’s authority has been adopted by scholars such as Boucher. lipovestky. and that this was “more in accordance with nature. Fashion.” on p. “die französisch-niederländische männertracht. von Boehn. 20. revisiting the issue. Flugel. the world of eleanore of aquitaine and the Troubadours (twelfth and thirteenth centuries) was amalgamated with the court of Burgundy (flourishing in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries) as the “cradle of fashion.” 13 “Together with the courts of Burgundy. he was revered as an authority in the 1950s when costume studies were being reorganized in the direction of more rigorous methodology. if they were not always worn.10 as far as that goes.” idem. 31 august–7 sept. p. Costume and Fashion. “la naissance du costume masculin moderne. laver. p. his hypothesis that fashion was born with a radical change in the male silhouette. 192.” There is nothing necessarily natural about corseting. 62. 1952). 160. confusing the king of France (reigned 1285–1314) and Philippe le Beau of the low countries (reigned 1482–1506).” 13 There are a number of problems with dating Western fashion’s birth in the fourteenth century. Brenninkmeyer. ushering in a period when frequent variation in costume becomes observable in art and artifacts. Post’s analysis is methodologically sound and quite useful. he said that plate armor emerged in a period when the body was being “differently controlled” because the armor corseted the male form. however. . has made a very significant mark on the historiography of fashion. Modes and Manners. “Une révolution dans le costume masculin au Xive siècle. pp.

but it is nearly impossible to know exactly how these terms correspond to extant images.14 extant manuscripts from earlier centuries are rarer. since the development of miniature painting trails the development of vernacular expression and the increases in book production and diffusion. it is easiest to make something fashionable by expressing desire or admiration for it aloud. Georges duby mentions the astonishment of the schoolmaster at angers at the “idols” he saw on a trip to early eleventhcentury aquitaine. on the contrary. moreover. creating an image expressing fashionability requires greater time. Gothic artists were in this sense the first to create what we would call today ‘fashion’. 16 “Gothic was the first historical style totally to permeate the world of things. When they are.” camille. 12–14. often shown in stylized historical dress rather than in anything that can be reliably considered realistic contemporary dress. when manuscript painting came into vogue. figures are often biblical or allegorical. art history and the philology of apparel remain separate because there exist no medieval fashion manuals that juxtapose words and images. 1. vivid descriptions of dress in literary works probably stimulated the imagination in a way that made a visual translation of the description irrelevant. romances and other texts supply a vocabulary of color and style. pp. the treatment of fashion based on visual representations and artifacts is obliged to analyze historic costume and textiles with the aid of modern technical vocabulary. not just found in architecture.15 Fashions in visual art seem to have evolved at a respectable rate from the appearance of Gothic art at saint-denis in 1144 and even before. Whereas romance literature began to develop rapidly in 14 This was a fashion imported to France from england in the mid-thirteenth century. and were more rarely illuminated. another problem with this dating derives from the uneven chronological distribution of extant sources. and resources. pp. Dress in the Middle Ages. Written expressions require some greater degree of sophistication. examining representation is necessary for understanding the mechanics of fashion. This should hardly be taken to indicate that desire for fashionable consumption was absent. Liber miraculorum sancta Fidis. skill. Gothic Art: Glorious Visions. based on comparison of visual evidence. that in thirteenth-century France fashion did not exist and that dress styles did not change. 5–6. 36.16 it is problematic to conclude. p. its pointed arches and tracery patterns appeared in everything from spoons to shoes. . Histoire de la civilisation française. Words generally precede visual representation both on the oral level and on the written. demonstrating contemporary discomfort at figurative art. but might also reach a wider audience. spreading throughout europe.13. it is also the first truly international style.50 sarah-Grace heller the signs of desire for novel consumption in the writing of earlier periods. p. 132. according to Bourin-derruau. 15 mane and Piponnier. There are relatively copious visual records of dress from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. Temps d’équilibres. an anachronistic expectation motivated by the existence of such fashion manuals today. temps de ruptures. quoted in duby and mandrou. as michael camille suggests when he links the Gothic style and the appearance of modern fashion.

9–13. Breward. pp. p.” but this hypothesis is challenged by his own argument: if the english in 1340 were imitating an already-established French fashion for body-conscious cut. at least in France. 165. 22–34. trends. in discussing england in the 1350s and 1360s he draws heavily on French and occitan literary and documentary sources from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.1268). and Étienne Boileau’s Livre des Mestiers (c. towards a French-inspired emphasis on contour and cut.” 18 in addressing this “birth. or the broader cultural and economic implications of such a ‘naissance’. Breward. 20 including the Romance of the Rose (c.17 illuminated books were objects of fashionable consumption reflecting a complex system already in place. 8. The Culture of Fashion.” however he begins by quoting John of reading’s criticism of english court dress around 1340. more than vehicles disseminating the desires involved in such a system’s initial stages.” 19 he employs the findings of costume historians who “have identified the middle years of the fourteenth century as the first period of significant fashion change. Breward justly critiques traditional costume history for focusing chiefly on physical form.20 saenger. saying that contemporaries perceived a “shift in fashionable dress away from the simple. The Culture of Fashion. 19 Breward. and social issues. and suggests that attention needs to be turned towards the “wider implications of what might be termed ‘the birth of modern fashion’ for structures of class and gender within society. While the manuscript tradition clearly shows that many old French texts of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries were read and copied into later centuries. and visual representations of dress. 9. While he carefully considers the problems inherent in extant medieval sources. miniatures came to be common and well articulated only in the late thirteenth century. functional style previously popular amongst the european nobility. once the non-professional reading public had grown sufficiently to create a market for picture books. an example of the problems involved in taking chronological liberties is found in christopher Breward’s The Culture of Fashion: A New History of Fashionable Dress. fashion must have already have existed previously. 18 17 . it should not be ignored that the culture that produced them had its unique set of styles. The Culture of Fashion.” p. p. “lire aux derniers siècles du moyen age. Aucassin et Nicolette (late twelfth or early thirteenth century). Text and image The modern publishing demand for illustrations to match text has a tendency to promote an inaccurate linking of literary passages from the high middle ages and images from the later middle ages. troubadour marcabru (mid-twelfth century). huon de Bordeaux (second half of the thirteenth century).The BirTh oF Fashion 51 the late eleventh century. 1225–30). construction.

created out of the combined forms of tailored dress and 21 22 newton. 43. based on accounts from Petrarch. This view displays some of the gender prejudices that construe fashion as an exclusively feminine preoccupation.” 22 a view which suggests that he did not examine French and occitan vernacular texts. Luxury and Capitalism. like many other books and documentaries. and so on. were responsible for the advent of modern consumption and fashion practices. stella mary newton’s Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince: A study of the years 1340– 1365 stands in contrast as a model of carefully coordinated visual. nineteenth-century nudes are corseted without the corset. and records of increased prostitution. pp. Fashion in the Age of the Black Prince. she dates fashion’s beginnings at 1300 based on the emergence of observable visual fluctuations. if fashion in dress means constant perceptible fluctuations of visual design. he believed that women. which suggests that a shift in methodology is in order. sombart. one must draw images from the fourteenth century or later. textual. The sociologist Werner sombart. it is a general problem with histories of fashion. believing that courts were the basis of the modern capitalist system. specifically courtesans.” and of consumerism and consumption. seven of his thirteen primary sources are French. The renaissance nude is upholstered like the stiff brocades and stuffed sleeves of that time. This attests to the importance of the language of fashion in French and occitan sources from the late twelfth and thirteenth centuries for any discussion of medieval european fashion. saw the birth of the “modern court. and documentary sources.21 other scholars have dated fashion’s appearance in the fourteenth century based on other kinds of theories and texts. his book also demonstrates that to find detailed visual sources for illustrations. Fashion as remodeling the body a number of scholars have defined fashion as the will to restructure the body through clothing. von Boehn’s Modes and Manners. which are often very highly secularized. similarly juxtaposes pictures from the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries with texts from the eleventh to the thirteenth. anne hollander’s premise in Seeing Through Clothes is that the silhouette of contemporary fashionable clothing influences the ideal image of the nude body in Western art. The passage is worth quoting: The direct reflection of fashion in the image of the nude body can be demonstrated only during those centuries of Western society when true fashion actually existed. Pope John XXii. . in avignon (as well as in some of the italian city-states) in the fourteenth century. 64–6. 2.52 sarah-Grace heller in all. sombart discounted the courts of the earlier middle ages because their notions of love were not sufficiently “secularized.

23 hollander’s dating derives from visual sources. Textiles. p. demand reshaping of the body-and-clothes unit.25 While there is less detailed and realistic visual evidence to support the existence of constant change for the twelfth century than for the fourteenth century. volume and length were clearly key features of elite dress in this period.The BirTh oF Fashion 53 body. The fourteenth-century trend for remodeling the body through cut.000 years. They also reflect a sense of change and progress inherent in society at large. They will have undergone changes of surface fashion. common enough only after about 1300 to observe constant fluctuations in tailoring. harris touches on the importance of psychology and sociology to the arrival of a particular type of production technology. moreover. While her dating corresponds to Post’s. i would argue that dating fashion’s advent to the appearance of any given type of technology neglects the societal forces that brought about such a development. 26 Blanc. ongoing in the West since about 1300. and padding has been studied as a radical transformation by odile Blanc. which she interprets as allowing an explosion of social meaning around clothing. 13. they nonetheless called for a great deal of ingenuity on the part of the tailor and provided the impetus which led.” due to the arrival of technological advances in cloth making and body-conscious tailoring. others such as susan crane have used both historical and literary texts to argue that fashion appears in the fourteenth century with the arrival of “cutting to fit. “Thieves. but refuting the fourteenth-century hypothesis. 73. 5. harlots and stinking Goats” and idem. see also idem. crane. corsetry. 25 harris. different details of hairdressing.24 similarly defining fashion and its appearance in terms of garment construction. 99. The Performance of the Self. Jennifer harris traces the earliest beginnings of Western fashion to the twelfth century. 96. such as those in different kinds of trimming. like newton she does not claim any sort of birth of fashion for this period. then many early civilizations and much of the eastern hemisphere have not experienced ‘fashion’ as we know it. The changes in true fashion. p. to cutting-to-fit and functional buttons. décolletage. Seeing Through Clothes. she bases her conclusions on the increasing complexity of garment construction during the twelfth century and a concurrent acceleration of change in styles of dress and hairdressing. “’estroit vestu et menu cosu’. 26–32. over the next century or so. different colors and accessories. 24 23 . but basic shapes will have altered only very slowly by a long evolutionary process.26 Blanc is careful to limit inquiry to hollander. Parades et parures. although she does discuss the “invention” of the fashionable body. although twelfth-century experiments in garment cutting and construction involved manipulating fabric by temporary lacing or stitching instead of permanent seams or buttons. p. not dependent on any aesthetic lust for perpetual changes of form. pp. 90.

which he called the “Grand siècle” of the middle ages. with any artifice for introducing it anywhere in the costume considered acceptable. and the industries that were the precursors of those that would differentiate modern times from antiquity. 152–67. namely the ways contemporaries conceived their garments and the relationship they had with the body. and it is undeniable that “fashion” can connote the parade of changes in garment silhouette. pp. 27 . “Une révolution dans le costume masculin au Xive siècle. p. however. calling it the strongest force in all of society.27 The first occurred in the period from 1090 to 1190. particularly in the domains of literature. he viewed the twelfth century as a time of new births. this was not the first such change he had remarked. new colors and dyestuffs made variety of color the law of dress. crane is similarly more concerned with how clothing is used to represent the self in this period than with the larger mechanisms of fashion. Tailoring is more a symptom of the type of artifice typical of a fashion system’s complex theatricality.28 desire for furs attained a fever pitch. The desire to attract attention through altering the body’s natural contours should be understood as one desire among many. art. Histoire du costume en France. he implied that it was an era when many of the foundations for later times were laid.54 sarah-Grace heller the range of the information that can be gleaned from the attitudes and relations between figures in the miniatures of aristocratic luxury manuscripts. The use of tailoring to remodel the body is a remarkable phenomenon. 29 Quicherat. as fashionable consumption encompasses far more than clothing. The growth in silk consumption necessitated the extension of trade. resulting in the formation of more corporations than for most other trades. Histoire du costume en France. By associating the twelfth century with the “Grand age” of louis Xiv and the rise of the absolute monarchy. 4. p. 28 Quicherat. literary. Quicherat refers to the twelfth century as “dedicated to innovations in every matter. Appearance of artistic. of all the periods he discussed.” as fashion regulated everything from the points on shoes that went in and out of style to men’s facial hair trends. when new modes of living came into force which would set the standard for later times. and commercial change While nineteenth-century archivist Jules Quicherat referred to a “radical change” in men’s dress in the fourteenth century. Dress in Medieval France.” pp. when many precedents were set. see also evans. 151.29 as noted in Piponnier. 225–6.

32 moreover.33 These passages are striking for the number of remarks that match the criteria for the existence of fashion. it is worth looking at some of the actual wording describing the changes he had seen in his day. [at that time great evils appeared and increased rapidly all over the world. The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis. first among the aristocracy but ultimately extending to the dress of the merchant and laboring classes. they used curling irons. and carefully groomed “lustful” beards instead of being shaggy. Book viii. notably as reported by the anglo-norman cleric orderic vitalis in his Ecclesiastical History. The Ecclesiastical History of Orderic Vitalis. men of knightly rank abandoned the customs of their fathers in style of dress and cut of hair. 32 chidball. The chronicler shows anxiety that the reverence Quicherat. [grew long and luxurious locks like women. 4. and loved to deck themselves in long. et summopere comebant. p. orderic speaks more generally of the era: eo tempore multa malicia in terris orta est. These men wore long pointed shoes with stuffed “pulley toes. et uehementer augmentata est. harris. 33 chidball. militares uiri mores paternos in uestitu et capillorum tonsura derelinquerunt. clothing in Western europe underwent a profound transformation. ch. ch.” and longos crines ueluti mulieres nutriebant. 89. 146. a movement from the short robes of the previous six centuries to long tunics. like their forefathers. covered their locks with caps. pp. both with regard to the young men surrounding William ii of england (1087–1100). Book viii. 31 30 .” p. “’estroit vestu et menu cosu’: evidence for the construction of twelfth-century dress. over-tight shirts and tunics].30 art historian Jennifer harris correspondingly concluded that during the period from the norman invasion of england (1066) to the Third crusade to the holy land (1189–92). pp. Further on.The BirTh oF Fashion 55 Eleventh-century Normandy For a number of costume historians. in a little while townsmen and peasants and all the lower ranks followed their example]. quos paulo post burgenses et rustici et pene totum uulgus imitati sunt. 4. he mentions the change in manners twice. Histoire du costume en France. 10: vol. the first significant signs of Western fashion occur in the late eleventh century. 22: vol. a radical change in men’s dress took place towards the year 1100. 268–9. prolixisque nimiumque strictis camisiis indui tunicisque gaudebant. 186–9.31 orderic vitalis is often mentioned but rarely properly examined.

short beards. with the arrival of the twelfth century. “Fashion in the modern sense of continuously revised modes of dress .” pp.” the repeated complaints of male effeminacy coincide with her rather eccentric definition of fashion as transvestism. was suddenly gathering steam. drawing almost exclusively on the perspective of a single person (and an ardent preacher and moralist at that). there is enough information coming from multiple sources to begin to argue more conclusively for fashion’s continuous. Fashion: The Mirror of History. however. this excited insecurity. 85..” 36 The Batterberrys conclude that fashion was on the verge of beginning in the twelfth century based on their readings of saint Bernard’s writings. “Transvesty – Travesty. immodest short tunics. which is to say a phenomenon manipulating gender codes more than class codes. systematic presence. p. Batterberry and Batterberry. orderic vitalis can be placed among a second group of clerics at the end of the eleventh century who were shocked by the long trailing robes. then Guillaume de volpiano (1017) and siegfried de Gorze (1043) anathematize the unbridled luxury of clothing and arms. For every subsequent century the extant traces multiply.” there were only dress codes. which were constantly violated and so required the invention of new codes. given that vinken considers fashion “postfeudal.34 in chronicles and church councils from the first part of the eleventh century. but spreads to all social groups. henri Platelle has studied two waves of vestimentary scandal concerning men from the loire to the rhine. his feeling that these conditions appeared and then “increased rapidly all over the world” suggests that this was not an isolated change in style but a new attitude he sensed emerging to alter the whole demeanor of his society.36 The first widespread trend mane and Piponnier label “fashion” was the new eleventh-century configuration in men’s clothing. “le problème du scandale. The new style is not isolated.35 The difficulty with identifying fashion in the eleventh century is the relative paucity of surviving evidence. quickly adopted by French and Burgundian knights. first raoul Glaber (1002). When knights could be confused with priests or penitents. 35 34 . but they henri Platelle. vinken. While a single author’s criticism is not enough evidence to prove that these conditions had become constant and institutionalized. The presence of his criticism shows an element of fashion in itself. often exponentially. bringing male appearance to a new level of social equilibrium rather than sharply demarcating one class or another. intended to convey class information at a glance. 1071–96. and curled hair of the new generation.56 sarah-Grace heller for the past was being overturned in favor of new styles..” This claim on its own is weak. ironically. but worth retaining as a complement to other evidence. little more pressure would be needed to set the mechanism of changing styles into motion. and indecent haircuts and shaved faces which first arrived from aquitaine. or men with women. and in norman england. This interpretation coincides to some degree with vinken’s contention that before “modern fashion. The first chronological “fashions” they speak of are those described at charlemagne’s court. Platelle analyzes these scandals in terms of violation of codes of appearance understood by the clerics to correspond to God-given social orders.

39 david abulafia dates the birth of the european fashion industry to the late twelfth century. idem. Emergence of a cyclical economy economic historians rarely discuss the nature of fashion. 101. 60. fancy girdles and pointed shoes. it better meets certain criteria for fashion. arms. a bliaut was a fitted outer tunic and a chainse a chemise worn under the bliaut. the Genoese merchants working in the French markets (whose records are among the earliest such extant) had to become adept at judging tastes and anticipating desires: they calculatingly mane and Piponnier. 178. p.37 The appearance of the long bliaut and chainse38 in the eleventh century contrasts with carolingian styles in that they eventually spread beyond the court to become common dress for all men. where price and crisis cycles depend on catastrophic factors such as weather and war. producing a new economic system. p.” that miniatures from the period are highly stylized. the trends of the carolingian courts could not be described as the result of a fashion system because they did not produce constant cycles of change-seeking. to a cyclical economy. but some have had recourse to the term to describe certain changes in the european economy in the high middle ages. pp. 8–10. but they manage to create demand at muslim princely courts for Western products such as woolens.41 Jacques heers observes that to make a profit. 39 Quicherat. over the course of the “long thirteenth century” (for Peter spufford this would comprehend the years 1160–1330.” pp.The BirTh oF Fashion 57 emphasize that the chronicler’s descriptions of rich styles are “probably simply poetic license. 40 david abulafia. L’économie du Royaume de France. it is generally agreed that a period of urban growth began in the late eleventh and twelfth centuries. p. luxury cloth and spices. silver. and craft specialization. corresponding roughly to Quicherat’s “période brilliante du moyen age. Peter spufford. according to the second criterion for a fashion system. 52–4.” pp. “The role of Trade in muslim–christian contact during the middle ages. increased long-distance commerce. Histoire du costume en France.40 sivéry observes that in certain areas of europe – certainly not everywhere – there was a movement from a traditional economy.” 1190–1340) the cloth trade was the key factor leading to urban growth. Dress in the Middle Ages. since the eleventh-century style spread and became generalized. 38 37 . “le rôle de la monnaie dans la révolution commerciale du Xiiie siècle. and timber. for Gérard sivéry 1180–1315. in which prices fluctuate according to supply and demand. L’économie du Royaume de France. p. and that it was only queens who adorned themselves with ribbons. 41 sivéry. but were eclipsed for a few centuries. 13. sivéry. 355–95. alum. 78. Power and Profit. following agricultural expansion and increased production that permitted the nourishment of a larger population. when not only do Western merchants begin importing more eastern products such as dyes.

The specialist who knows the dress of 1350 Jacques heers. garment construction. 44 Boehn. and also at around 1350. That was surely true to some degree. 134–54.. “sometime in the thirteenth century. Adorned in Dreams. pp. Wilson. 25.” p. when innovations in weaving. L’empire de l’éphémère. 45 hollander.43 From an economic point of view. 1. he also wavered in his dating. just as a young person might look at a photograph from their parents’ teenage years and not be able to distinguish the fashionable from the unfashionable people. They might see nothing obscene enough to have aroused the ire of contemporary moralists. arose in european dress and established what has become the modern concept of fashion. 76.42 sivéry similarly asks whether records indicating price fluctuations according to city of origin and color should be attributed to improvements in dye technology. or biblical.58 sarah-Grace heller limited novel types of fabric or risked a drop in prices when a flooded market rendered a color or texture artificially ordinary. at times accepting the Post hypothesis. saying. an observer from outside the stylish culture of this period might look at long. 186–7. he also suggested that fashion was already a growing system before the “great change” of 1350. pp.. p. inexplicable fluctuations in prices and periods of non-catastrophic cyclical booms and depression signal fashion’s presence in a culture. 166–257.46 What becomes clear from the disagreements over dating is that fashionability is in the eye of the beholder. sivéry. 72. 32–3. 59.” 45 While Gilles lipovetsky works from the assumption that fashion has a beginning which can located in history.44 anne hollander gave the approximate date of 1300 at one point (as quoted above). to the emergence of town life. L’économie du Royaume de France. vol. esp. 17. commerce and banking permitted increases in bourgeois fortunes which led them to imitate the nobles. 43 42 . such as clearly existed from at least the thirteenth century. the aesthetic impulse toward significant distortion and creative tailoring . Seeing Through Clothes. ample garments and think that they look clerical. 1094. When he said that the emergence of fashion is inseparable from the cultural revolution and the emergence of courtly values in the twelfth century. pp. assign multiple births to fashion. “la mode et les marchés des draps de laine. some probably inadvertently. Modes and Manners. dyeing. 45. elsewhere acknowledging that for a radical change to occur. but elsewhere dated the change earlier. but cannot be the only explanation: both authors observe that fashion and demand for novelty must have had a role in the equation. 157. Multiple births many scholars. 46 lipovetsky. applauding Post’s work. also positing city life as essential to fashion. a fashion-oriented network of already highly specialized crafts and artisans had to be in place. p. it is the only system that can explain such otherwise irrational phenomena. von Boehn dated fashion’s birth variously to the crusades.

Fashion 47 For example the amish or the mennonites. it appears that it began sufficiently affecting the cultures in this area sometime in the eleventh century that significant traces of it can be found. out of mind. this book does not hope to solve the problem of whether fashion has an identifiable birth or even the problem of whether fashion is exclusively Western. With the invention of telecommunications. 212–15. although some desire for social competition and self-expression in personal display may be present in a more marginal or marginalized form. Fashion is a phoenix. yet its general forms remain recognizable. scorn previous dress as lacking fashion. rather than prove that fashion was born in a particular time and place. “Traité de la vie élégante. so that. including some members of many different cultures and excluding others.The BirTh oF Fashion 59 well might. birth? This study cannot locate a single. leisure time and/or social interaction. conception. because a fundamental characteristic of fashion is declaring the past invalid in favor of a new. although a rigorous measurable definition of “la vie occupée” would prove no doubt elusive. few places in the world are isolated enough to be completely removed from the influence of what has become almost a global fashion system. following that other cliché. nor can it say how long a gestation period there may have been. improved present. 48 Balzac. Ultimately.” pp. or impoverished subcultures of nations where consumption is not made an option due to lack of resources. “out of sight. The “absent beholder” creates problems as well. constantly dying and reincarnating itself.” because there is no freedom of time or thought to study the individual expression that is fashion. an age when it was not capable of independent action? The conclusion to which we must return is that fashion seems to stage its own birth again and again. who have historically scrupulously and consciously avoided fashion. by the thirteenth century. should fashion be understood anthropomorphically? should we understand that it had an infancy. but this would only serve to demonstrate the principle of rejection of the past that is fundamental to the fashion-seeking eye. it annihilates everything immediately previous as completely devoid of relevance and appeal. like contemporaries in 1350. this book hopes to show that it existed in developing stages in thirteenth-century France. a fashion system was initiated in some of the growing towns and courts of France in at least the twelfth century. neglecting close examination of the evidence of previous periods can lead to the assumption that fashion was absent. .48 There may be some truth in this. There is evidence that there are cultures and micro-cultures where fashion does not exist as a major and productive defining social force.” The medieval periods deserve to be recognized more often than they are as part of the continuum of developments forming modern culture. full-blown fashionable values were in evidence. The beholder must be wary not to fall prey to this trick of denying the past in favor of a present introducing itself with great passion as the only imaginable reality.47 Balzac said that there could be no “élégance” in the busy life of the type of working person he called “l’homme-instrument. indisputably clear moment for either one.

always seeming newly invented. From pourpoint to poetic form. always multiplying. but the desire to consume them and invent them has been steadily present in the West for at least eight centuries.60 sarah-Grace heller would stage many more would-be births in the centuries that followed. . fashionable objects change. just as the adoption of new italian sonnet forms in France in the later middle ages and the renaissance could only have happened because people already expected a steady diet of new poetry. The radical change in male dress that was staged by the young men of the wealthy fourteenth-century Burgundian court could only have happened because a fashion system was already in place. always gaining momentum with new technologies and greater populations affected.

such as love trinkets. Thirteenth-century romances begin to feature scenes of changing clothes to punctuate courtly moments.. pourront faire quatre robes par an.. although much of the invective and criticism is directed towards women’s consumption.3 desire for novelty and Unique expression . Tournaments stage scenes of generosity and prizes. as well as to signal character development. although the others are necessarily implicated as well and will be shown to be in evidence. and also the real forms it took. and the same for their wives. and even military apparel. with arbitrary discarding of past styles in favor of novelty. and attitudes concerning the frequency of acquisition. many of the examples of novel and distinctive consumption focus on male characters. ou de plus. as in other sections of this book. li baron de six mille livres de terre. negative figures embody the social scorn heaped on those who refuse to embrace regular change. This chapter examines items whose value was expressed in terms of novelty or originality. presenting dreams of knightly novelty and distinction as well as occasions when old and worn things can be cast off. Barons worth six thousand pounds or more in revenue may have four new sets of clothing made per year. floral wreaths. How knights get new things in exchange for new arms and clothing (adous noviaus). sumptuary edict of 1294) an important sign of a fashion system’s existence is a pattern showing regular desire for new things. noble young men – valets as well as sons of the local barons – serve at the court of the duke of . and not more. et non plus. et les femmes autant. approaching the development of fashion in terms of expressions of the desire for novelty can offer a picture of fashion as something complexly ideological. (King Philip iv of France. This chapter examines the lexicon of novelty and distinction. not just a parade of dress styles. sumptuary laws treat the desire to change clothes regularly on another social level. close tailoring. with a particular view to the fulfillment of criteria 1 to 5.

essentials for earning a fortune.50 The Roman de la Rose ou de Guillaume de Dole (c. in the romance Amadas et Ydoine (c. Aliscans. in an aside. The noble minstrel Juglet who makes Guillaume his protégé admires the knight’s new set of ermine-lined robes. the battle scene in Enfances Guillaume. 1210–12 or 1227–28) 51 lingers over occasions for getting new clothes. 51 on dating. relishing the details. 52 cf. 98–121. as the narrator says women used to be in the old days (lines 1130–9. knighting a hundred other young men with him and giving them all new equipment (lines 1306–49). hanging on that rack. who knew that if he sent the knights away having lost their gear and ruined their clothes they would have looted the bourgeois. lines 1090–1). The narrator emphasizes how the day after the combats would have been terrible (“mout fust la chose mal alee”) if not for the wisdom of the emperor. renart. Guessard and de montaiglon.62 sarah-Grace heller Burgundy’s daughter. and one which encouraged the generosity of great lords as much as (if not more than) it reflected certain social practices. Guillaume is lucky to have in his sister the best-dressed woman in France (lines 1520. The emphasis on how the women are anachronistic suggests the degree to which this is a fantasy: many young knights preparing for a first great court occasion must have lacked such ready provisions. The narrative offers the fantasy of a place to get new clothing and arms. This dream was a typical one in romances of this period. when the emperor conrad sends for the reputed young French knight Guillaume. pp. “lai veïssies tant bliaut de chainsil/ ronpre et coper ses peliçons hermins” (there you would have seen so many fine linen bliauts torn and ermine linings shredded). 1190–1220. Baldwin. Preparations for the tournament in the first part of the story. feature new clothes and arms prominently. Amadas et Ydoine.iii. lines 768–72. When Guillaume receives word he is summoned to court. Baldwin and others have observed. there are three sets of new robes for him to wear. in Boutet. the duke prepares a rich court. Aristocratic Life in Medieval France.52 it creates an artificial cycle of novelty and discarding which is suggestive of the fashion system’s emergence. lines 1967–8. as John W. but it is also a time when those new things are ruined. por son cors. The tournament is time for new clothes and great display./ de robe fresche a cele perche” (see. his sister lienors has three new sets of robes to offer him close at hand: “vez la . 50 49 . the narrator comments that noblemen have a hard life trying to gain their fortunes this way (lines 2929–40). lines 157–63). his mother’s first concern is for his clothing: he must think carefully of all he needs. made of fine and sweet-smelling wool reinhard. the reminiscence of vivien’s new arms at his knighting. 3546). x–xiv. spending generously. Ydoine. pere. The Romance of the Rose.49 When the eponymous hero is to be knighted. and thereby the means to obtain further new arms and clothing. pp. 1148–9). and likewise extraordinary seamstresses in his sister and mother. Le Cycle de Guillaume d’Orange. cf. so that no one at court might think him poor or ill-clothed (lines 1084–8).

2649). This extends the fantasy of obtaining new things beyond the topos of the hero gaining his fortune at jousting (lines 1560–1. who asks who gave it to him (lines 1867–79). When Guillaume parades in the streets before the tournament. Ydoine sends a messenger out to amadas on the tournament circuit. amadas is shown putting on an elaborately described suit of fine clothes for his return to Ydoine (lines 1623–46). Nouveles in both the material and communicative senses of the word are clearly desired by the hero. in return she hopes for news of him. . 1603–6) to offer opportunity for remuneration to the faithful and intelligent servant of lesser noble rank exercising a non-military function. setting them before a variety of audiences whose favorable impressions are a key mechanism in building up the performance. impressed by his looks. the knight who carried his helmet. 1730. 151–2. only to be greeted by the all the more impressively dressed valet of his lady (lines 1678–1701). Baldwin then shows it to emperor conrad. Guillem de nevers of Flamenca and Guillaume de dole also build their 53 Bumke. The emphasis on the “French” cut is a way of emphasizing distinction. Ydoine gives her valet plenty of gold and silver. on several occasions. belts.” which serves to build up a field of desire around the various meanings of the word. French influence on trends and sartorial vocabulary was also a reality in this period. 1718. wimples. a surcot lined in vair fur. swearing. Amadas et Ydoine plays particularly on the word “new. heroine.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 63 dyed “dark as a moor” (“d’escarlate noir come meure/ ot robe fresche a pene hermine. The romance stages new clothes dramatically. Fine new clothes make the man.” lines 1530–2). and orders him to dress himself well (“or t’aparelle ricement”. “ah! God! now i see a set of clothes cut in the French style!” (lines 1534–5). sleeves of pleated white linen.53 The narrative sets up many scenes of such admiration for new and distinctive clothing. as Bumke has noted. pp. Juglet admires it right away (lines 1823–4)./ mout soëf flerant et mout fine. establishing his reputation as the knight to watch. particularly in the eastern part of the German empire. “news” is a commodity. wish him good fortune (lines 2308–11). dispatching new items as gifts for her love – brand new rings. Courtly Culture. the women admire his beautiful surcot – and additionally his face and figure – and. reflecting the self-confidence of criterion 4 and the audience appreciation of criterion 6. romances tend to portray nobles as responsible for the new clothing of others in the hierarchy. 79–82. 1726. purchasable with new things by messengers in new clothes. Guillaume gives Flemish Baldwin. who brings bad news (“nouveles. line 2603) to go and get news of amadas (lines 2584. still smelling of excellent dye as proof of its newness (lines 1816–22). and supporting cast. 1735) of her engagement to another.” lines 1710. 1595–6. paralleling the emphasis on gifts to companions seen in sumptuary laws. his “nouveles” (lines 1459–68).

after lienors triumphs in court and restores the family honor at the end of the poem. Juglet takes off his hose (heuses) and puts on chausses (lines 948–9). When the 54 see the chapter “le chevalier dans la ville: le modèle romanesque et ses métamorphoses bourgeoises. it is also another chance to linger over the fantasy of having new clothes in fine styles and fabrics.64 sarah-Grace heller reputations as young nobles by conspicuous vestimentary generosity towards their bourgeois hosts. worn without mantles. and puts on lightweight samite. The image of changing clothes underscores the cosmopolitan opulence of the court. the narrator carefully notes (line 1533). conrad’s court. . it is practical to keep a new mantle away from food. with servants. 286–90. showing it as a fashionable world where the style of legwear has significance. D’armes et d’amours. the ladies go to their chambers and wardrobes to change their ensembles. The narrator first describes the rich silk pavilions in the forest (line 193). moreover. The men had levantine silk and fresh furs. 1230–43) of changing clothes for different activities. it suggests the invention of reasons to change clothes for multiple public appearances. but other occasions are artificial inventions of the court. such decoration is not merely gratuitous. This instance carries the obvious symbolism of trading winter’s weight and darkness for summer’s freedom and rejoicing. When the count of oxford arrives for the wedding celebration. as painted at the beginning of the poem before Guillaume’s arrival. characters sometimes change their clothing for practical reasons. summer silks emblazoned with heraldic emblems (lines 5169–80). but one rarely made explicit in the romances of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. pp. is a stage for such fantasy. trading rough legwear for something more appropriate for court. creating more opportunities to demonstrate personal choices. as well (lines 232–41).” in stanesco. Guillaume put on his new cloak after he had finished eating. in Guillaume de Dole.54 Changing clothes There are signs in Jehan et Blonde (c. after traveling. her brother takes off the fur-lined robes in which he had wept a thousand tears./ es chambres et es garderobes/ vont les dames cangier leur robes” (then you saw the rooms empty out. although on one level this bit of amplification is simply a way to dramatize his arrival. then the lovely noble ladies in tight-laced silk dresses. lines 5862–4). a custom which would become a standard aristocratic practice in later centuries. This is significant because it implies the possession of multiple changes of clothing. and their attractive accessories (lines 196–209). the narrator notes that the ladies change their clothes for dinner: “dont veïssiez sales emplir. yet changing one’s clothes after dinner is more an act of display than of necessity. and with their companions.

taking off shoes and unlacing sleeves (line 261) and then sewing the sleeves back on again with thread from their alms purses (lines 272–6). or any other manner. The courtiers seem to entertain themselves by modifying their dress. and were allowed to give only one set to their companions..” 57 Jourdan.. Recueil général des anciennes lois françaises. hierarchy. and no more than five changes if their revenues were higher. she adorned herself well. as they do this. the French laws were concerned with regulating how many changes of clothing an individual was allowed. moreover.56 noble women with less than five thousand pounds a year. Philip the Fair changed the income threshold for having four new sets of clothing a year to six thousand pounds a year for high noblemen and their wives. biau se para. The best evidence that French people of the thirteenth century desired changes of clothing comes from sumptuary laws. promulgated by kings Philip iii and iv in 1279 and 1294. trading his laces and belt for hers (lines 242–58). four. if they had less than seven thousand pounds in land rents a year.. Knights themselves could have no more than two. ladies and chatelaines worth less than two thousand pounds a year were not allowed more than one new set of robes per year. and isambert. “sumptuary legislation in Thirteenth-century France. a girl who had shortened her skirts sings songs about dressing: “. and appearance in Thirteenth-century sumptuary laws and the romance of the rose. surcot and cote) lined in vair (two-toned squirrel) fur. if they had more. Prelates were allowed only two sets a year. unless they had three thousand pounds a year or more. gift.” and “anxiety. meaning full sets of clothing (mantle.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 65 emperor arrives in robes trimmed in two colors of samite.. Philip the Bold with his council of barons and prelates ordered “for the common good of the kingdom” that great lords could have no more than four robes. squires could have two new sets of clothing per year. miex se vesti” (Fair aeliz .. bele aeliz . 55 . by purchase. were allowed four new sets of robes per year. lines 300– 20). although they could give them two chappes (hoods). heller. languedoc and italy. in which case they might have three. so he has a maiden modify his outfit. changing clothes is shown as an idyllic court pastime both literally and in song. respectively. which effectively proscribed new furs for the unmarried. in 1294.55 in 1279. valets one.” 56 duplès-augier. five if their income was greater. decrusy.. something worthy of retaining the attention of a great emperor as well as the poet’s audience. i have argued elsewhere that in contrast with the concern for styles and types of fabric seen in contemporary laws in mediterranean cities. married bourgeois women were allowed only one set of vair robes per year in addition to another set of clothing. as correlated to annual income and social rank. he does not want to be better dressed than the others. squires could have only two new furlined ensembles per year if they or their lord possessed less than four thousand pounds a year. “ordonnance somptuaire inédite de Philippe le hardi. and daughters and wives of noble men with such income.57 Knights could give their companions no more than two new sets of clothing a year. she dressed herself better.

delez li pendoit ses mantiaus a une percheite greilleite. Rejection of the old: how often to change clothes if romance texts and sumptuary edicts convey an image of a culture where obtaining new things was considered pleasurable. with even more intricate limitations. she personifies a perversely unfashionable parsimony. come s’el fust a chiens remese. enviable. there remains the question of the first criterion. povre estoit la cote et arese et plaine de viez paletiaus. but the legislation suggests an attempt to limit the expression of novelty and variety according to income and rank. . Their motives are difficult to discern with certainty. d’agniaus noirs. veluz et pesanz. a number of the figures exiled from the courtly garden of deduit (Pleasure) are depicted in terms of opposition to newness. The laws and the texts both show that desire for new sets of clothes on a regular. whether by purchase or gift. satisfying criteria 2. implying that legislation is reactive rather than proactive or preventive. cote avoit viez et derompue. mes avarice du vestir se veut mout a tart enhastir. 4 and 6 for the existence of a fashion system. The figure of avarice. obstinately preferring to wear things until they wore out. Bien avoit sa robe .x. notably. and was indeed happening regularly on the economic level. such rejections may be seen in the didactic Roman de la Rose. yearly basis was present in thirteenth-century French culture. el mantle n’ot pas penne veire. The kings and their councils sought to control the expansion of wardrobes. novelty and variety are construed as privileges. which according to the statutes’ logic ought to be reserved for the wealthy and prominent. ert ele mout povrement vestue. There is a legal proverb that holds that every law is born old. The renewal of the law in 1294. et une cote de bruneite. among other texts. ainz fu vil et de povre afeire. anz. but privileges that many others equally coveted for themselves. is described at length as one who refused to acknowledge the importance of wearing new clothes.66 sarah-Grace heller This highly focused kind of legislative attention suggests an important degree of concern over the increasing desire on the part of French courtiers and town dwellers to obtain new clothing. in which the embracing of the new entails a rejection of the old. suggests that the1279 efforts to restrain the acquisition of new clothes had not been entirely successful.

59 in this de lorris and de meun. avarice would endure great discomfort and great hardship over getting a new one. before she had another made. asking “don’t you recognize it?” The servant retorted that although he could not find it. crane notes that etienne de Bourbon used the same anecdote. cheap affair. The desire to hoard is contrary to the desire advocated by the fashion system. but regarding clothing. car s’el fust usee et mauvaise. lined in matted. hearing this. as if it had been left to the dogs. heavy black lamb. by crane. she had had the robe for a good ten years. The passage portrays ten years as too long to keep an outfit. the drive to consume and keep money and goods in circulation. 59 58 .desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 67 car sachiez que mout li pesast se cele robe point usast. The Exempla or Illustrative Stories from the Sermones Vulgares. rather than wearing new things regardless of the state of the old. Jacques de vitry. the other knights at the banquet laughed and mocked the knight for his avarice.58 she was dressed very poorly. ed. it was a shoddy. and a cote of fine brunete wool. The mantle was not lined in vair pelts. avarice is ostracized from courtly society for her rejection of the new. next to her hung her mantle on a skinny clothespole. he had known it well for seven years. and in a similar anecdote in the “speculum exemplorum. the cote was cheap and threadbare and covered in old rag patches. Roman de la Rose. her cote was old and torn. The evolution of the representation of vices related to the economy such as avarice will be further discussed in chapter 5. avarice is terribly loathe to hurry. avarice personifies unfashionable behavior by wearing her clothes out. a miserly knight swore at his servant for being slow in finding his cloak. Know that it would pain her greatly if that outfit were to wear out. if it got worn out and shabby. avarice eüst grant mesaise de robe nueve et grant disete avant qu’ele eüst autre fete. one of the exempla used in sermons by Parisian preachers such as Jacques de vitry offers further evidence for how long was too long to wear a style or garment. lines 207–26.” the servant says the cloak was twenty years old.

lines 6365–8). e non an gaire demorat qu’intret Guillems tot a celat. “tric.” which connote lateness. bare feet.68 sarah-Grace heller case. completely barefoot. Chivalric Fiction and the History of the Novel. cuckolded husband.” according to levy triga can substitute for “tigra. 3894–5). which caroline Jewers argues should be read as an ironic parody of northern French manners and literary styles. and he was wearing a robe of purple dotted with little gold stars. e pois guida/ e vai s’en als bains. lines 6375–81.61 then went out.” while archambault in his unkempt old clothes and bare skin represents the “don’t. et estet li tan ben e gent que nuilla re no i si desmen. with his untrimmed beard. moreover. upon succumbing to jealousy. the miserable. The meaning of “trida” is not clear here.” “triga. totz descauz” (sir archambault put on a long simarre outer coat that was beastly and outmoded. which connotes something more like savage. and “ferocious” old clothes (lines 1325–9. archambault is depicted as he dresses to take Flamenca to the baths. archambault. he had chausses of a red samite silk. “Una samarra fera e trida/ vest ens archambautz.v. leading her towards the baths.” Guillem is shown throughout the work in colorful. long nails. with the old clothes and neglected appearance seen in archambault. and it fit him so well and elegantly that nothing looked out of place. Petit dictionnaire provençal-français. uncut and unwashed hair.60 the narrator contrasts the impeccable dress of Guillem. s. in this side-by-side comparison. lets his once elegant appearance go to ruin. Flamenca. 61 60 . hence my rendering of “outmoded. Guillem reads like a fashion “do. Guillaume appears. levy. the perfect lover. cassas ac d’un vermeil samit.” tiger. without chausses. such depictions instruct men to seek new Jewers. et ac una polpra vestida ab esteletas d’aur florida. unique fabrics. seven years was presented as ridiculously long for a respectable knight to keep a garment.” 62 huchet. castigating the outdated in the occitan romance Flamenca. Promoting the new. he appears in a different outfit every time. after archambault checks the baths and finds nothing arousing his jealous suspicion.62 Guillem hardly waited before entering secretly. it is close to “tric” or “triga. undomesticated. 1545–60. ferocious.

and those who are wretched and poorly dressed.” lines 6096–8). as the reader may have observed from some of the passages cited above.. although the courtiers wish they had gone hunting too (lines 425–6). a cluster of elements of the fashion system are present here: novelty. Words for novelty as with the study of cointerie which follows in chapter 4. which the poet extols for its newness and fine manufacture.) is a key word signaling desire for novelty in thirteenth-century French. Je. a fashion system is operating in a given culture following criterion 7. “new” (nuef. but not for more refined court activities.” line 6095) and varied cleverly dyed colors (“mout deguisee couleurs . novele. . warns that misguided lovers pursue the seductions of dazzling appearance only to be tricked and deceived. badly dressed (“mal atirié”) in ugly grayish cloaks “which were not new this year” (“qui ne furent noeves oan”). reddened. is set against the appearance of a group of hunters bearing home game for dinner. noeve.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 69 clothes and a stylish. Frais or fresche (fresh) is another. especially when used in contexts of admiration and unique styling. The description of Fortune in the Rose draws two clear social categories: those who dress elegantly and opulently. Courtly Love Undressed. and then how. like Fortune when she frowns (lines 6119–44). etc. leesce (Joy) wears a chapel. de lorris and de meun. et nuef. a nul jor mes veü n’avoie chaspel si bien ovré de soie 64 63 64 Burns. selonc les herbes et les graines.” line 6124).63 The narrator voices a critique of what sounds like a fashion system. Roman de la Rose. and the strategic staging of attractiveness through the choice of unique details like trim and color. bloodstained hose (lines 429–34). and old. a head circlet. up-to-date appearance to be desirable to women. The idyllic forest scene in Guillaume de Dole discussed above. Burns has observed that reason. criticism. with nobles ladies and knights enjoying themselves in silks and unsewn sleeves. he implies that clothes older than a year could be used for the rough sport of hunting. like Fortune when she is happy (lines 6088–114). discovering the lexicon conveying appreciation for fashionable values is important to the process of understanding whether.. qu’en ai veü . as well as to maintain their reputations. the narrator reserves his positive qualifiers for the well dressed. 20–1. in the Roman de la Rose. narrating the tale.xx. lines 855–9. s’ot un chapel d’orfrois tot nuef. requiring constant potentially ruinous expenditure on multiple rich robes with variety in their decorative edgings (“toute diverses couleurs. pp. sartorial orphans (“orfeline de robe.

rendering the age of a garment or textile more obvious. of blue and of brunete. and is found quite commonly paired with words conveying novelty.” it is often used to refer to colors and dyes. de tiretaine. de couleur fresche. Roman de la rose. de pers et de brunete. exaggerating how it stood out from the many chaplets known to the narrator. clear dyes natural fibers and dyes lose their color more easily than synthetics.70 sarah-Grace heller she wore a brand new gold orphrey circlet. Puis li revest en maintes guises robes fetes par grant mestrises de blans dras de soëve laine. new colors. The Pygmalion episode includes an almost hyperbolic quantity of new clothing. lines 20907–12. The newness of the robe no doubt suited the personification of generosity.. . of tiretaine. uninhibited by the accretions of time. Guillaume de lorris links joy and pleasure with the wearing of fine. d’escallate. the sculptor Pygmalion dresses his carved woman in many fabrics. fine et nete . i. which the poet specifies as being of fine. indicating newness of fabrication: “largesce ot robe tote fresche/ d’une pourpre sarazinesche” (lines 1161–2). leesce is represented as a figure who enjoys her clothing and appearance (line 862). of scarlet. where novel modish display is connected to self-confidence as well as attractiveness to others.65 Then he dresses her in many styles.. with fresh. fine. have never in my life seen a chaplet worked so well in silk The figure representing Joy displays something new and unblemished. The qualifier tot emphasizes an object’s extreme newness (“brand new”). in another example. who was always giving away her possessions and apparel and would regularly need new clothes in order to keep herself suitably adorned. analogous to how the poet says joy is uninhibited by hatreds (line 830). de vert. and on the uniqueness of the item. new accessories in a manner suggestive of several criteria for a fashion system. something the modern reader 65 de lorris and de meun. The rather weak rhyming of “new” with “twenty-nine” places emphasis both on the novelty of the chaplet. meaning “fresh” but also simply “new. in robes made with great skill of white cloth of soft wool. of green. largece (Generosity) wore a gown of saracen purple whose hue was fresh. putting nuef in the position of prominence. who have seen twenty-nine. another term for newness is fresce.

intense. refreshing it regularly: “solers a laz et estivaus/ aies sovent frais et noviaus” (get fresh and new laced shoes and boots often. lines 2137–8). above). lines 15176–8. lines 553–4). in a brand new bliaut with slashings. For example. declaring his gratitude for good health and wealth. The importance they place on new. lines 2239–44. fresh siglaton.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 71 must keep in mind. be i ac d’argen tro ad u marc./ d’un fres bliaut qui’st entailliés” (he is dressed. The outfit amadas dons for his triumphant post-tournament return to Ydoine is fresh and stylishly tailored: “il est vestus. Briseida gives diomedes a sleeve of new. it appears advantageous to give new gifts when possible. 67 huchet. Both of these characters represent models of courtly conduct. particularly given the didactic tone of amors’ discourse. The term “fresh” was also used in occitan to express newness. looking resplendent. Freshness is represented as highly desirable in twelfth. in Flamenca Guillem gives his host a rich belt as a gift. see also Guillaume de Dole. amors. lines 1623–4). unspoiled apparel suggests social pressure towards greater levels of consumption. he promises the chaplain a new set of garments: “e vol que vos aias del mieu/ uns vestirs blans 66 cf.67 Guillem had a great belt in his chest which was brand new. whereas fading and discoloration indicate age. whose newness is emphasized.and thirteenth-century France. Guillems ac una gran correja en la maleta tota fresca ab fivella d’obra francescha.66 The god of love. wear./ de dras de seie nués e freis” (each was fully armed in steel. as would befit a woman of wealth and leisure who had the time and resources never to wear anything old: “Un chapel de roses tot frois/ ot desus le chapel d’orfrois” (she wore a completely fresh circlet of roses over the circlet of gold embroidery. . e c’om lo pezes neis ben larc. draped in new. with a buckle of French craftsmanship. fresh silk). lines 9536–7. car bella fon rica et genta. oiseuse wore a fresh new chaplet of roses. Baumgartner and vielliard. increasing one’s reputation for generosity all the more effectively. and cheap dyes or fabrics (as seen in the old “grayish” hunters’ cloaks in Guillaume de Dole. Flamenca. several of Guillem’s gifts are described as new. encourages lovers to keep themselves in new apparel. for it was richly and elegantly made The newness seems to increase the value of the gift. Le Roman de Troie de Benoît de Sainte-Maure. lines 1531. well-distributed colors indicate newness and quality. there must have been a mark of silver in it not even by a generous weight estimate. 1826. the description of the Trojans: “de fer fu coverz chasuns d’els. comme envoisiés.

an important town of Flanders from the twelfth into the fifteenth century. which he says he received from the provost of airas. and who is so worthy and intelligent. a more costly and elite kind of consumption can resist the need for frequent disposal. such comments indicate the fascination that quality and uniqueness of manufacture held for certain poets and readers of the time. fresh and brand new This passage raises some questions regarding the connotations of newness.l donarai bonas et bellas. Guillem also promises his hostess materials for a new outfit. lady Bellepile.69 here is an interesting case of re-gifting. a ma hosta. later Guillem gives his hostess another gift of purple fabric to have a bliaut made. que. Guillem’s references to time in his discussion of a gift’s value are unusual. does this suggest that. contrary to the dictates of fashion. giving a brand new gift simply meant that it would be valuable for a longer period? does a promise that a gift will have lasting value suggest that novelty and ephemerality are not principal values. totas fresquetas e novellas. et es fort pros et eissarnida. elegant miniver. quar non teis ren. a lonc tems i aura tesaur car n’aura faitas vestimenta ab penas vairas. lines 3280–2). Flamenca.72 sarah-Grace heller totz nous e fres/ ab pena d’esquirols mores” (and i want you to have from my possessions a brand new outfit of white wool. since she’s not weaving.” but rita lejeune argues that it should be aires-surla-lys. Guillem promises her that if his lovesickness does huchet. yet the furs are unused. so it cannot be called recycling. implying that many such gifts would lose their worth in a few years due to passing styles. along with furs for lining it. bella e genta. darai una polpr’enrodida ab bellas esteletas d’aur. it will be a treasure for a long time for she will make a garment of it and line it with beautiful. i will give a piece of purple cloth bordered with little gold embroidered stars. lined in dark squirrel fur.68 To my hostess. Guillem’s insistenced that “it was a treasure to last a long time” suggests that a rich textile’s staying power could not be assumed. sewing or spinning. lines 3403–12. therefore that there is no fashion system? it is not clear. and that 69 68 . which i will give her. ni cos ni fila. na Bellapila. items of “timeless elegance” are sold alongside the fad items of the moment even today. airas has been translated “arras.

conforming to criterion 9. and seduction. but both types of novelty are crucial to a fashion system. e d’autras joias qu’ieu no i met qu’eron bellas e covinens. she will have a similar gift each year (lines 3480–96). necklaces and brooches and rings and little balls full of musk and other baubles i won’t mention which were beautiful and elegant. and a girl who sang a “new song” received his belt with a silver buckle (lines 1833–45). When the lances are handed out at the tournament. he spins a fantasy in which generous bourgeois will be rewarded with new.” suggests the association between baubles and pleasure. “le caractère ‘nordique’ de certains détails de Flamenca. one of the attractions of conrad’s ideal court in Guillaume de dole is the regular distribution of new things. particularly to the young knights. attractiveness. to accompany new robes of rich cloth (lines 4342–9).” lines 2468–9). many romance passages where new things are vaunted deal with the appeal of decorative baubles and accessories. lienors also distributes new gloves and embroidered belts to the knights who serve her. each knight receives white gloves and a stylish new belt (“corroie fresche et novele. this should be read for possible political resonances. The term used categorically for such trinkets here. thanks to a social superior’s remarkable generosity. Guillem gives Flamenca’s ladies small gifts of gratitude. When Guillaume arrives. noscas e fermals et anells e botonets plens de musquet. rich clothing on an annual basis. Guillaume offers his hostess a brooch with thirteen pounds as a gift. lejeune. a maiden distributes garlands of blue flowers to him and his companions. as in the choice of details rather than in radical alterations in silhouette (criterion 5). “joias.” 70 huchet. Flamenca. the chamberlain gives them each new white gloves and belts (lines 1544–7). The most important signs of fashion may very well be the small personal purchases rather than whole new sets of clothing. lines 5986–91.70 Then as a sign of affection he gave them corded belts and headbands and ribbons. . Poissas lur donet per lausenga cordas e frontals e frezells.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 73 not kill him. promoting a dream of fashion for the wider population yet preserving the noble’s place as trendsetter. Details: baubles and trinkets The gift of a new belt might seem minor next to a full ensemble of new furlined robes.

camille has analyzed some extant examples of the wide variety of luxury objects produced for such consumption in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries: girdles. pp. These are in addition to many other jewels. lines 4291–300. see also Frappier. 57.73 or in the episode of the lady of escalot in the prose Lancelot discussed by Burns. lines 20973–8. Gifts of small adornments suggest the presence of fashion.74 sarah-Grace heller in the Rose’s Pygmalion passage. 72 71 . et pelotes et oiselez. first as consumable objects in themselves. Courtly Love Undressed.74 camille argues there was a stronger gendering of such accessories as gifts for women. 74 Burns. camille. young women are portrayed as being partial to new trinkets. some clearly intended as love gifts and adorned with images evoking romance narratives and love play.75 associating women with love of small accessories does become a topos. for instance in the passages from Amadas et Ydoine discussed above. 73 The evil seneschal is delighted to receive gifts from a lady he believes to be the châtelaine of dijon.71 and he brings her new little flowers. brooches. The Medieval Art of Love. p. purses.72 he argues that these beautiful fantasy objects were constructed in part to obscure the crude realities of the medieval marriage market.” the sort of thing he expects a young lady to enjoy. et li porte fleurs noveletes don ces jolives puceletes font en printens leur chapelez. the kind with which gay young maidens make their wreaths in the springtime. to seduce. veils. a dit known as the “Blasme des Fames” (late thirteenth century) takes up the misogynist theme derived from Juvenal and ovid. although men could be the recipients of love gifts. Roman de la rose. and balls and little birds and various new things pleasing to young ladies. p. The linking of novelty and pleasure in his logic is a symptom of a fashion system’s influence on Pygmalion’s thinking. For instance. rings. purses. 27. The Medieval Art of Love. pp. and additionally as a way to win affection. and hair ornaments which he had chosen for her (lines 20932–60). 3–11. chaplets and collars. et diverses choses noveles delitables a damoiseles. Pygmalion brings his statue small gifts of “choses noveles. in Guillaume de Dole. La Mort le roi Artu. in which women themselves were exchanged like commodities. to give and gain pleasure. 75 camille. condemning certain women for their efforts to drain men of all their de lorris and de meun. 50–71.

as well as the semper mutabile topos. The poem demonstrates anxiety over the use of judicious consumption for the sake of social mobility. lors ne prise q’un poi le vilain Qui gaigna a grant sueur l’avoir done ele est a enneur. and rings and circles. Que la aumonsniere de soie chapeaus orfroie laz e coroie. pp. orphrey circlet.76 When she is richly fed and dressed in a beautiful gown. Pfeffer. adding support to the possibility that criterion 10 for a fashion system was in place. as seen above. then she cares almost nothing for the man who by much sweat earned the wealth with which she honors herself. pp. and belt. 76 . with her embroidered silk almspurse. Three Medieval Views of Women. women Fiero.” in this case) who use the display of material objects to improve their lot. Trois ou quatre en chascune main. There is evidence here that the desires associated with fashionable consumption were affecting a broader section of the population than just the elite. and allain. 86–104. 77 Fiero. e les verge e les aneaus.” late thirteenth or early fourteenth century). sumptuary laws restricted such expenditures for the less wealthy ranks. Fermauz d’argent e boen e leaus. and allain. which would require greater expenditure. fine shining brooches of silver. 144. 12–16. which portray ambitious women married to common men (“vilain. p.77 as they constantly change moods.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 75 wealth in order to adorn themselves. the narrator depicts women as constantly changing their minds – symptomatic of the fashion victim. This passage is reminiscent of the mal marié in the Romance of the Rose and other texts like it. The text testifies to the allure of decorative accessories. in another dit called “The Ways of Women” (“la contenance des Fames. Three Medieval Views of Women. on dating of the poem and the manuscript tradition. appendix. and the subsequent destabilization of the former perceived hierarchy. ribbons. Pfeffer. e de bele robe vestue. The “Blasme des Fames” makes no mention of whole sets of robes or individual garments. and the social urge to consume them as experienced by certain ranks of women. three or four for each hand. some manuscripts of the poem enumerate the ways that such women spend their husband’s money: Quant ele est richement peus.

right away she undresses and redoes it all again . and many literary instances of twelfth.. it provokes her greatly when she sees That another is better dressed than her. of particular interest is the poet’s analysis of the anxiety he viewed women as investing into the uniqueness of their appearances and their jewelry: “orendroit sera enviouse/ de sa voisine qui aura/ Plus beaux jouyaux qu’elle n’aura (now she will be envious of her neighbor. circlets.29–38. 138–9..” note again that the word jouyaux evokes joy. . 16.. Gifts of trinkets and baubles are of course not a radical innovation of the high French middle ages. deffait et refait de rechief . she would consider herself a foolish idiot if she were not properly dressed. he uses the term “fame” (woman) rather than one connoting noble status. among other items of their dress and appearance. 155–7).76 sarah-Grace heller correspondingly change the veils. and arrangements used in their hair and headdresses (lines 81. When she is not. De Miseria condicionis humane. The selection and display of multiple baubles is painted as a regular activity for women in general. vanity). Ars 78 cf. ribbons. straight from the Art of Love are passages in the Rose such as the god of love’s order to give trinkets to his beloved’s servant so that she will speak well of him (lines 2543–7. moult li envie quant elle ot Qu’autre soit mieux appareillee. who has more beautiful jewels than she does.and thirteenth-century advice on giving are direct borrowings from him. ovid was a (somewhat sardonic) proponent of giftgiving. although it is nothing new to condemn women for the vice of envy (and less directly. where satisfactory fashionable display is tied to emotional wellbeing. although he does depict this sort of woman as one who would have a chambermaid (line 64). connoting the pleasure associated with accessorizing. et s’el ne l’est tout orendroit. here lines 134–7.78 et moult se tendroit fole et nice s’el n’est appareillee a droit. without regard for specificities of status or rank. lines 66–8). lotario dei segni (Pope innocent iii). The feminine dressing and undressing here described make clear that a certain breadth of wardrobe was accessible to enough women in the society that the poet could make such broad generalizations. such as dame or damoiselle. 115–25. the poet’s depiction of the feminine psychological concern with the uniqueness of their baubles suggests the fourth criterion for a fashion system. 140–1..

silk purses. p. ii. hair ornaments or small jewels (Rose lines 7401–11. in this passage there is no mention of gifts for the maid. 81 camille. performance of music and songs. Goold and mozley. and belts (lines 2143–4) let alone a constant supply of new shoes or well-tailored clothing. The Medieval Art of Love.275–80). it would be easy to mistake them for a mere poetic convention. la vieille’s advice not to love poor men – even great poets not being worth more than a few drinks (Rose lines 13586–90) – dramatizes ovid’s lament that costly gifts are sought more than poets (Ars. in France and across europe.. pp.. ovid tells lovers to sway the maid with promises rather than gifts in order to gain access to the attentions of her mistress and to have the maid speak well of him. purses. The French poets take the theme of gift-giving and the amplification of specific items considerably further than their roman model. and the fabrication of floral chaplets by those who love them (lines 71–4). 82 Étienne Boileau. one that required less expenditure than robes.79 and ami’s advice to bribe guardians or gatekeepers (Ars. The dit called “le Bien des Fames” says that women inspire the composition of new poems. however. Ovid. which are inexpensive (lines 2145–52). The god of love in the Roman de la Rose says that a lover can be cointe without spending lots of money by keeping himself in wreaths of flowers. 110. The Art of Love and Other Poems. The fresh wreaths of flowers sported by oiseuse and Pygmalion’s statue have been mentioned above. 351–74.” so the floral trade should not be considered 79 in Ars Amatoria i. especially given the symbolic implications of wearing and exchanging floral chaplets as love tokens in works with floral titles like the Roman de la Violette or the two romances called the Roman de la Rose. if he can’t even afford small details like gloves. pp. the specific suggestions of wreaths of flowers. Three Medieval Views of Women.651–8). floral hats were an economic and social reality. est établi pour servir les gentilshommes”). and allain. 198–9. iii. p. also 12396–400) are Jean de meun’s invention.81 The Livre des Métiers of Étienne Boileau (1268) shows that the makers of floral hats (chapeliers de fleurs) were an established guild in Paris by the later part of saint louis’ reign. 43. however. like those in Guillaume de Dole.255–60). ii. They were allowed considerable rights and tax exemption because their trade was associated with the higher echelons of society (“leur métier est franc et . Pfeffer. .80 Floral wreaths of this kind are common in romances from the thirteenth century and later. based on real items of his own time.82 note that the statutes indicate service to “gentlemen. like the baubles just discussed. 54–6.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 77 Amatoria. 80 Fiero. innes and Perry. Medieval Flowers. fresh fashion Flowers represent another significant form of fashionable novelty consumption in the thirteenth century. Flowers: cheap. Le livre des métiers.

” camille. leesce: “Par druerie et par solaz/ li ot s’amie fet chapel/ de roses. alice Planche has studied the vogue for floral hats in romances and other texts. it inspires la vieille’s speech introducing him/her to “the bath in which venus makes all women bathe” (lines 12721–2). and that he would have loved nothing so much as to make a chaplet out of them (lines 1649–52). composed of every variety of flower in the world. The gift of a chapel de roses to Bel acueil (Fair Welcome). The god of love recommends that lovers be cointe: one sure way to do that was to wear fresh wreaths of roses. This passage suggests how fresh flowers were coveted as a fashion item.78 sarah-Grace heller something entirely dedicated to women’s consumption. 53.84 Bel acueil’s ambiguous gender – the figure is grammatically masculine. the initiation into feminine desire and the ways of social sexual (and economic) relations. wore not just a wreath but an entire robe entirely made of fresh flowers (lines 874–94). and Faux semblant (False appearance) through the intermediary of la vieille (the old Woman). “la Parure du chef. deduit wore a wreath made for him by his love. offered by courtoisie (courtliness). is an offensive strategy taken by love’s barony on the lover’s behalf (lines 12351– 711). When Bel acueil finally accepts it. p. The wreath she makes becomes a symbol of the gift of her body. The god of love.” This association of flowers as symbols of love or sexuality is reinforced by amors’ robe. The gift of a wreath of roses was laden with significance in the context of wooing. The lover’s innuendo transforms this tool for gaining women’s attention and admiration into a mark of his sexual prowess. as camille has argued. The Medieval Art of Love. hence every sort of love imaginable. and then with his immortal powers. largesse (Generosity). he observes that the roses were so fine and pleasing that any man who could pick one should cherish it deeply. which suited him very well. When the narrator encounters the rose garden where he will find the rose of his desire. which stayed strong into the fifteenth century and beyond. . which could have been torn on a tiny little thorn. his chapel de roses was so attractive and natural that it was completely covered with birds (lines 895–901). qui mout li sist bel” (as a sign of true love and pleasure his lover had made him a chaplet of roses. cointe beyond mortal ken./ que l’en li peüst tote fendre/ a une petitete ronce” (she resembled a new rose in the blush on her tender flesh. he dreams of wearing symbols of all the young women he had “deflowered. it is noteworthy that leesce is then described physically in terms of roses herself: “el resembloit rose novele/ de la color sus la char tendre. There is a complicated layering of symbolism in the use of floral wreaths in the Roman de la Rose. but represents the receptive 83 84 Planche. amors recommends that lovers wear them.83 Floral chaplets or garlands were an object of courtly fashion that Guillaume de lorris used thematically in constructing allegories. which she offers her lover. lines 826–8). he himself is able to wear them to the ultimate degree. lines 838–41).

see also Flamenca. The symbolic use of the floral chaplet in the Roman de la Rose does not diminish the likelihood that floral wreaths were an item of fashionable consumption. Guillaume de lorris plays on that symbolism: he does not invent either the theme or the vogue for floral ornaments. Pygmalion seems to have thought so. The chaplet of roses was an available poetic symbol because it was present materially in the society. “ne por chapiaus de fleurs noveles. Flowers were cheap and readily available. nonetheless. on the contrary. 85 . lines 6207–320. where Flamenca paraphrases this passage. there seems to have been demand for more changes of clothes and new clothes whenever they could be attained. veils or wimples nor jewels. lines 8911–12). satisfying the desire for originality. This is clear. his denial implies that most people believed that wreaths of new flowers did in fact enhance attraction. esp.” that is. Floral wreaths constitute an important preliminary kind of fashion in the sense that they are ephemeral and disposable. demand precedes supply. “car domna es plus leu anada/ que non es rosa ni rosada” (for woman fades sooner than rose or dew).desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 79 aspects of the feminine rose – effectively reflects the receptivity of both men and women to fashion’s trappings. as the god of love points out. her claim that she never saw a wreath look so well on anyone. la vieille’s flattery of Bel acueil./ ne leur semblassent estre beles” (nor wreaths of new flowers would make them seem beautiful to them. nor surcoats. just as successful metaphors draw on familiar images. trade was expanding. neither furred mantles. The technology of fabric manufacture was developing steadily at this time. coteles. lines 6289–90. in a time when robes and fine jewels were a great expenditure. it helps translate the ovidian “carpe diem” imperative to women to grant their lovers’ wishes before their beauty fades and the chances for love are gone. if men could see past fashionable artifices. the fascination with discourses of appearance and cointerie seen in the Rose suggests that the authors would have been likely to favor a trend item as an image to weave into their many-layered picture of love and society. Ars Amatoria iii. as Jean de meun often treats wreaths of roses more prosaically. simply as coveted fashion items. The word “new” is constantly associated with them. floral ornaments were a kind of affordable costume jewelry. certainly contributes to the gift’s acceptance (lines 12700–5). 65–98. moreover.85 Fashions are dependent on words and representations. The making of floral wreaths was an organized industry in Paris. They could easily be arranged in different styles. The ephemerality that lends itself to their fashionability also makes them an appealing symbol of the temporality of young love. The mal marié includes wreaths of flowers in his list of things that would not make women look more beautiful “if men had the eyes of a lynx.

Flamenca. in Flamenca. ab seda e moscat menut ac en son cap. mas non l’estet mal: tam be. mais per garar sos pels de la cauz qu’es el trauc. Fin’amors l’a donat un pauc de son tenc.80 sarah-Grace heller Distinctive personal choices a fashion system encourages the creation of multiple models for consumption and allows the possibility for personal expression as individuals may choose between multiple options. including the cointe and original chaplet worn by oiseuse (lines 549). tan ben e tan gen si causseron que disseras c’ab el nasqueron. in this chapter. some signs of unique personal choices in medieval French literature have been discussed. was discussed in the introduction. when he stands at his window in half-undress and stares out at Flamenca’s tower. and on the sewn sleeves of several figures. el man portet una candella. his chemise and drawers were made of cloth 86 huchet. lines 5821–43. Franchise (lines 1208–21). camis’e bragas ac de tela de rens. et estet li mout avinen li corregeta don s’estrein. it is worth quoting the entire passage to give a sense of the breadth of detail given. tro al som del bliaut atein. Un capell lini. ben cosut. ben faita e sotil e per corduras e per fil. at the baths.86 in his hand he carried a candlestick. . The following section will examine ways that unique or original clothing and accessory choices were presented as reflecting favorably upon the wearer. the narrator lingers extensively on the male protagonist Guillem’s appearance and personal taste on several occasions. another occurs at the moment of his first private meeting with Flamenca. caussas hac de pali am flors obradas de mantas colors. blisaut portet de cisclaton ben fait e fronzit per razon e tiran per lai on si ten.s [es] ab lo natural ques assas plus belz ne semblet. one such moment. as well as the right to self-expression that the mal marié resents his wife having. non per celar la corona. the body-conscious tailoring seen on deduit (lines 821–3).

but designated a new style. enlart. desire to be a nonpareil. well-sewn. costume historians generally agree that the term as well as the pleated style passed from usage by the early thirteenth century. not to hide his tonsure but to protect his hair from the chalk in the passage. The first of the noteworthy example of Guillem’s distinction in this passage is the candlestick he carries. sewn tightly at the sides and pleated to have fullness and display copious fabric use around the hips. This may accord with what seems to be a calculated back-dating on the part of the author. a performance of the hero’s identity as ideal lover.” p. it may be a deliberate archaicism. undeniably. Wax candles are prohibited to the bourgeoisie in item 13 of Philip iv’s 1294 sumptuary law. 3: Le costume. p. True love gave him a pallor. who is believed to have composed the text in the last third of the thirteenth century but who. his leggings were of silk with flowers embroidered in many colors. pp.” . who is not willing to undress for him sight unseen or without an interview (lines 5803–8). harris.88 his leggings 87 Favier. but they were also luxury possessions. This is a demonstration of savoir faire.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 81 from reims. candles have their utility in underground passages. they fitted him so well and so nobly that you would say they were born on him. “estroite vestu et menu cosu. which was cleverly pleated and clung where it was seamed. and looking very elegant on him was the belt with which he cinched his waist. pp. Flamenca. lejeune. De l’or et des épices: Naissance de l’homme d’affaires au Moyen Age.87 his possession of a luxury light source announces his status. a linen cap. detailed with silk and flecks he wore on his head. vol. The term is uncommon in the south. 182. but it did not look bad on him: it went so well with his natural look that he seemed all the more handsome. it reappeared in the early fourteenth century. moreover. “le calendrier du roman de Flamenca. it hung down to the hem of his bliaut. Guillem models many items that reveal the uniquely well-built aspects of his body. The narrator takes pains to show that Guillem stages himself carefully for this meeting. it serves to illuminate his appearance at the important moment when he presents himself to Flamenca. There is implicit evidence in this description of desire to impress by means of appearance. 38. huchet. 88 The use of the term bliaut is itself interesting. sets the romance in 1223 or 1234. well-made and fine both in their seams and for their thread. Manuel d’archéologie française. 9–13. he wore a well-made siglaton silk bliaut. with his scrupulous use of the liturgical calendar. 317–43. The bliaut is one such item.

90 rather. Whereas loose clothing may be worn be people of different sizes and easily exchanged through the used-clothing system. This is the second instance where he is shown as having impeccably built-to-fit chausses. Good stitching is the mark of the consumer who can afford it.” veblen. 13. The fact that he is shown as distinctive in his dressing indicates that perfectly fitting tight pants were not what one would find on everyone in the streets or court of the rouergue. “caussas de saia non caussera/ si ben hom tant non la(s) tirera” (he would not wear chausses of silk unless no one could pull them off.89 Guillem’s dressing choices go beyond furnishing a little color for the romance. 90 Bourbon and nevers are the settings of the romance.” which would apply to Guillem’s voluminous bliaut as well. molding perfectly to his limbs. care. despite veblen’s claim that women’s dress “goes even farther than that of men in the way of demonstrating the wearer’s abstinence from productive employment. Flamenca. Made to measure significant attention is paid to the high quality of the seams on all Guillem’s garments. Guillem’s power to make tasteful. see huchet.” his comments arose in a discussion of his condemnation of “our tenacious attachment to the skirt” because “it is expensive and hampers the wearer at every turn. readers living in the era of mechanized industrial stitching may take seams for granted. the narrator said of him that he would not wear anything but the finest form-fitting leggings. p. and time. clothing tailored to an individual’s every curve advertises unique identity. They establish his worth as a romantic hero. highly tailored garments only fit the person for whom they were made. a social camouflage. in contrast. even to the point of creating a kind of anonymity. making hand stitches lie smooth and flat is also a challenge. lines 2202–3). or Bourbon in the 1270s. 89 . but achieving uniformity in hand stitching demands practice. 121. When he first arrived in Bourbon. p. Theory of the Leisure Class. and with the discernment to distinguish the Guillem’s leggings would fit Thorstein veblen’s requirement that fashion and conspicuous consumption demonstrate enforced leisure and “incapacitate” the wearer for “all useful exertion. shapeless clothing has the effect of normalizing bodies. nevers. attractive dressing choices is an ideal towards which the reader may aspire. which scholars have conjectured was composed in the rouergue area. They also have a pleasure function in the text. requiring the needleworker to maintain overall control of the whole drape of the garment while manipulating the needle and thread. it reinforces the notion that some bodies – and the minds determining how to clothe them – are distinctly superior.82 sarah-Grace heller (caussas) are another noteworthy item. from his undergarments to his bliaut to his hat to his form-fitting chausses. supplying readers with a kind of imaginary currency with which to clothe themselves in their imaginations. it shows that both author and his imagined audience were interested in dreaming about fashionable consumption. The narrator of Flamenca presents a fantasy of conspicuous consumption.

93 Fabric selection was an area where personal taste could be exercised. 2. “ladies don’t Wear Braies. 202. 92 on siglaton” see michel.91 The passage’s emphasis on Guillem’s choice of specific. and provenance all provide a lexicon for advertising evidence of choice. specificity increases fashionable value by creating categories of distinction. and was carefully textured in silk. p. specifics about fabric. 93 mane and Piponnier. art. since Guillem hopes Flamenca will see his fine undergarments when she commits to the liaison they have arranged. requiring double thread and small stitches (“petiz poins souffisant”). 94 Burns. fine new garments were not bought ready-to-wear but required a complex process of choosing fabrics from a draper or mercer. ordinary plain weave. nudity was rarely represented in this period. used more as an outer fabric than a lining. serjeant. and having them cut by a tailor and sewn by his assistants or stitchers (couturiers) or a seamstress in the household.” The addition of a specific place name adds to the prestige of a textile or other object. p. a doubly rich choice. showing a character in the relative undress of the chemise seems to have been one of the more titillating poses an author could choose 91 Boileau. it was a high-quality silk. he was shown in an earlier passage standing at his window staring towards her tower in a state of undress: “em braias fon et en camisa” (he was in braies and a chemise. it was fabric that had made a journey in order to enter the hands of a knight from nevers currently residing in Bourbon. and rarely favorably. line 2191). . Le livre des métiers. particularly intimate details.” p.94 describing them shows attention to detail. The Paris métier statutes uphold the importance of good stitching for professions such as the chauciers and embroiderers.92 his chausses were silk embroidered with flowers. which would have been almost entirely concealed by the other garments described. This passage represents the second glimpse of his undergarments in the text. it was not simply toile. high-quality fabrics further underscores his distinction. The chemise and braies were generally not a publicly visible part of an ensemble before the fifteenth century. rather than more common hemp. it is emphasized that Guillem’s invisible underwear was of a specific kind of fabric: “toile de reims. Dress in the Middle Ages. a little heavier than cendal. pp. 29. art. vol. it is a sign of someone who cares enough to spend the time to seek out the best. Les métiers et corporations de la ville de Paris XIVe-XVIIIe siècle. with a mantle draped over his shoulders. weave. showing taste both in fabric and in decoration. et l’usage des étoffes. The word is derived directly from the arabic siklatun. 220–36. 114. dye. then notions and trim. it is interesting that the description begins not with what would be most visible. his undergarments were made of a “muslin” from reims. 66. denoting the choice silk of Baghdad manufacture. The rhetoric of a fashion system requires that choices be made conspicuous (criterion 6). 168. even his cap was fine linen. 3. pp. 8. pp. Recherches sur le commerce. his bliaut was of eastern siglaton silk. 1. vol. 27–32.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 83 good work from the mediocre. la fabrication. lespinasse and Bonnardot. as will be discussed in chapter 6. Islamic Textiles. but with Guillem’s underwear (“camis’e bragas”). it was woven in a place worth mentioning.

e m’aici ben a vostra guisa/ tota nudeta en camisa” (handsome lord. Given the particularly well-developed sensuality of Flamenca.” pp. Guillem’s underclothes show that if he were peeled like an onion. you may never say. “imagining the self: exploring literature. régnier-Bohler. Dress in the Middle Ages. naked in my chemise. she consents to trust him with her body based on his handsome. mais dieus m’a cobit qu’ieu si’ab vos. a hypothesis confirmed by Flamenca’s reaction. ja non dires quan de mi vos departires que perdas ren per mon autrei. elegant. here i am at your bidding. see also mane and Piponnier. lines 5860–9. 367–73. This romance demonstrates cointerie’s high potential for soliciting positive reinforcement (see chapter 4). idem. Bel[s] segner. she says to lo cors aissi vengut per vostre plazer autrejar. Flamenca. They are suggestive of what he will be like as a lover. . masculine nudity is less charged with desire than feminine nudity. and here is my body which has come here to grant you your pleasure. “le corps mis à nu.84 sarah-Grace heller for a character. following the principle that fashionable consumption heightens attractiveness (criterion 9). e tan cortes e tan adreg que per fin’amor et per dreg aves mon cor lonc tems avut. The young man who stages himself as 95 To give one example.” 95 régnier-Bohler has argued that in the romance tradition. since God granted that i be with you. in short. quar tam bell e tan gent vos vei.” 96 huchet. that you have lost anything by my consent. noble appearance. however. The passage as a whole suggests that a display of personal style and good taste were considered to be of the first order of necessity for the successful fin’amant. he was seductive to the core. Women in bed or making love in romances were often said to be “naked in a chemise. for i find you so handsome and so elegant and so courtly and so refined that by True love and by right you have had my heart for a long time. in a dream Flamenca offers herself to Guillem saying “Bel[s] segner. lines 6128–30). when you take leave of me. the unusual glimpses of Guillem’s undergarments are probably intended to heighten the atmosphere of seduction. each layer removed would only reveal another level of good taste./ ve. pp. 99–102.96 handsome lord.

lines 3756–61. Amadas et Ydoine. These clothes brought out his innately noble looks: “molt par fu beaus. Whether women regularly behaved this way is less important than the existence of discourses promoting an ideology of socially advantageous care for personal appearance. with a very flattering fit.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 85 a nobleman of impeccable style and taste is promised a great reward: love and sexual gratification from the most beautiful of women. Flamenca represents an apotheosis. Military uniqueness The vernacular literature of the middle ages suggests that the battlefield and other chivalric arenas were places where men strove for distinction in dress. where the title character is dressed sumptuously by his bourgeois adoptive father in imported silk from “outre mer” sewn with a design in gold thread. For instance. the costuming in films such as First Knight or Lady Hawke. si ot lasnieres ou braioel. stylish and well-dressed. cut-to-measure garments are viewed as similarly flattering in Enfances Vivien. all made to measure (“a sa mesure bien taillie et ovré. There is certainly a discourse of distinction present in whatever occitan court milieu produced this extraordinary manuscript. Qui n’estoit pas povre ne vis . mult bien seantes a son voel.. a non plus ultra of vestimentary scenes occurring regularly in its old French precursors. 97 reinhard. or the lord’s henchmen sport black leather).. no matter what the period (see. as well as in valiance. .” lines 868–74). as a parody of French literary (and. de noir et de vermel bendees.. and he had ties around his braies which were not at all cheap or vile . for instance. it could be argued. fashionable) conventions. cointes et acesmés” (he looked thoroughly handsome. individual tailoring is emphasized: Garinés l’a mult bien caucié d’unes cauces bien decaupees. for example. Yet soldiers are now often imagined as intrinsically uniformed men. men were encouraged to fantasize about the positive effects of fashionable appearance. amadas’s valet dressed him in distinctive items whose careful. to his pleasure.97 Garinet dressed him very well in well tailored chausses trimmed in black and red.. where the knights of the round Table wear matching costumes. line 883).

eliminating some amount of preening and competition while effacing economic and status differences. for the knighting of louis iX’s son Philip. Geoffrey Parker. 99 98 . cendalis. Modesty in dress. different terms were used a century later. Hinterland Warriors and Military Dress. sericis. Thomas s. fashion’s tricky balancing of individual distinction and social conformity.” 101 abler. ed. according to the regulations of the Prévôt of Paris). as a strict enforcer of conformity. 18–19. the military uniform as we now conceive of it only emerged in the seventeenth century in europe. silks. and the whole city was hung with lengths of silk. p. Uniforms.. military and school uniforms have been promoted as a solution for preventing the distracting effects of fashion on minds that ought to be concentrating on greater things.102 such bourgeois “uniforms” began to develop a fixed code. cendals. designed for ceremonial use. 102 Chronica Normaniae. To what degree did the notion of the “uniform” exist before the modern era? chronicles from the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries begin to mention important occasions when the bourgeois of Paris were given new clothing cut from fine silk. and the variety and splendor of the materials. Paulin Paris. The miscellaneous list of fabrics does not suggest great concern for uniformity. the civic ministers were to receive “novis vestimentis . The uniform is often considered antithetical to fashion. “Uniforms and dress-code Policies. Chronique de Saint Denis. Etudes sur l’industrie et la classe industrielle à Paris. distinct from daily wear. dronsfield and edmonds. script. laver.101 even when color and style are prescribed in later centuries. p. cited in Fagniez. colors would vary from soldier to soldier. the members of each métier (craft guild) sported similar matching robes (“chascun mestier d’unes robes pareilles. 100 Fussell. 286. abler. or other garments. Boucher. in 1254. it offers insight into the functioning of criterion 3. Hinterland Warriors and Military Dress. antiqui. duchesne.. The emphasis is more on the newness of the garments. 1011. 6. p. as did the cutting of uniforms. which was often done by private tailors. sub anno 1254. pp. ed.99 The history of the notion of the uniform and of combat apparel in a larger sense is worth interrogating with respect to fashion. p. aut vestibus aliis. in the time of King Jean ii (1350–64). Hist.98 Until the arrival of reliable synthetic dyes around 1860. linda lumsden. de pannis brodatis.100 Yet James laver theorized three competing principles governing fashion. 2. suitable for a memorable ceremony.000 Years of Fashion. good tailoring is held to make a man look distinguished in military wear. 72. military as well as civilian: hierarchy. and seduction. 13–17. 20. The Military Revolution. pp. The Transition from Natural to Synthetic Dyes. at his entry into Paris. The latter point suggests how uniforms have often been seen as enhancing to a man’s masculinity. et les bourgeois de la dicte ville d’unes autres robes pareilles”). secundum praeceptum et dispositionem praepositi Parisius” (new garments made from embroidered fabrics. Norm.86 sarah-Grace heller however. utility. although the concern for following the provost’s rules suggests the importance of following craft regulations and possibly setting up a visual hierarchy for the occasion. 50.

but i think the images reflect a sense that two people rarely had identical robes. tant samit/ onques nuls emsamble ne vit. but like the troops of other places and periods wore a variation of current styles. requiring the professed to relinquish secular clothes and put on a modest appearance. rather than in uniform hues. 105 “. Bonnie effros provides several examples of women who had taken the veil but were buried in rich secular clothing. cutting. oversight of fitting. however. lines 5365–6. moreover. 79. as well as distribution – which would be hard to find outside of a fashion system.108 Yet effros.” an exception which proves the rule may be found in branch iii of alexandre de Paris’ Roman d’Alexandre.104 sumptuary laws of the thirteenth century indicate that lords offered clothing to their companions. the variety of costumes is what attracts the admiration of the poet in describing a grand procession. where the queen candace gives alexander the extraordinary gift of “cent pailes de Biterne trestous d’une color. the manufacture of identical clothing requires technology – control of fiber availability.” 104 103 .” 107 John haldon. symbol or style was probably several degrees removed from actual practice. and one might imagine that this was often made from a large lot of fabric purchased from a single draper.103 The constant repetition of statutes regarding religious dress over the centuries suggests that the regulations were regularly ignored. Le Roman d’Alexandre.106 Byzantine military treatises suggest that there were colors for shields. and stitching. People outside a fashion system may wear clothing that looks relatively homogeneous. due to limited variety in materials and limited creativity in construction. as martin ellehauge observes.” alexandre de Paris. with armor adapted to climate.” p. Yet miniatures of the thirteenth and fourteenth century showing groups of people such as knights or students tend to paint them all in gowns of different colors.105 it might be argued that such depictions were merely decorative. pennons. “uniforms” as items of dress identifying a group evolved gradually and spontaneously among professions that required specific adaptations. “some aspects of early Byzantine arms and armour. Le Roman d’Alexandre. their adversaries’ tactics. but this is not the same as a uniform. alexandre de Paris..desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 87 at another level of society. and supply. the church attempted to impose a sort of uniform on its religious from late antiquity. but few specific examples have been firmly identified. Jon coulson discusses how roman soldiers did not wear a uniform in the modern sense..” a hundred lengths of Biterne silk all of the same color (line 4848). dye lots and weaving. “l’uniforme militaire et le costume civil. 108 martin ellehauge. armor is one of the best and earliest examples.107 The idea of identifying units or even armies by color. and helmet crests associated with particular units. “appearance and ideology. in Guillaume de Dole. The nuns and monks in a convent or monastery were to be provided with robes of undyed wools by the abbot. “arms and armour of the late roman army. This by no means amounted to a uniform in the modern sense. 106 Jon coulson. something intended for the highest royalty. it can be inferred that one hundred lengths of identically colored cloth was the sort of luxury item only to be found at a distant and exotic eastern court.

p. should be expected to be at the forefront of fashionable development. the surcoats that began to appear in the twelfth century were unnecessary and even inexplicable: such irrational decoration is typical of fashion’s logic. 14–19.112 Fixed. where and how they were used as ornaments contains a distinctive element of personal choice.” 110 as de vries’ comment shows.” 110 Kelly de vries. offering possibilities as fashion statements for the knight hoping to look distinctive. armor remained individualized up to the time of its obsolescence in the sixteenth century.88 sarah-Grace heller although fighting men across a particular culture would generally adopt a type of armor – chain mail. in short. or a helmet style – to an extent sufficient to make them recognizable as a group to outsiders. as nickel puts it. The term entreseignié appears in old helmut nickel.” p. a perfect example of the paradox of criterion 3. Heraldry: An Introduction to a Noble Tradition. even when crests became fixed. there was a high degree of armorial exchange between cultures east and west. as helmut nickel has discussed. yet they can function as a detail of distinction within a context of conformity. being an object of display as well as utility. as well as designs that traveled peacefully along the caravan routes. heraldry became a bastion of resistance to incursion upon the hierarchy. The twelfth and thirteenth centuries were a time when colors and emblems were still in play. “surcoats soon became a fashion item. which began to happen in the twelfth century. The Bayeux Tapestry of the last quarter of the eleventh century shows knights in mail shirts without surcoats. either alone or as whole armies of individuals. or plate armor. rather than its antithesis. Knights from england to china readily adopted the effective styles and technologies of their adversaries. 111. for example. familial adoption of crests comes later. 74. and could be trendsetting. do not correspond to a fashion system’s criteria of constant novelty and rejection of the past.” 111 By the end of the thirteenth century. inherited styles. since armor was taken as booty by the victor on each battlefield. Kelly de vries remarks that. generally without any kind of personalized distinction.109 armor. The permanent. 112 michel Pastoureau. although crusaders perhaps used them initially as protection from the levantine sun. Medieval Military Technology. “there seems to be no reason why someone fighting at hastings or elsewhere should desire to decorate their armor. The romances of the mid-twelfth century feature many occasions when individual knights are admired for their unique emblems and colors. emblems became genuine armorial shields when the same individual employed them consistently and the composition obeyed fixed and recurrent conventions. 109 . By michel Pastoureau’s definition. all noble families of notable rank had their own design. “The mutual influence of europe and asia in the Field of arms and armour. “The mutual influence. as uniforms have become in recent times. requiring significant capital expenditure but also offering a surface which could be personalized according to long held cultural traditions. for all that they are decorative. pp. 111 nickel. especially in england where only nobles were allowed crests.

King arthur’s presence marks this kind of dressing as idealized rather than quotidian. Béroul.1306). each receiving a laisse of description including their armor. in the Roman d’Eneas. the Bishop of Forois with lion-painted shield and almerian silk gonfalon (laisses 13–16). J. . but the scene marks a new form of knightly desire for distinction in all the elements of armor and chivalric apparel. the former prisoners of the saracen corbaran. which recounts how the crusaders were ragged. to designate the practice of putting unique ornaments of distinction on chivalric gear.v. “Tristan. Tristan. Branche des royaux lignages. meets King arthur and his men. including arthur’s garters and mark’s hood. These exotic armies of long ago and far away reflect a twelfth-century taste for distinction. lines 4480–1. 113 a. the great knights prepare for battle in typical fashion. the narrator surveying the Trojan and Greek armies admires the many beautiful arms with different motifs (“tante bele arme entreseigniee. “entreseignier”.114 although the chanson de geste model treats the armor of individual champions formulaically. Jean d’alis in a gold romanian helmet. dressed as a leper. naked.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 89 French. Greimas. camille’s three thousand knights each bear a different emblem: “n’i a celui n’ait a devise/ congnoissance de mainte guise” (not one of them did not have a personal emblem. such scenes are missing in the more historically accurate Chanson d’Antioche. La Chanson de Jérusalem. which rhymes deeds of more recent and local kings from Philip augustus to Philip the Fair. rotrou of Perche. all with different arms.” 114 Guillaume Guiart.” line 8320). the Bishop of mautran wore his stole around his neck under his shield (laisses 219–23). wearing silks and bearing fresh new shields (lines 3680–3). 115 Thorp. distinct from the others.115 robert of Flanders wore chausses white as milk. Guilllaume Guiart’s Branche des royaux lignages (c./ tout de diverses armeüres” (they were well armed for protection. Bohemond and Tancred of Puglia wore shining helmets and halberks. her personal guard of a hundred maidens are also each armed in individualized style: “bien armies de couvertures. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française jusqu’au milieu du XIVe siècle. first attested in the Tristan of Béroul. or better. s. steven of Blois and the count of vendôme had silver shields and shining golden armor. associates multicolored armies with high style in a passage recounting events from 1241(“Tante cointise riche et bele / Que couleur diverse entreseigne”). each of them fully armed and each with a different emblem on their arms. lines 6978–9).113 he begs a different item of apparel from each knight. with a silk banner fringed in pure gold. whose logic is quite the opposite of that of the modern military uniform. even through clichéd formulas distinction was offered to individual warriors. now freed. Baldwin of Beauvais in a helmet embellished with topaz from the river of Paradise. lines 7047–8). For instance in the Song of Jerusalem. ride out in elegant gifts from their captor: harpin of Bourges with a shield emblazoned with a lion white as a dog rose and a red silk pennant. if not yet something fully realized in ordinary practice. sunburned and eating shoes and horses.

bien faite a sa mesure. his sword was more valuable and powerful than any other (lines 1833–5). Le Roman de Troie. exquisitely made from the choicest materials. de gris e d’ermine forrez. and change out of their sailing clothes: vestirent lur cors gentement. carefully tailored clothing made available even to the poorest adventurer. the argonauts disembark on the beach at colchas. not to mention the boss of spanish gold and the gold orphrey ornamenting the edges (lines 1837–40). “it would be folly to search for a better or more beautiful one” (lines 1830–2). The exotic elephant skin used on his shield should speak for itself. whose name was regularly invoked to designate the finest gold work. reflecting his status as hero.116 They dress their bodies nobly. but also the sense that imitable greatness should be associated with inimitable taste. opening up possibilities of expression for a broader number of men (criterion 10). Jason’s armor is described one piece at a time. regardless of whether Jason’s armor was based on twelfth-century reality. never had a better one been forged (lines 1820–1). his shining. 4 and 5. The nose-guard was of onyx. in the Roman de Troie. and serves to illustrate the incursions of the mentalities described in criteria 3. This description serves as a condensed and amplified example of the lexicon frequently used in presenting knights before battle. The poorest had an outfit that was opulent and tailored to fit well. 116 de aainte-maure. in this description of rich. lines 1141–6. the narrator appeals to the fantasy of a broader twelfthcentury French audience. its originality was held up as a model. li plus povres ot vesteüre riche. . line 1816). First his “genoillieres” (knee plates): “ainc el siecle n’ot fait si chieres” (never had such precious been made in all the world. his gold spurs were sculpted in the style of solomon (line 1818). everything the ideal warrior Jason puts on is unique. tight fitting helmet was so well forged it could not be pierced (lines 1824–6). The admiration for good fit has been discussed above. from the toes on up.90 sarah-Grace heller Poetic versions of war offered the image of chances for lesser men to attain such exotic trappings as well. desirous of that distant world where even minor knights without baronial fortunes might wear well-cut eastern silk. riche furent li garnement de dras de seie a or brusdez. lined with miniver and ermine. his mail shirt or halberk was made to his measurements. The garments were rich of silk stuff embroidered in gold. with a vocabulary extolling its incomparable distinction.

curtius observed “outdoing” in panegyrics where the object of flattery outdoes the gods. and lively design: richece ot d’une porpre robe. for example. glitter and colors. 111–18 and passim.118 richece had a robe from a purple stuff. it is a new fashion (“mode nouvelle”) in literature. even as they can be consumed as fashion items themselves. European Literature and the Latin Middle Ages. courage.” a descriptive flourish dating from ancient times. They create. perpetuate and strike down new styles. edmond Faral found that it is only in the twelfth century that description becomes the supreme object of poetry. Le Roman de la Rose. seen often in Greek and roman panegyrics. ne si envoisie. criterion 7. p. . richness.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 91 The rhetoric of “indescribable” distinction does description of uniqueness arises out of a value placed on distinction. lines 1051–5. nu tenez ore pas a lobe. But this literature of late antiquity tends to emphasize geometric arrangements. read in the allegorical or narrative context. 159–63. The Jeweled Style. curtius. or in descriptions of heroes’ strength. curtius called the “inexpressibility topos. This passage. nor one so stylish. like many passages showing uniqueness.117 one might wonder. – don’t take this as mere flattery – i tell you truly and i affirm that there was no other so beautiful or so rich in the world. Les arts poétiques du XIIe et du XIIIe siècles. later used in saints’ lives and medieval latin poetry.120 We return again to the point that fashion does not exist without words. many instances where laudatory emphasis is placed on an object’s or a garment’s originality become part of a complex commentary on social mores. employs something related to what e. when a poet surpasses his predecessors. pp. edmond Faral. or similar qualities. first formulated in the rhetorical theory of matthew of vendôme. pp. de lorris and de meun. in that Jason and richece’s apparel implicitly outdoes that of anyone else. rather than novelty or uniqueness as seen in the example from Benoît. que je vos di bien et afiche qu’il n’ot si bele ne si riche el monde. shown as unmatched for its beauty. or simply out of clichéd conventions of rhetoric? michael roberts has shown that the latin literature of late antiquity featured a “jeweled style” which lavished description on exotic jewels and their settings in clothing. about richece’s robe in the Roman de la Rose. wisdom. These passages also have something of the “outdoing” topos. The twelfth-century French account of 117 118 119 120 michael roberts. r. arms.119 however. 76. and any other circumscribed surface.

. power and splendor in a way that is difficult to fully translate. il paroit bien a son ator qu’ele estoit poi enbesoignie. leesce. speaks to how fine dye. being proprietor of the garden. Courtly Love Undressed. and thereby attraction. largece (Generosity). his amie. 78–9. sculpting an image both attractive to others and pleasing to herself. would likewise be. using the so-called “inexpressibility topos. Burns has emphasized how oiseuse “fashions herself” from the clothing and accessories which give her substance. Biauté (Beauty). and proximity to it confers power. belt.121 deduit was associated with wealth and power as well. but the author sensed that his audience would listen attentively to thirty verses amplifying the uniqueness of the hero’s attire. The robe of richece. When it is mentioned. ele avoit feste sa jornee. deduit (Pleasure) was unrivaled among young men for his beauty and agility (lines 800–1. only the figures representing fashionrelated values – such as wealth to consume. and gold circlet of richece were all special. and pleasure and seductiveness – are described as being fashionably distinctive. The robe of Franchise (Generosity of spirit or openness) was cut to fit her perfectly. and cut were desirable and could make those with money magnets for those seeking influence as well as luxury. enhances power. due to space limitations. according to the narrator (lines 3414–18). by association. illustrates power. power gained through appearance. it serves as a form of distinction between the figures in that micro-society’s hierarchy of courtly values. Quant ele s’estoit bien pignie et bien paree et atornee. cortoisie (courtliness). Fashion and consumption are associated in the poem with the leisure to indulge pleasures and to pay attention to seductive appearance (criterion 9). rice fame sui et poissanz. in contrast.92 sarah-Grace heller Jason’s adventure at the court of medea has resonances of the adventures of contemporary merchants and crusaders in the levant. oiseuse (leisure or idleness) had unique hair accessories. weave. Jason may be draped in clichés. The robe is bought with power. power. pp. venus’ robe and accessories were also indescribable. s’ai d’une chose mout bon tens 121 Burns.” richece and oiseuse (line 582) were both associated in the poem with wealth. who signifies wealth. not all the courtly figures of the Rose’s carole were described as having “indescribably unique” apparel. The gown. leesce (Joy) had a chaplet finer than any other the narrator had seen worked in silk (lines 857–8). and Jonece (Youth) had no items categorized as unique or indescribable. as is clear in both the narrator’s comments and oiseuse’s words about herself. 813–14). but this did not make its appeal inexpressible.

leisure. 582–6. another won’t do. which in turn provides insight into his idea of how society functions. social importance and wealth are demonstrated in the sponsorship of pleasurable entertainment such as those for which deduit (musicians. generosity. description is not wasted on empty flourishes of merely rhetorical clichés. leisure. dancers. The poet.122 it seemed clear from her appearance that she was hardly needy.. courtesy. They provide insight into the conception of fashion Guillaume de lorris presents. she was done with her day’s work. 122 de lorris and de meun. Le Roman de la Rose. When she had arranged her hair well./ l’une veult d’un. such values have no need of improvement by fashionable consumption or display. Beauty. if one wants something. warning men not to waste their time and energy on women.. complaining of how they all envy one another’s jewels and show off in horned headdresses and revealing clothing in the streets (lines 11–16. that century when Western fashion was supposedly born. and i especially enjoy one thing: there is nothing i like more than playing and indulging myself by combing and braiding my hair.desire For novelTY and UniQUe eXPression 93 que a nule rien je n’entens qu’a moi jouer et solacier et a moi pigner et trecier . includes the complaint that “ce que fait l’une. acrobats. in the allegorical context. i am a rich and powerful woman. l’autre veult d’autre” (What one does. ne fait l’autre. 66–8. dressed and adorned herself well. the other wants something different. openness of spirit and youth are not necessary for being fashionable. elsewhere. the dit called the “contenance des Fames” offers evidence that the desire for novelty was firmly in place. . lines 741–74) and leesce (singing. lines 564–8. lines 727–40) were responsible. Establishment of permanent value for novelty By the first half of the 1300s. 80–2). “indescribable” objects are part of a larger system expressing a notion of a hierarchy of virtues as well as an ideal social order. as well as the positive sense of self they breed (criterion 4). being intrinsically attractive and rendering artifice superfluous. lines 85–6). social influence and wealth are shown as necessary elements in the enjoyment of fashions like personal grooming luxuries and inimitable appearance.

it tells of a strange vision encountered by a knight.” – i have seen many a worse one. the narrator lingers over how he was dressed that day: in a fine linen chemise “delie e sobtil” (delicate and finely crafted). of the round Table. The twelfth. hair braided with ribbons or loose. an annual occasion for dressing up (lines 10–12). Parades et parures. novelty could seduce both genders. The Lay del lecheor (lai of the libertine) recounts the custom of holding court at saint Pantelion in Bretagne. and “Por qui s’atornent li danzel?/ Por qui se vestent de novel?” (For whom do the young men dress up? For whom do they get fashionable new clothes? lines 71–3).123 Blanc suggests that while women retained their status as temptresses from the guilt of original sin and used dress as a powerful instrument of seduction in the masculine imagination of the time. The wise women impute raw sexual motives to the fashionable young men. although none of the ladies is singled out for individual description as lorois is. . 26. The anonymous Lai du Trot offers an example of the different treatment offered the genders. one short narrative reveals that masculine vanity may have matched or exceeded that attributed to women.94 sarah-Grace heller here. corsetry and extravagant sleeves and hats worn by men in contemporary fourteenth-century miniatures suggest that there would have been fodder for it. the narrator tells of how each looked distinctive through the choices in details: with belt or without. fretted laced shoes. 96. and their use of it for seduction. The male hero receives individual attention especially with regard to fabrics and tailoring. chaplets of roses or eglantine (lines 84–5. a surcot of expensive sanguine scarlet wool lined in ermine.and thirteenth-century examples studied in this chapter show both men and women getting new things and appreciating change. men found in fashionable dress a means of affirming their authority. Terms such as “new” and “fresh” signal certain elements of a lexicon of fashion. one wise lady queried why knights like tournaments so much. but examples often follow this tendency. 79. Women were generally not in a position to write such poems about men./ il ne resambloit mie sot. lorois. but was there a set of terms for expressing notions such as “stylish” or “fashionable” directly in the medieval vernacular? This is the focus of the next chapter. after telling a little about his lands. 191–214. although the padding. distinguishing themselves with slight variations in the details of their appearances. he encounters a group of ladies. pp. suggesting another example of criterion 3 at work. he did not at all look a fool). 90–5). This type of gendering is by no means absolute or universal. 123 Blanc. but their psychological analysis is not so much the point here as the evidence of men’s interest in fashion. desire to differentiate oneself through consumption is portrayed as a norm. with an admirable belt (“de pïors ai jo veü mainte. while the dream ladies are treated en masse. and both men and women attempted to use it in making themselves attractive. and well-tailored chausses (lines 29–41). each riding with a well-dressed knight (lines 113–26).

according to fashion’s own ephemeral rules.” “hip.1 Cointe has often been translated with innocuous positive adjectives.4 Words for Fashion Ipsa res verba rapiunt.2 does this mean that fashion only came to exist around the time of the renaissance? Words for fashion. This is particularly true of fashion. towards their close association with desirable appearance. studying examples of their usage in depth in a variety of old French and occitan texts. rather. as described in criteria 3 and 7. by 1482. should be expected to come in and out of fashion. Cointerie in Old French and Old Occitan The modern connotation of the english word “fashion” dates to the sixteenth century.” p. De finibus 3. it is precisely this sort of term that is most apt for the connoting the abstraction of fashionable value. 1257. Just as today new words are constantly invented to describe a person or object as stylish and desirable – witness “cuckoo. it looks at the evolution of a particular set of terms. which deserves reconsideration. 33–4. where real objects only gain their ephemeral “fashionable” value through a system of public appearance and evaluation. “mode.” “awesome.26). This chapter takes a philological approach to the existence of a fledgling thirteenth-century fashion system. Essais 1.v. Système de la mode.” “groovy.” “fetching. s. it remains implicit. quoted in montaigne. specifically cointe and its derivatives.” 1 2 Barthes. pp. “fashion. an object is equated with “fashionable” merely by being the object of description. one important sign of a concept’s existence is the presence of words to describe it. Dictionnaire historique. The French word mode comes to indicate current dress style trends somewhat earlier.” rey. This fits Barthes’ observation that the designation à la mode is rarely expressed explicitly. expressions of fashionability are not necessarily obvious in the medieval corpus. . s.5.v. oed. (cicero. Things seize words.

The most salient old French word associated with concepts linked to fashion. Le vocabulaire et la société médiévale. as well as the more derisive way that Jean de meun uses it in the second half. and then discarded as “dated” – so we should expect to see borrowing. as in a garment or one’s complexion. stylishness.” Greimas. ephemeral popularity and eventual disappearance in words describing fashion.. s. is often found associated with the concept of stylish appeal. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. douglas Kelly noted the importance of cointerie to Guillaume’s part of the Roman de la Rose. Greimas. 7 With some of Jean’s misogynist characters it came to refer to the artifices employed by “fallen” women to hide their defects in the ovidian manner. popular for a while. brightness. 227. Internal Difference and Meanings. remark on the numerous terms designating different garments. stating only that the idea of fashion is implicit before the sixteenth century when mode and distinguer appear. he does. s. Mignot. and elegance is coint or cointe in the adjectival form. 118. 5 matoré. although they will not be addressed directly in this chapter. gay. it can also refer to bright color. 86. as the reader will notice in the passages for examination. p. little has been said about the ways these terms communicated fashionable values. crept into French vocabulary to signify aristocratic appreciation of refinement and beauty. 4 3 .” suggested by the latin electio. cointerie or cointise as a substantive and se cointir. Kelly. “envoisier.” any “naturalness” apparent in a modish style necessarily involves artifice.96 sarah-Grace heller “gnarly.” or “phat” in recent parlance. “mignon.4 is also found in association with this lexical group. emphasizing that it was used to indicate stylized (as opposed to natural) beauty.6 elegance does not necessarily signify novel styles or an avant-garde appearance. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. wherever it exists.. p.7 While one can speak of “natural elegance. and gay color. however. a verb. all borrowed from other registers.3 Envoisiez. although the word elegant comes into more frequent use in the fifteenth century. a number of other noteworthy terms are often seen in conjunction with cointe and notions of style. derived from the latin for “vice” (vitium) but connoting joyfulness. connoting graciousness and pleasing appearance. referring to selectivity. Georges matoré does not mention cointerie or terms for appreciating trends in his work on medieval vocabulary. Fashion. and textiles in use from the appearance of the vernacular. however. 6 Batterberry and Batterberry. styles.v. as well as coquetterie.v..” it can mean cheerful. joyous.5 michael and ariane Batterberry observe that in the twelfth century the term “elegance . p.

1225) employs the term numerous times in the context of emphasizing the importance of grooming and dressing for the lover.” the mystique of what is often translated as “elegance. por que il soit d’orgueil vuidiez. qu’il ne soit fox n’outrecuidez.” suggesting a classic timeless quality. . The god of love’s repeated emphasis on the word indicates the importance of cointerie for the success of the prospective courtly lover. insofar as he is neither crazy nor out of line. hons qui porchace druerie ne vaut neant sanz cointerie.8 he who wishes to take up the concerns of love must conduct himself cointely. The man who seeks true love is nothing without cointerie.. his new vassal: mes qui d’amors se velt pener. derived from 8 de lorris and de meun.Words For Fashion 97 The cointerie of courtly grooming in one of the most striking examples of the use of the word cointe. lines 2121–32. Keep yourself handsome. selonc ta rente. moine toi bel. il en vaut miaus. Qui est cointes.” elegance is a more neutral term than “fashion. one of the general senses of fashion. Le Roman de la Rose. and see to your clothing and shoes: handsome clothes and handsome accessories improve a man a great deal . amors (the god of love) in Guillaume de lorris’ Roman de la Rose (c. Whoever is coint is worth more provided he is free of arrogance. and which an observer could judge based on appearance.. i propose that cointe can often be translated more accurately with such terms as “fashionable” or “in style. something like savoir faire. and to dress and grooming on a level more specifically concerned with consumption. The lover must cultivate “it.. according to your income. The word represents a quality that was clearly perceptible.. cointerie n’est pas orguiauz. This passage serves as a first example of how cointe and its derivatives were clearly linked both to appropriate social conduct. Cointerie is not arrogance. et de ta robe et de chaucemente: bele robe et bel garnemente amendent home durement .” Barthes offers the distinction. il se doit cointement mener. But given its socially charged use in the context of such works as the Rose.

. pp. in so doing. as that would bring negative attention. a careful distinction is made between true cointerie and behavior that exceeded the bounds of presumption.10 The poet’s careful definition of the quality of cointerie as antithetical to pride and exaggeration suggests that he expected the word to be charged with controversy and to face criticism. outrecuidance. Summa Theologica. foolish. Courtly Love Undressed. and sinful behavior. rather than a denotative one. 37–41. These are precisely the rules of cointerie established by the god of love. such criticisms of attention to worldly appearance were abundant in this period. 10 9 . and “connotation. described in criterion 4. 172–3. pp. maurice of sully’s commendation of John the Baptist constrasts the saint’s simple clothing with the “orgeilloses vesteures” of contemporary nobles../ et sachiez que mout me fis cointes . 2: 2253b–57a. question 169.” which functions as “metalanguage” to represent scientific and abstract concepts. metalanguages depend on whole systems of original signifiers as well as real objects. see also Burns. the lover begins to gain confidence because he feels cointe: “atant devins ses hom mains jointes. ii. p. For a summary of the range of contemporary views.. 38–40. p. Cointerie and orgueil The god of love’s advice to the lover presents the kind of “do and don’t” discourse now commonly associated with fashion publishing. between “denotation. Maurice of Sully. in Barthes’ terminology it is a connotative term. the man showing narcissistic. he is now a member of an elite social group. and will be able to act confidently because he has acquired the knowledge of the mandated conduct for gaining superior social approval (the codes for appropriate social imitation Barthes. articles 1–2. 373. Guillaume de lorris draws a fine line between the orguilleus. pp. and people possessing objects that demonstrate the superior knowledge that is fashion. Following the logic of theatricality. Thomas aquinas. When the god of love makes the lover his vassal with the ceremonial hand clasp and kiss. lines 1953–5).98 sarah-Grace heller hjelmslev. robson. Système de la mode.” where language represents a specific realworld object. Mythologies. sermon 49.. La predication en langue romane. Barthes. and know that i felt very cointe . in a fashion system one may make a personal statement but should not violate the basic silhouette.” (Then i became his man with hands joined. 52–3.ii.. and the appropriate level of attention to one’s person. 201–2. prideful. one must not exaggerate excessively. he anticipates and attempts to thwart any criticism of his statement. an important symptom of fashion’s presence in a culture. 213. here is testimony to fashion’s effect on the personal psyche. especially coming from the church. part of a metalanguage that links real objects in its valuation system. Zink. then.9 Cointe evolves from signifying the abstraction of a certain quality of knowledge to a more complex abstraction describing objects.

the princess of Thebes. while their tendency towards ruse in the use of their intelligence is suggested as a negative shading of character. cointe. (line 3188). et scïentos” (wise and cunning. cointe. lines 4347–8). 14 emmanuèle Baumgartner. 1160–65). originally signifying something along the lines of “knowing.15 in Aliscans (c. Social intelligence according to Godefroy. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. 1155–70). Philomena. the most cointe members of society: “les plus cointes met en esfroi.” connoting intelligent bearing. daughter of the duke of Burgundy. and succeeds in insinuating himself into the graces of those in power. 1190–1220). the heroine’s valet speaks cleverly and wisely. faints. dané. Le Roman de la rose ou de Guillaume de Dole. lines 265. and even the most cointe among them lose their self-possession from fear for her. in both cases. it seems have evolved from latin cognitum. it apparently lingered in the dialect of the vosges well into the nineteenth century.13 in the Lai de Narcisse (c. but covetous. line 5150).” in the Roman de Troie (c. 1187–89). “n’i a si cointe.” “cointisement.” although “amiable” is given by Godefroy as a possible translation for cointe. / veisiez. all ladies run to her aid. Pyrame et Thisbé. Guillaume de lorris emphasizes that it should build self-esteem. 11 Godefroy. but not inflated ego or anything similarly false. the term seems to connote social prestige when aymeri swears that if any of his men touch his challenger rainouart. Paris is described as clever with a series of positive terms: “saives et artos. Cointerie operates at the nexus of superior knowledge and style of display. . 12 The translators render these terms “sage et habile.” “cointement. their intelligence in matters of politics and tactics distinguishes them as heroic men.” (no matter how brave or worthy he might be). there is little in these contexts to suggest it as the best possible rendering. cointement.” in addition to being noble and glorious.” “cointoiement.” cointerel. the term cointe appears in old French in the twelfth century. wise. he will put his eyes out. cointe. 15 “cointise” is used a number of times in the work. 1992. 1209–28). cointes et maqeinz (he was wise. when the eponymous heroine. similarly. “saives iert. plein de savoir.” although the word had passed from current French usage by the seventeenth century (coincidentally. “cointe.” 14 in this context. complaining that it terrifies counts and kings. in order to be allowed into the Parlement and palace.Words For Fashion 99 discussed in criterion 3). s.v. the word seems to connote those in power with notable social training and experience. apostrophizes love. prudent.” “cointour. bright.” “cointir. Narcisse. avisé.” “cointise.” “cointelet. and knowledgable. the period when the Roman de la Rose fell into obscurity). for instance.12 agamemnon is similarly presented. 13 renart. in Amadas et Ydoine (c. seemingly connoting intelligence of another person. in Guillaume de Dole (c. aimable. line 162. and clever.11 it initially meant “clever.

70. it was often paired with another adjective connoting attractiveness and pleasing manner.” she is “coindet’e gaia.” lines 29 and 42. in a poem of the early thirteenth-century trobairitz the comtessa de dia. miséricorde.”20 in the mid. in Guiglielmo IX d’Aquitania.6. cuende. in his last known poem. often related to appearance and the body.” as seen in aucassin et nicolette. sumptuous detail is lavished upon her dufournet. it would date to the latter part of his lifetime (1071–1126). in de dia. attractiveness or amiability. if it is by Guillem iX.and fourteenth-century texts. appearing at about the same time or somewhat earlier. one of the songs attributed to the “earliest troubadour. For example. attractive qualities. it becomes apparent. La Châtelaine de Vergy.”18 in conja it is not difficult to see the derivation of the word from latin cognita. because the speaker’s beloved is “the most gay. 183. “Farai un vers do sui dolenz. although Bernart’s usage is still more vague in meaning than those of the god of love of Guillaume de lorris. line 8. 20 comtessa de dia. P. rené stuip. P. initially.10. miniver. it had an unspecific positive connotation. 46. Aucassin et Nicolette.1. later twelfth century.100 sarah-Grace heller in the late twelfth and early thirteenth century. line 43.” 16 in La Châtelaine de Vergy (late thirteenth century). which imitates the allegorical encounter between the lover and the god of love of the Roman de la Rose.19 This usage with “gay. speaks of a “dompna conja.” line 19.” 21 Bernart de ventadour. chanté iii. 1175–1250). “les chansons de la comtesse Béatrice de dia.c.21 The last example approaches a closer association with appearance. the knight who loved the châtelaine was “biaus et cointes. Appearance The more specifically fashion-oriented sense shared with the French parure is clearer in thirteenth. “chantars no-m pot gaires valer. “Farai chansoneta nueva. in Aucassin et Nicolette (c. in any case. cointe often had a more generic sense of goodness. the god of love rides with a beautiful lady. 183. that coinde. 18 Guillem iX. 19 Guillem iX. For example. 17 16 . The attribution of this song is disputed: some date it as roughly contemporary with Aucassin (last quarter of the twelfth or first half of the thirteenth century).” line 4. in the thirteenth-century occitan novas Lai on cobra. when he wore “vair e gris e sembeli” (vair. and coindeta in old occitan refer to charming.c. is found many other poems and novas. and sable furs).” 17 a similar lexeme occurs in old occitan texts. Bernart de ventadorn described his ideal lady as “Bell’e coind’ab cors covenen” (beautiful and coinda with a pleasing body).c. c. “ab joi at ab joven m’apais.” line 41. the heroine is “cointe et gaie. the term is more closely linked to dress as the narrator looks back on his life and regrets the days when “mout ai estat cuendes e gais” (i was very cuende and gay). P. as in old French. The term would connote a lady desirable for her wisdom or knowledge.” Guillem iX.

palfrey. as it does in old French. and Jehan served him.” 24 Jehan et Blonde. Nouvelles courtoises occitanes et françaises. méjeanThiolier translates “cuhntia” as “charme. in these usages the term connotes a quality that includes both attractive appearance and superior knowledge. it is used prominently in Jehan et Blonde to this effect. of how to behave and make a good impression that is the making of his fortune. his acointance. success in love is promised in association with these qualities. connoistre) but a socially advantageous kind of acquaintance. line 1784). he was not taken for an ignoramus. mount and appearance (lines 90–125).” “coindir. de servir devant grant segnour ne trovast on servant millor. Petit dictionnaire provençal-français. summed up in the phrase “car anc dios non formet sa par/ de gran beautat e de cunhtia” (For God never made her equal for great beauty and cunhtia.v.22 “cunhtia” clearly refers to all her attractive outer trappings: fine jewels. shoes. Qui mout bel acointier se sot. it indicated a particular kind of knowing. was frequently used in texts treating courtly manners in this period. it is his knowledge. li quens menga avoec le roi et Jehans servi devant soi. before proposing the adventure of finding Flamenca. Se coindejar in occitan signifies se parer. saddle. recalling that figure’s strong association with care for appearance. s. Savoir faire a verb. to adorn oneself. “coindejar. lines 168–73.” 23 levy. which corresponds to fashion’s logic of seduction (criterion 9).Words For Fashion 101 clothes. With the resonance of cointe but a sense more akin to the latin root cognitio.23 in Flamenca. . Plus courtois ne plus avenant. For service before a great lord 22 méjean-Thiolier andnotz-Grob. he knew how to make a good impression. ne se fist pas tenir pour sot.24 The count ate with the king. it was not just simple acquaintance or familiarity (expressed by old French cuenestre. Jehan does extremely well as a serving squire for the count of oxford at the Parlement in london. acointier. and layered robes of superior fabrics. for instance. lines 112–13). love approaches the hero and “si fes mout gaia et cointa” (makes herself look quite gay and cointe. The passage is striking as a possible allusion to the advice of the Rose’s god of love.

referring generally to charm. a genteel bourgeois host distinguishes himself and honors the hero by serving wine in fine silver cups. acointier belongs to the courtly conditions breeding proto-fashion. no woman was ever so richly belted) – which held a stone which protected the wearer from any kind of poison. showing that the describer prized originality. bigarré. 13075. “desguisier. for example. also deguisé./ onque nul pucele n’ot/ plus cointe ne plus deguisé.v. Acointier marks a sort of evolutionary middle ground between “knowing” and “fashion” by expressing a form of social distinction. 15022. Jehan et Blonde. 2. the 25 see. in the sense of making social impressions. The girdle of richece (Wealth or splendor) is another example of the desirability of the unique qualities associated with cointe objects. see also Greimas.102 sarah-Grace heller you could not find a better servant. a term often seen in conjunction with cointe in contexts of stylish appearance. distinctive objects chosen by an individual.” 26 Greimas notes that the word appears in the thirteenth century and gives two translations: “1. 11211. s. Unique personal expression Cointe is often applied to express appreciation of unusual./ onc fame plus riche ne ceint” (richece had a very cointe belt. “mult cointement/ et bel et envoisiement (lines 4043–4). pleasant manners and appearance. wit. with richece. for example.” . supported by the poet’s contention that he could not describe one more cointe or deguisé today. lines 2989–90. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française.26 which suggests an appearance differentiated from the commonplace: “d’orfrois ot un chapel mignot. Roman de la Rose. an example is the head ornament of oiseuse (leisure) in the Roman de la Rose. associated with words connoting courtly success like avenant and courtois. these adjectives together send the message that this lady’s crown was worth celebrating for its stylish inimitability. at once modifying the courteous service while focusing on the attractive tableware. s. ultimately praising those who seemed to command both domains effortlessly. lines 4653–4.25 derivatives of cointe cover social territory that shifts freely between attractive comportment and attractive possessions. in these cases. The circlet of gold orphrey is mignot. extraordinaire. rewarding friendships or advantageous acquaintances with influential persons. “richece ot un mout cointe ceint. 14783. and was worth “more than all the gold in rome” (lines 1065–73).” The adverbs seem to overlap. in Amadas. “acointe. with oiseuse. chargé d’ornements./ ne l’avroie hui bien devisé” (lines 549–52). it is also used frequently in the contexts of intimate.” Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. nor a more courteous or more pleasant one. such usage suggests a need for a lexicon to convey appreciation of the social importance of that originality. line 1117. line 4661.v.

28 in a samite silk patterned with birds. pp. well-made objects with worthy. de lorris and de meun. as in the description of oiseuse’s chaplet. given that subtle details like cut are what separate the fashionable from the hapless imitators and the uninformed. Frances horgan. 10.29 Cointise. Le Roman de la Rose. s’estoit en maint leu encisee et decopee par cointise. attributed to Jean renart. 587–8). the crowns placed on the protagonists’ heads at their coronation make them look cointe. suggests that the robe was cleverly cut. The robe was truly extraordinary. mout fu la robe deguisee. The term thus does not suggest a single obvious translation. Cointe seems to refer specifically to a good cut when amors tells the lover to find a good tailor: sweetser. 28 27 . lines 823–4. woven all over with gold thread his body was richly dressed. with its root in knowledge or knowing.” de lorris and de meun.27 as are elegant bedcovers in Guillaume de Dole (line 3278). but is related to the idea of extraordinary and unusual style and ornament. in L’Escoufle. L’Escoufle. to emphasize the unique appearance of the garment. 14. fine rugs and needlepoint decorating a bed are described as cointes. similarly. discerning. The word deguisee appears again here. roman d’aventure. line 804. cf. vulgar crowd (criterion 5). lines 654–6.Words For Fashion 103 word refers to an object that is admired for its rarity and unique craftsmanship. is given the sobriquet cointe on several occasions (“cointe fu e de bel ator. it is the interaction of beautiful. deduit demonstrates a possession of such a kind of fashionable distinction. reflecting the suitability of the God-given honor offered them as rulers (lines 8951–65). Fashion requires knowledge and discernment.” he was cointe and had a handsome appearance. fu ses cors richement vestuz. 1200–02). the gold setting off the flush on their faces. Part of his reputation as the very incarnation of amors’ description of cointerie is due to his clothing: d’un samit portret a oisiaus. it was cleverly cut in many places and stylishly tailored. qui estoit toz a or batuz. and this is a key to his role as the ideal of male courtly conduct presented for the lover to imitate. 29 horgan renders “deguisé” and “deguisee” respectively as “unusual” and “ornately styled. The Romance of the Rose. trans. attractive people that defines the magic of cointerie. in L’Escoufle (c. deduit. the work of someone with knowledge of how it was to be best done. The exemplar of ideal masculinity.

30 and then you should entrust your clothing to one who knows how to cut well. who will make the seams lie perfectly and the sleeves tightly-fitted and cointe. it is known that there was a thirteenth-century vogue for sewing sleeves down using decorative stitches each time a garment was put on. pp. having the orleans shape. Boucher. fame est plus cointe et plus mignote en sorquenie que en cote.31 Tight sleeves stretch the bodice fabric neatly across the chest. more “do and don’t” advice on fabrics and styles are found in the discussion of her clothing: el fu en une sorquenie qui ne fu mie de boraz: n’ot si riche jusqu’a arraz et si fu si cueillie et jointe qu’il n’i ot une seule pointe qui en son droit ne fu asise. Le Roman de la Rose. p. mout fu bien vestue Franchise. 141. Quicherat. they should be recognized as an object of thirteenth-century fashion.32 she was in a sorquenie which was not of cheap stuff: de lorris and de meun. Histoire du costume en France. but instead was long and well-formed (lines 1192–3). The poet says that she was not brunette or dark – “don’t” – but had a complexion whiter than snow – “do” (lines 1190–1). 32 de lorris and de meun. in the “essenhamen de la donzela” of amanieu des escas. 182. There is no hiding a figure flaw with such a look. lines 2133–6. The narrator of the Rose. discouraging others. her nose was not orlenois. stitches his sleeves to obtain a tightly fitted. lines 43–4. lines 1208–18. ladies are advised: “cordatz estrechamen/ vostres bratz ben e gen” (lace up tightly your fine and noble arms). as such. 183–4. qui face bien seanz les pointes et les manches vestanz et cointes. sewn sleeves represent a way to demonstrate an individual body’s uniqueness and merits. 31 30 . promoting styles the poet likes. The word cointe appears in the description of Franchise to describe the cut of her robe. car nule robe n’est plus bele de sorquenie a damoiseile. This is one of several passages in the Rose that demonstrate the importance of skillful cutting and seaming. This portrait is interesting because it stands out as didactic. sleek look (line 98). Pygmalion sews his sculpture’s sleeves. as do the clouds in nature’s speech (lines 17968–70). as well (lines 20969–72). Le Roman de la Rose. 20.104 sarah-Grace heller et si doiz ta robe baillier a tel qui sache bien taillier. upon waking.000 Years of Fashion. p.

based on the statutes passed by the 1298 consulat of narbonne (Histoire du costume en France. horgan. Mignote appears again in this passage in conjunction with cointe. de lorris and de meun. an over-tunic. These statutes post-date the Roman de la Rose. trans. showing off layers of rich fabrics but obscuring the body.34 While the poet gives value to the sorquenie ostensibly because it makes women more “mignote et cointe. however. The poet’s preference for well-seamed garments is symptomatic of fashion in that he advocates the more revealing and expressive garment.Words For Fashion 105 there was none so rich from here to arras and it was so carefully made and seamed that there was not a single stitch that was not in the right place. a sorquenie was obviously a closely fitting garment. it is the public promotion attaching value to a style that transforms the real garment into an object of fashion. Frances horgan translates these words as “daintier and more elegant. 19.” ultimately his preference is arbitrary. 47. Le Roman de la Rose mis en français moderne. shown in opposition to the cote. charles dahlberg. a woman is more cointe and mignote in a sorquenie than in a cote. the one which allows him to read the “sweetness and openness” of the wearer (lines 1219–21). but that is obviously not the sense here. 33 . pp.” 34 Barthes. mais taillée par le haut de manière à dessiner le buste. trans.” 35 This book advocates a rendering that takes into account the presence of fashion in the passage. 46–9. a long gown generally worn with a surcot. p. qui fut surtout au goût des galants. The garments have no inherent value of their own. another sign of fashion’s presence. for no robe looks better on a lady than a sorquenie. 35 de lorris and de meun. Romance of the Rose. “Quaint” is derived from the old Quicherat claimed that both the word and the style were imported into northern France from the south. and imparted these same qualities to their owners and wearers. which is his sole source in claiming that it was a “cotte déceinte. 37. charming. Système de la mode. may have been the target of the poet’s objections. trans. distinctive. mignote and deguisée were stylish. Franchise was very well dressed. de lorris and de meun. a loose draping garment may reveal the body as well as – if not better than – a tightly fitted one. pp. andré mary. a similar word (souquenie or souquenille) exists in later French to mean a loose smock. p. p. This fashion for piling on voluminous garments. andré mary as “plus jolie et plus mignonne. Sorquenie is apparently a hapax legomenon. The Romance of the Rose.33 The rarity of this usage of sorquenie suggests the possibility that it represents a passing vogue. objects which are cointe. the poet engages in the value-conferring process of a fashion system. fashionable. besides covering and warmth.” charles dahlberg as “quainter and more delightful”. 186–7). as in the rhetorical process described by Barthes. By giving his opinion on the two different styles.

Oxford English Dictionary (1989). men four times.). cortois et sanz orgueil doit estre. where the Unhappy husband frequently uses the term negatively. tall and straight. to feminine figures five times. douz regart. in the second half. These proportions are reversed in Jean de meun’s part of the poem.v.102. in lecoy’s edition. however. lines 2217–20. Le Roman de la Rose. Keeping oneself cointe is among the top three commandments of the god of love in his final brief summary of his “sermon”: Qui d’amors veut fere son mestre. “The Taming of the shrew. was “biaus et lonc et droiz” (handsome. it is used to describe women thirteen times. . and “gay and cointe young men” (lines 919–20).. The word in this context reinforces the general effect of deduit’s fine. These proportions suggest that cointe was not reserved for one gender in the way that “handsome” is primarily masculine and “pretty” or “beautiful” feminine in modern english. “Quaint” has evolved to connote something old-fashioned or peculiar. s. that connotation is now obsolete. in the first part of the Roman de Rose. it is applied to men’s comportment approximately eleven times. For example. 36 37 38 shakespeare. et de bel ator” (804). cointe se tiegne et envoisiez et de largesce soit presiez. well-frocked appearance. the opposite of fashionable. in the Roman de la Rose. the handsome young proprietor of the garden of love. keep himself cointe and bright. although shakespeare used “quaint” to describe a highly fashionable and well-made gown in “The Taming of the shrew.” de lorris and de meun.iii. where it is used to describe stylish appearance.. the god of love’s minion. variations of the term cointe have been used to describe both masculine and feminine figures. the god of love’s frequent use of the term cointe was directed at the lover and more generally at young men seeking to please in courtly settings. deduit. well-formed. “quaint (adj. held two Turkish bows: the one designed for sending out good arrows was smooth and painted with pleasant scenes of ladies on all sides.37 Gender in the examples offered thus far. 799).106 sarah-Grace heller French cointe. and be dedicated to generosity.” iv.38 Whoever would make love his master must be courteous and free of pride. as well as “cointe .” 36 for instance. dahlberg’s frequent rendering of cointerie with “quaintness” does not adequately convey the sense of fashionable style and attractive flair that cointerie carried. it is repeatedly used in the first part of the poem in association with courtly young men.

as the young are those who favor novelty as a way of seeking out a social place for themselves. for instance. his chausses fit stylishly. ne ferai or pas mencion de sa robe et de son oré et de son treçoër doré. . ne de fermail ne de corroie. other romances affirm this hypothesis. lines 3409–21. Further discussion of the translation of the cointerie commandment into actual garments will appear in the next chapter. is twice called cointe in the lover’s attempt to describe her. the Rose’s venus. 39 de lorris and de meun. By her impressive appearance anyone who saw her would be able to tell that she was no member of a religious order. Le Roman de la Rose.Words For Fashion 107 over five hundred lines of advice boil down to four virtues: courtesy. dou grant ator que ele avoit bien puet conoistre. the word is applied in a positive manner to several powerful figures given feminine gender. qu’el n’iert pas de religion. nor her neck brooch nor her belt. por ce que trop i demoroie. Commanding female figures in contrast to the use of cointe for the dress and deportment of young heroes. The association with ambitious youth could be seen as evidence for a fashion system’s polarization of the older and younger generations. now i will not mention her robe or her hem or her golden hair ornaments. mes bien sachiez seürement qu’ele fu cointe durement. The word is not generally used for old men. et si n’ot point en li d’orguieil. as seen in the passage cited in the introduction. and cointerie. qui la voit. si fu si cointe et si tifee qu’el resembla deesse ou fee. notably. amadas.39 she was so cointe and so adorned that she looked like a goddess or a fairy. humility. is “cointement cauciés” (line 1639). generosity. clearly Guillaume de lorris saw it as one of the most significant keys to a young man’s success in finding a lady and acceptance by superiors at court. the personification of feminine sexuality. Flamenca’s Guillem de nevers was similarly well dressed.

Bourgeois women Women of lesser stations could be associated with cointe adornment and behavior. the word is used in the depiction of figures given feminine gender that represent the summit of a hierarchy. both by venus’ identity. The word is unambiguously associated with appearance here. in the second part of the Rose. she is also the only one said to be cointe (line 217). the marvelous queen of Wales. who were cointes and beautiful (line 1158). roman d’aventures. when such women are linked to cointerie it is often less to demonstrate their personal qualities than to portray them as desirable objects.41 in these contexts. renaut de Beaujeu. This pattern of usage links young men and the objects of their ambitions more than it links women and cointerie. in the beginning of the poem when she makes a new cointe robe for herself out of spring flowers (line 61) and later as the narrator notices her flowers a second time (line 1405). These women represent the riches of the city coveted by the adventurers. Le Mariage des Septs Arts. the queen of the Faculties. the term is applied to the hero’s lover-patron. conveying that her appearance represented the opposite of sexual renunciation (fulfilling criterion 9). the mal marié. personified as feminine. They represent things which men dream of possessing: power over women’s affections. This character laments the day he 40 41 Jehan le teinturier d’arras. which illustrates the term’s link to criterion 8 for a fashion system. Le bel inconnu. however. prestigious sponsorship. in the Roman de Troie. and not to any other women. Jason and his companions admire the bourgeois women of the fortified city Jaconidès. But know for certain that she was extremely cointe.” the liberal arts are personified as nubile women. rather than individual characters to be developed. . the arousal of criticism. and there was not a bit of pride in her. is twice referred to in conjunction with the term: first. and by the comment that one could tell she was not a nun. in the “mariage des sept arts.108 sarah-Grace heller because i would linger on them too long. suggesting a broadening of accessibility to thirteenth-century fashion as described in criterion 10. it is also associated with sexual attraction. seasonal renewal. the earth. who wears a rich hood (“chape de camelin”). bourgeois cointerie becomes the site of serious gender conflict through ami’s discussion of the manners of a jealous husband. clothing is described only for the highest among them. Theology. elsewhere in the rose.40 in le Bel inconnu. in her richly figured embroidered robes (lines 5143–70). mastery of the highest level of study.

Words For Fashion


married an elegant, well-dressed woman. in so doing, however, he admits that he was seduced by the attraction of her stylish appearance.
mieuz me venist ester alez pendre le jor que je dui fame prendre, quant si cointe fame acointai. morz sui quant fame si cointe ai.42 Would that i had been hanged on the day i had to go and take a wife, when i met such a cointe woman. This cointe woman is the death of me.

This passage shows that cointises are a double-edged sword for women. initially, they proved a successful method for finding a husband. once the husband is caught, however, it becomes an issue provoking his rage, frustration, avarice and jealousy.43 couched in a larger discussion condemning marriage and women’s lack of chastity by quoting authorities like Juvenal and abelard, the mal marié’s discourse reveals several insecurities with regard to women’s concern for their appearance. Cointerie is at the heart of his rage: he uses a form of the word five times in fifty lines. he sees women as employing the artifices of cointise in order to gain public attention and recognition, which is precisely how fashion functions. his suspicions, however, are that women cultivate their appearances only in order to attract sexual attention, making themselves cointe to pay homage to venus, wearing their finery to dances and churches (lines 8995– 9004). This speech shows the presence of several important criteria for fashion, beyond the criticism already mentioned (criterion 8). First, there is the logic of theatricality, which requires public performance of appearance for the functioning of a fashion system (criterion 6). The husband’s enumeration of the places where women (and men) go to be seen satisfies this. second, the logic of seduction is functioning in the passage, that line of thinking that says that the love and affection of potential sexual partners may be gained through the consumption and display of fashionable objects and behaviors (criterion 9). The angry, misogynist tone of this discourse suggests that fashion was entirely the responsibility of women. a closer look, however, suggests that the husband is thoroughly implicated in the system. its performance and seduction were effective on him. his wife expressed aspects of herself through her finery that appealed to him enough that he wanted to marry her. once married, however, he wants that expression to cease and to gain control of her expressiveness.
de lorris and de meun, Le Roman de la Rose, lines 8809–12. Burns has examined the curious double message of the unnamed wife’s finery, which at once seems to make her sinfully whorish, the stereotype of vain women condemned by the preachers, and yet give her elite status, essentially leaving her husband behind on her social ascent. Burns, Courtly Love Undressed, pp. 44–51.
43 42


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his impotent rage suggests that some women were not willing to relinquish the expressive power of fashion once married, or at least that some men feared as much. at one point, the husband admits that men indulge in cointises as well as women. after arguing that women insult God’s handiwork by altering it with artifice (lines 9009–32), he says,
sanz faille ausinc est il des homes. se nous, por plus biaus estre, fomes les chapelez et les cointises seur les biautez que dex a mises en nous, vers lui mout mesprenons quant a paiez ne nous tenons des biautez qu’il nous a donees seur toutes creatures nees.44 The same is, without fail, true of men. if we, in order to be better looking, put floral wreaths and cointises over the beauties which God placed in us, we do him a great wrong by not appreciating the beauties which he gave to us over all other creatures.

in the quantity of space and words devoted to women’s fashion in this part of the poem, it would be easy to lose sight of men’s equal devotion to fashion. The rage-obsessed mal marié’s pause in his ranting to admit that men’s cointerie was just as much a problem as women’s testifies that men’s interest in fashion was just as significant as women’s, if not implicitly greater. it does seems to have elicited less protest, but one could generalize that women had fewer places for publicly criticizing men than men had for women.45 The wife’s cointerie is blamed for the man’s sexual frustration, both because cointerie seems to him to make her less submissive, and because her complicated clothing blocks his access to her body (lines 8824–34).

de lorris and de meun, Le Roman de la Rose, lines 9033–40. While “cointerie” involved both sexes, there is a difference in the level of tension provoked by each gender’s fashion activity. Both sexes are blamed for not respecting God’s creation, both in these passages and also when ami speaks nostalgically of the Golden age (lines 8332–3, 8351–9). Women’s fashion, however, is blamed for several more problems. violation of chastity has already been mentioned. The jealous, often absent husband (he is a merchant who frequently travels to rome and Frisia, lines 8445–6) suspects that his wife dresses up to flirt publicly in his absence (lines 8447–54, 8572–8, 8983–9008, etc.). linked to this line of thinking is violation of modesty, which he associates with ideal wifely behavior, for example when he says that he wants her to wear cointises for his eyes alone (lines 8493–6).


Words For Fashion


Que me vaut ceste cointerie, ceste robe couteuse et chiere qui si vos fet haucier la chiere, qui tant me grieve et atrahine, tant est longue et tant vos trahine, por quoi tant d’orgeuill demenez que j’en deviegn tout forsenez? 46 What use is this cointerie to me, this costly and expensive robe which makes you hold your head up so high, which vexes and torments me so, which is so long and trails behind you, which makes you act so proud that it drives me quite out of my mind?

one of things that he most resents is the pride and self-confidence which her fine apparel grants her, and which she maintains despite his ranting and abuse. This meets criterion 4, in which fashion links stylish display and personal confidence. The subtle distinction between cointerie and pride insisted upon earlier in the poem by the god of love breaks down here in the boorish husband’s unsubtle view. The husband’s excessive transports of rage, like the rabidly misogynist romances studied by roberta Krueger, convey the impression of his own inadequacy as much as if not more than they convince readers of the true baseness of women or cointerie or contribute to the denigration of either.47 his loathing of her care for her appearance harms himself, by his own account, as much as it does her. When ami finishes the story, he says that the jealous husband is a negative exemplum and that women should be allowed their freedom, not subjected to a man’s will (lines 9391–412). nonetheless, the story of the mal marié occupies many hundred lines of vivid vituperation. it may be, as Krueger suggests of other misogynist texts, that this section was developed at such length because it provoked a lively reaction among readers. The narrator’s plea not to defame his writing for what he repeats from other authors about feminine behavior (lines 15165–212) supports the interpretation that Jean de meun was being deliberately provocative with the aim of exciting interest. The degree to which he expounds on the gender relations surrounding cointerie suggests that it was in reality a matter fraught with tension as well as fascination.

46 47

de lorris and de meun, Le Roman de la Rose, lines 8814–20. Krueger, Women Readers and the Ideology of Gender, pp. 65–100.


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The cost of cointerie
While fashion and consumption were on the rise in this period, income levels of various ranks were not always proportionate to the grades of social hierarchy. it is understandable that fashion became the focus of serious conflict, both economic and emotional. after being sexually thwarted by the volume and intricacy of his wife’s clothing, the mal marié is further made impotent by his frustration at his inability to seize control of the wealth tied up in his wife’s apparel (lines 8845–54). as Burns has observed, the wife’s finery leverages marital independence and social mobility for her.48 Women’s economic autonomy was limited to governing personal property like clothing, jewels, bedding and serving ware. such things composed many dowries as well as the contents of women’s testaments.49 The husband who would lord over his wife sought to control her sexual freedom, her public appearance, her personal confidence and her wealth, all of which related to her cointerie. nowhere in the Rose does a female figure attempt to control all of those powers in a male figure through discourse related to appearance. The meretricious old Woman attempts to wrest some economic control from her lovers by manipulating them into supporting her taste for gifts, but she clearly occupies an inferior position in the social hierarchy and seems only a minor exception proving the rule. Judging by law codes, the paucity of female authors, and other factors, it is generally agreed that women had few modes of self-expression in the middle ages. Fashion was one of the few, as Jane Burns demonstrates in Courtly Love Undressed. men struggling with their own sense of adequacy appear to have protested women’s right to participate in the fashion system. Fashion succeeded in remaining an outlet of selfexpression open to women, despite misogynist protests and other less gender-based moralizing like the arguments against artifice and in favor of God’s natural simplicity. The purchases of finery described by the mal marié certainly stimulated the economy. a sense of the need to maintain appearances in order to retain or increase status was probably another guarantee of fashion’s successful foothold, creating a self-sustaining system. medieval women may not have left the traces of their subjectivity that men did, but the signs of the growth of a fashion system indicate that, like men, they were able to express themselves through choices concerning appearance. Fashionable self-expression had considerable importance in determining suitable sexual and conjugal partners, the place of a couple in the social hierarchy, and personal self-esteem as well.
Burns, Courtly Love Undressed, pp. 47–9. see the widows in litigation with heirs for possession of their own wardrobes from earlier marriages in the period 1277–1320, michaud, Un signe des temps, pp. 60, 112–18, 46. on movable property as a prominent feature in women’s wills, Godding, “la Pratique testimentaire en Flandre au 13e siècle,” p. 293; howell, “Fixing movables: Gifts by Testament in late medieval douai.”
49 48

amors recommends floral wreaths. make yourself stylish. here. cointerie does not merely evoke the sumptuous. in the opening of the poem. you should dress as handsomely as you can manage without ruining yourself. mes au plus bel te doiz deduire que tu poras. and if you do not have the wealth to do it. This suggests that it was associated with the elite. but only in accordance with his income (line 2129). the god of love emphasizes that it is possible to be cointe even without great wealth or expenditure. But given the many criteria for fashion satisfied by the varied and complex uses of the term. Cointerie can. lines 2143–8. Le Roman de la Rose. be a sign of social mobility. Cointerie and lack of income are several times represented as antithetical in the Roman de la Rose. the figure of amors insists that he speaks to poor lovers because the wealthy don’t need his help. The uses of the word in the Rose are intimately connected to contemporary ideas and worries concerning station and income.Words For Fashion 113 Status and wealth does cointerie only refer to trappings of wealth and power? if so. he further recommends. then do the best you can. . et se tu n’es de la richeice que fere puisses.50 With gloves. only sumptuous display by the upper classes. so that (and this satisfies criterion 10) the presence of a fashion system indicates – indeed relies upon and furthers – a destabilization of the lines of social demarcation by socio-economic distinctions such as station. cointerie is presented in opposition to poverty. lines 10021–237). These concerns were shared by people of a variety of estates. Fole largece (Unwise Generosity. “which anyone can afford” (lines 50 de lorris and de meun. a silk purse and a belt. a theme which Jean de meun develops at further length in the discourses on Fortune (lines 4739–5316). of flowers (lines 57–62). seen in spring’s sudden rise to conspicuous consumption. si t’adreice. d’aumoniere de soie et de ceinture te cointoie. The god of love instructs the lover to keep up his appearance. Throughout the Rose. therefore. the personified earth so gloried in the departure of winter’s poverty that she made herself a cointe new gown. even for lovers with limited means there are options for stylish personal adornment. but also with changes in fortune. it might support the argument that there was no real fashion system in the middle ages. sanz toi destruire. however. de ganz. and in the tradition of ovid’s Ars Amatoria. lines 7855–8196) and the encounter with richece (Wealth.


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2149–52). he also emphasizes the importance of general hygiene and grooming (lines 2153–62), personal attentions that need not be costly to be effective. Whereas Guillaume de lorris seems to have been attempting to define cointerie in the didactic passages addressed to the lover, Jean de meun treats the word’s association with fashionable appearance as already established. When the word emerges from the mouth of Faux semblant (False seeming), it is clearly associated with the rich dressing and fine tailoring expected of the noble and wealthy. Faux semblant asks whether it is greater deceit to be a religious hypocrite or to embrace cointerie. he compares the life of mendicants like himself, who pray in public and deceive people behind their backs, and the manners of well dressed courtly laymen (lines 11897–994). he associates cointerie with the noble stations, even as he undermines the ideological nobility that people intend to convey by their cointe appearances. When he says he prefers to confess rich women rather than the poor, he amplifies the point with all the different ranks he is willing to entertain: empresses, duchesses, queens, countesses, abbesses, beguines, wives of governors and knights, and cointe and proud bourgeois women (lines 11547–56). The distinct association of cointe with bourgeoises in this passage suggests strongly that cointerie was open to any laypersons, regardless of birth rank, as long as they had the necessary income and could find a forum for public appearance. This illustrates the growing presence of another aspect of fashion, the democratization of appearances. Faux semblant, for all that he is self-professedly deceitful, reveals the reality that cointerie, along with wealth and/or beauty, diminishes the importance of rank in gaining attention and services. it has been claimed that medieval fashions (or luxury, if fashion did not exist) were only the preoccupation of a few select members of the elite.51 There are signs, this being one of several instances, that by the second half of the thirteenth century, fashion had penetrated beyond the upper noble echelons into the middle ranks of Parisian culture. The Parisian income tax records of 1292 list three men with the sobriquet cointe, all living in the commercial right Bank quarter.52 “Jehan le cointe” of the rue au lyon in the saint-sauveur parish, who pays the minimum amount, twelve deniers; “Guillaume le cointe” of the rue de la courroirerie, near saint-merri, who pays forty sous, an average sum; and “nicolas le cointe,” living outside the walls near the Temple, paying a modest four sous.53 The context does not furnish any further information about these men or their lifestyles. The document does testify that at the end of the thirteenth century, the adjective was in use to describe urban-dwelling men of modest to moderate means, not just romance heroes or queenly personifications.
For instance Boucher, 20,000 Years of Fashion, pp. 179, 180. see The Roman de la Rose, where oiseuse gives deduit the sobriquet “cointe”: “Privee sui mout et acointe/ de deduit le mignot, le cointe” (i know Pleasure the mignot, the cointe, and am an intimate friend of his, lines 587–8). 53 Géraud, Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. Géraud suggests a broad range of interpretations: “agréable, gentil, prévenant, affable, beau, propre, bien fait, du latin comptus.”
52 51

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Fashion was beginning to be used to bridge chasms established by distinctions of rank, permitting a new kind of social mobility. like Faux semblant, la vieille boasts of exploiting cointerie to gain wealth and position. she laments the loss of her wealth and social importance, a loss corresponding to the loss of her youthful good looks.
se je fusse sage, par m’ame, trop eüsse esté riche dame, car de trop granz genz fui acointe quant g’iere ja mignote et cointe, et bien an tenoie aucuns pris.54 if i had been wise, upon my soul, i would have been a very rich woman, for i knew many high-placed men when i was mignote and cointe, and i had a firm hold on some of them.

coming from la vieille’s mouth, this mobility sounds distinctly unsavory. new social mobility is bound to create social anxiety, however, and this passage testifies to that as well. Cointerie is portrayed in the Rose as an important social tool, a positive one for young male lovers under the pen of Guillaume de lorris, a potentially negative one at the hands of unscrupulous women and preachers in the writings of Jean de meun. The second author corrects the first’s optimism by revealing fashion’s harmful consequences. his attitudes towards cointerie contain a cynicism that perhaps was a result of a fashion system’s growth and expansion over the course of the thirteenth century. during the four-decade span of the Rose’s composition, it seems very likely that cointerie evolved from a more isolated, closed, elite system to a more open, urban one. By the 1270s, fashion seems to have been functioning as a system that both stimulated and destabilized, that inspired celebration and fantasy as well as violent criticism.

The opposite of fashion: antonyms
in evaluating the presence of a fashion system, there should not only be words expressing favorable opinions of fashionable people and objects. The requirement that the styles of the recent past be rejected calls for ways of expressing concepts such as “unfashionable,” “outdated” or “out-of-style.” a set of negative images painted on a wall seen by the Rose’s narrator before entering the garden are said to lack cointerie. oiseuse (leisure) says that deduit (Pleasure) had commanded that the wall be built and painted. she evaluates them saying that “the images which are painted there are neither mignotes nor cointes, rather they are miserable and sad,” as the narrator can see (lines 597–600). as

de lorris and de meun, Le Roman de la Rose, lines 14441–5.


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an arbiter of style herself, said earlier to possess cointerie (in her chaplet, line 551), oiseuse is able to judge the feminine figures on the wall. They have wretched appearances all around: haine’s ugly look, avarice’s old clothes (discussed in chapter 3), Tristece’s torn garments and hair, vieillece’s lost charms, Papelardie’s bad color and austere dress, Povreté’s complete lack of clothes. This passage demonstrates a consciousness of “un-fashionability.” The figures on the wall are, by their context, excluded from the garden of delight, where the attractive and stylish figures are described. Their exclusion from fashionability is first expressed by a negative construction, “not cointe,” then explained: they are “dolereuses et tristes.” Terms such as “pained” and “sad” are not direct equivalents of “unfashionable,” yet by explaining a lack of attention to appearance, they do serve that function. The context of the wall offers several other alternatives to cointe, including poverty in the case of Povreté, self-imposed damage in the portrait of Tristece, and distress imposed by time in the cases of avarice and vieillece. reasons for neglecting fashion, from lacking resources to miserly ignorance of the importance of displaying new possessions, all express the idea of “unfashionable” in different ways. a similar kind of implicit definition of unfashionability is found in the old French Lai du Trot, where a knight sees a vision of ladies who have done proper service to love, each one accompanied by her lover, each of them “cointe et mignot et bien seant (line 115),” all well-dressed in rich ermine-lined cloaks and gold spurs (lines 118–22). These couples are contrasted with those who had served love ill, who were condemned to ride rude mounts without proper stirrups, saddles or harness, dressed like wretches.55 While the term cointe is clearly linked to positively viewed appearance, the figures’ dress is allegorical, intended to represent wisdom in love with its shades of courtly savoir faire more than to serve as a fashion plate for the year’s styles. nonetheless, the author’s harnessing of dress images for his allegory testifies to the place they held in contemporary society. The Rose’s mal marié provides an antithesis to cointerie when he threatens his wife concerning her wardrobe. after admitting that men wrong God as much as women do with their efforts to be cointe, he offers himself as an exception to the pursuit of fashion:
mes je n’ai de tex trufles cure; je veill soffisant vesteüre qui de froit et de chaut me gart. ausinc bien, se dex me regart, me garantist et cors et teste, par vent, par pluie et par tampeste, forré d’agneaus cist miens bureaus comne pers forré d’escureaus.56
55 56

micha, Lais féeriques des XIIe et XIIIe siècles. de lorris and de meun, Le Roman de la Rose, lines 9041–8.

Words For Fashion


But i have not care for such nonsense; i want only sufficient clothing to protect myself from cold and heat. i do just as well, with God’s help, at protecting my body and head from wind, rain, and storms with my cheap stuff lined in lamb as with fine blue wool lined in squirrel.

he sets up his tastes in polar opposition to his wife’s. she is cointe, concerned with style and artifice. he wants clothing only for its utility. she wants squirrel fur, vair, and finely finished and dyed woolens (pers). he wants lamb fur (also preferred by avarice, who wears a mantel that was “vil et de povre afeire” lined with heavy, matted lamb, lines 215–17) and bureaus, bourre in modern French, woolen cloth made from recycled discarded fibers, a scratchy, rough, generally cheap kind of textile.57 The opposition to cointerie is framed as both ideological (utility vs. artifice) and economic (cheap vs. expensive). his logic corresponds to the impulse to simplify seen in the founding of monastic orders and utopian communities, as well as to a strain of anthropology and costume history that posits an original, natural human condition in which clothes served only as protection. This logic has been criticized as positivistic (desiring a degree zero from which to initiate progress) and also as a simplistic denial of how complex the impulse to clothe oneself really is.58 The mal marié’s position is in some ways an artificial polemic tactic taken in order to oppose his wife. his behavior implies that the opposite of a cointe person is a miser, and moreover that miserly rejection of fashion breeds misery. his threat of confiscating her finery and forcing her to wear cheap homespun, unadorned belts and his old shoes affirms this (lines 9265–82). several aspects antithetical to cointerie figure in the portrait of the boorish bourgeois husband. one is economic, as he proposes that she will only have inexpensive clothing. another related aspect is quality: she will not have things showing superior workmanship such as fine weaves and sculpted belt buckles. a third aspect is age: he dreams of imposing worn-out and used garments upon her, in opposition to her new ones. if one major aspect of fashion is constant desire for new things, this description of the opposite of cointerie fits, demonstrating that old clothing was considered odious. denial of expression is a
on thirteenth-century town statutes from Provence and catalonia forbidding the manufacture of borra, cardon, La Draperie au Moyen Age, pp. 109–13. 58 When John carl Flugel in the Psychology of Clothes attempts to discuss the “fundamental motive” of clothing oneself for “protection,” he ends up talking about protection as magical thinking and clothes as emotional protection from others, pp. 71–84. as the Batterberrys have said, there is no evidence that clothes were ever worn just to fend off the cold, giving the example of the indigenous people who go nude in the intemperate Tierra del Fuego (Fashion: The Mirror of History, pp. 8–9). cannon, “The cultural and historical contexts of Fashion,” pp. 24–8; steele, Fashion and Eroticism, p. 15.

a view reinforced in the portrait of venus where the narrator describes her as extremely cointe as well as free of orgueil (lines 3419–21). For the unhappy husband. line 55) and “devient la terre si gobe/ qu’el velt avoir nouvele robe. which according to common medieval logic bestowed beauty on good things. Bertoni. 60 see roy. and plainness./ si set si cointe robe feire” (the earth becomes so proud that she wants a new robe. however. miserliness. but her garrulousness and her strategic exploitation of lovers for monetary gain makes it obvious that she is not a desirable model of courtly virtue and behavior. “Pride” does not seem to have a negative connotation at the poem’s opening. as discussed above. lines 59–61). “accenni alla storia del costume in una versione francese dell’’ars amatoria’. “s’el n’est bele. si se cointait. as well as her own portrayal of herself. the mal marié deprives his wife of an expressive surface: she will no longer be able to show the true size and form of her feet. Art and Beauty in the Middle Ages.” 59 . la vieille exceeds the bounds of moderation in the cointises she employs and advocates. in some ways. inferior workmanship. distinguishing ancient practices from contemporary ones. When she declares./ la plus lede atour plus cointe ait” (if she is not beautiful. condemned earlier by the god of love (line 2128). 3: Le XIIIe siècle. When artifice is applied to embellish something that was decidedly unattractive in the first place. ugliness on bad things.59 la vieille may boast that she was once cointe. poor materials. eco. expresses another potential way of conceiving of unfashionability. and she knows how to make such a cointe one. By giving her his old overshoes which do not fit her and telling her just to lace them up tighter (lines 9275–7). The god of love explained that the opposite of cointerie was orgeuil. The old French translations of L’Art d’Amours. The outrageous advice of la vieille. artificially wrought beauty becomes the opposite of cointerie. By giving her a belt without a closure of leather. vol. the opposites of fashion are a complex constellation of situations denying self-expression. moreover. that is “tout blanc” – literally “blank” – he would deny her power to express personal taste through the choice of texture and decoration. lines 13251–2). This neo-Platonic theory can be found in the works of thinkers such as saint augustine and Pseudo-dionysius and others later. although based on ovid’s Ars Amatoria book iii. excess. pride or arrogance (lines 2125–8). de Bruyne. Fashion and pride have an equivocal relationship in the poem. gloss these sections in ovid heavily. la vieille’s discourse represents a reaction to contemporary practices. let her enhance her appearance: may the ugliest be the most cointe. and moreover in revealing that they are artifices.60 The discourse of la vieille reveals both fascination with and repulsed reaction to practices of cosmetic improvement. poor fit. L’Art d’Amours. Etudes d’Esthétique médiévale.118 sarah-Grace heller further aspect of the opposition to cointerie seen in this passage (see criterion 4). the antonyms to fashion that she embodies are folly and outrecuidance. including poverty. overuse. when “la terre meïsmes s’orgueille” (the earth herself becomes so proud. cointerie destabilizes nature.

Where there was cointerie. 371–2). The prominent repetition of cointe and its derivatives in thirteenth-century vernacular works clearly indicates that fashion consciousness and desire for visual attractiveness were at work in the literate cultures of France and occitania in that period. Where there was cointerie. 61 Philippe de rémi. in other words. which leads to ostracization. Oeuvres poétiques de Philippe de Rémi. Bad pride is the opposite of fashion: the self-delusive pride which dares to dress up unworthy bodies and souls in a vain show of consumption. and distinction are fine ideals. orguel and cointise are allied against the lover-narrator. changes were occurring in the construction of the social hierarchy with regard to station. as well. offering a new way to ascend the ladder of social success. part of a developing lexicon that deserves more attention. Who could afford new clothes? What did it take to wear distinctive and well-tailored chausses? These are the questions for chapter 5.61 la vieille advises women to avoid loving excessively vain men who devote too much time to their own appearance. but attaining them in practice requires something more than poetic expressions of fantasy. too much pride (lines 13601–6). because they over-dramatize themselves. . in Philippe de Beaumanoir’s Salu d’Amours. sire de Beaumanoir. Fashionable pride should be moderate and subtle. novelty. and above all intelligent. cointerie is a result of orgueil.Words For Fashion 119 in that passage. The existence of means for expressing abstract notions is a signal that a societal need to express such concepts existed. vain lovers who boast about their looks are not admired as trendsetters or models of fashion. but not arrogance or vanity. representing the pride and social superiority that make the lady inaccessible (lines 231–40. there were changes afoot in the economy. Cointerie is by no means the only term connoting the abstract values of fashion. touching on the increasing rates of demand for trade and innovation in distinctive objects and apparel. income and gender. because it is a sign of self-absorption. Cointerie. it is simply an example. Fashion’s logic forbids excessive exaggeration. where choices are not made with the requisite knowledge of cointerie. The old Woman’s statement ultimately serves to affirm amors’ message that cointerie should afford the lover confidence.

ed. in the amounts used for evoking fantastically valuable objects. that a single man in possession of a good fortune. but an outstanding income generally must number among a leading man’s requisite outstanding traits. This chapter will examine some representations of economic anxieties in French medieval vernacular literature. Tony Tanner. fashionable figure? on another level. looking at changes in popular monetary awareness that accompany the development of the fashion system. p. london. Pride and Prejudice (orig. Betty Grable and lauren Bacall played women seeking to discern “how to marry a Millionaire. what does it mean when precise sums of money are used in fictional narratives? note that it was heroes. The majority of examples in this chapter will deal with representations of male characters’ wealth and ability to consume. mrs Bennett speculates that mr Bingley’s “large fortune” must be “four or five thousand a year.” 1 in 1953.” standards and customs change greatly between periods. 1972). 1160–1330) in the ways a hero’s fortunes are described. london: Penguin. 1813. because it is such personal control of finances that empowers individuals to make distinctive personal choices. Jane austen. more often than heroines. must be in want of a wife. and incomes. bargains. who were the prominent fashion consumers in the early centuries of the western system’s existence. how much income was required to allow the medieval romance hero to cut a distinguished. Pride and Prejudice. changes may be observed over the “long thirteenth century” (c. and in the frequency of discussing prices. . Key terms from 1 Jane austen. The prerequisite economy for a fashion system engagement in a fashion system requires personal spending resources. in the opening scene of Pride and Prejudice.5 The desire for spending money it is a truth universally acknowledged. marilyn monroe. comparing these with historians’ analyses of the many economic changes occurring in the high middle ages. 51.

A History of Business in Medieval Europe. status objects were exchanged most often under the broad rubrics of what can be termed “theft. for political tributes. p. pp.” such as regularly occurred between the church and the lords and their benefactors and dependents. “commerce in the dark ages: a critique of the evidence.4 in viking society of the ninth and tenth centuries. 1200–1550.2 Trade declined. worth twelve deniers. 123–4. associated with fortune-seeking knights. coined money did not initially exist. 2 . but the concept of mercantile profit was only in an embryonic stage. Philip Grierson argues that this should not necessarily be construed as commerce.” pp. The scarcity of documents makes it difficult to speculate on exactly how much commerce occurred. in following centuries. although it has been debated how brusquely trade was reduced as the Germanic tribes invaded and the roman empire gave way to merovingian civilization. it had become too rare. pp. Esquisse d’une histoire monétaire de l’Europe.The desire For sPendinG moneY 121 this period such as avarice. gold ceased to be struck for coins. further demonstrate the complex set of desires related to personal disposable wealth and how contemporaries struggled to deal with them. but did not cease entirely. 55–73. one of the most prominent sins.” Purchase was not the “natural” way to furnish the necessities of life. which established a period of monetary uniformity around the ninth century. not gaining economic emancipation until the merovingian period. “commerce in the dark ages: a critique of the evidence. and its quality had been in decline since the fifth century in Gaul. and “gifts. pp. although under charlemagne there was a renewal of state-controlled public minting and the creation of a new counting system using deniers and sous. which brought economic collapse. 3 hunt and murray. When they were exchanged. 18–26. as he puts it. and aventure. arguing that after the barbarian invasions the occident remained under the economic dominance of the east. Tens of thousands of eleventh-century pennies from other lands have been found in scandinavia. 4 Grierson. the money supply gradually diminished in the occident. presenting great obstacles to the development or continuance of a fashion system. 123–40. coins and precious metals were hoarded as treasure. historians agree that coins became scarce. Money and its Use. Esquisse d’une histoire monétaire de l’Europe.5 over the course of the henri Pirenne opened the debate inadvertently in 1922. the larger sou (or sol). Grierson characterizes households across europe in these centuries as striving primarily to be self-sufficient.3 While archeological evidence testifies that coins did continue to exist and even to travel long distances. From hoards of treasure to price-consciousness Through the early and central middle ages. as marc Bloch observed.” pp. responsible for a significant portion of the goods moved.” through raids and pillage. city levies. it was in large quantities. spufford. 24. 5 Bloch. rather than engaging in what could be called “shopping. see Bloch. Grierson. ransoms. 7–32. and dowries. became virtually fictitious.

when some new silver came into circulation. 10 lopez. but competition for flamboyance at the courts was on the increase.” 7 6 . further aided by the return to the minting of gold in the 1250s. 99–103. 28. While coin payments were made to landlords in some regions at some times throughout the early and central middle ages. the currency norm was a range of silver penny coinages. pp.8 The twelfth century was an important period of transition. as improvements in agriculture gradually led to increased prosperity. as did the frequency with which they were employed relative to “in-kind” transactions. musset. vol.7 around 1060–1100. a century later. but also community groupings such as cities or courts large enough to constitute a stage for fashion’s theatrical displays (criterion 6). silver from mines in eastern europe began to satisfy the need. Nouvelle Histoire de la France. or even the new World infusions of metals in the sixteenth century. By the 1160s. hunt and murray. From the rural. L’ordre seigneurial. 109. and the estates had ceased to be appropriate production sites to meet such needs. 9 Baldwin. and fairs became essential. and in the early thirteenth century in the lands spufford.9 Towns. “Peuplement en bourgage et bourgs ruraux en normandie du Xe au Xiiie siècle. p.10 Peter spufford emphasizes how this renewal of the european metal supply around 1160–1330 produced greater economic transformations than did the saxon mining of the eleventh century. Baldwin observes that many of the archaic systems were still in place. dominique Barthélemy. 3. “Back to Gold. these local coinages had largely given way to the major interregional deniers parisis and tournois. as centers of specialized artisans and for the exchange of imported goods. 74–105. p. whose weight and purity varied significantly from one locality to the next. Aristocratic Life in Medieval France. pp. L’ordre seigneurial: XIe-XIIe siècle. but not to the point that trade was impeded by the weight of these exactions. dominique Bartélemy observes that it became habitual in documents of exchange to indicate the local provenance of the deniers involved. 1252. felt particularly acutely in the twelfth century. largely coinless society of the early middle ages. 113–14. 1200–1550. increased trade and crippling expenditures such as the crusades brought about a shortage of metal for coinage.” 8 Barthélemy. markets. involving negotiation between the local lord and merchants to establish limits on various types of taxation: lords could expect to profit from the protection they offered city dwellers. pp. XIe-XIIe siècle. city founding was a legal process.6 a fashion system requires not only trade in displayable goods and a population whose spending money enables them to make personal choices. there is a notable shift to from payments in goods or labor to cash payments and the notion of fief-rentes beginning in 1187 in Flanders. A History of Business in Medieval Europe.122 sarah-Grace heller tenth to the twelfth centuries. the creation of numerous cities in northern europe began in the tenth and eleventh centuries. Money and its Use.

”) marks are typical figures found in narratives. Polynices proposes to ransom himself for “ten thousand marks” (line 6435). heroic wealth is expressed in terms of gold and silver given as gifts (lines 87.and early thirteenth-century vernacular works with frequency. .12 The idea of rente. eight ounces to the livre’s sixteen.The desire For sPendinG moneY 123 of Philip augustus and in Germany. the armor of the hero’s opponent. pounds are used instead of marks. lines 601–4). Lais féeriques des XIIe et XIIIe siècles. it was backed by newly liberated quantities of ready cash arising from this revolution in rents.”) and a thousand (“. in the anonymous late twelfth-century Lai of Guigamor. based on the Theban legends of antiquity. “qui li donroit mil livres d’or” (whoever might give him a thousand pounds of gold. in L’Escoufle (1200–02). or very round sums. 60–5. in the Roman de Thèbes (c. a thousand pounds of gold is used to indicate an unimaginably large reward: there was no knight who would dare hunt the white boar. line 2696. The silk and gold hangings on a wonderful bed were worth “more than a hundred marks” in Le Bel Inconnu (c. Gontar de covelanche. L’Escoufle. p. particularly those which hearken back to earlier times. For example. 19. Le Roman de la violette. 20–61.c.11 as spufford says. then.” spufford.m. Gerbert de montreuil. 6448–55) or found in wondrous objects such as a chariot (lines 5042–175). of which there are repeated examples. “le rôle de la monnaie dans la révolution commerciale du Xiiie siècle. sweetser. 1185–95. mora-lebrun. line 2372). when the demand for luxury goods rose in the thirteenth century. but to similar hyperbolic effect.m. line 160). represented weight measures worth half a pound.13 at one point. 64–103.” and rides a horse whose harness and saddle were worth “mil livres cartrains” (a thousand pounds in the money of chartres. pp. was similarly worth a thousand marks. pp.15 in other examples. 1155–70).16 in the Lai of Graelent. Power and Profit. a hundred (“. While money amounts and the value of objects are mentioned in twelfth. Le Roman de Thèbes. micha. micha. xii. mars” (which was worth a thousand marks. Their use continued into the fourteenth 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 spufford.” in the twelfth century. the author describes a ring of an empress given as a sign of affection “qui vaut . is crucial for understanding the fashion-related economic and social changes of this period. pp. Lais féeriques des XIIe et XIIIe siècles. 1227–31).14 in the Roman de la Violette (c. an otherworldly lady wears a mantel “worth a castle. they are usually given in terms of metal.17 “marks.and early thirteenth-century French vernacular works. on date. Notions of great wealth The experience of the evolving monetary situation of the central middle ages is illustrated by the imprecise lexicon used in discussing wealth and transactions in many twelfth. line 8435).

88–90. 21 duparc-Quioc.22 18 spufford. The mark of the silver mining district of Freibourg set the standard. spufford. composed roughly at the time of the Third and Fourth crusades (1190–1212). note v. vol. Money and its Use. in contrast with those fictional “huge” sums such as a hundred or a thousand marks. 1: Édition du texte. however. pp. Thorp. 3478.5 marks in 1162. for 300 marks in 1171. progressively used alongside and then superceded by the gold florins. vol. left on the First crusade. 1: Édition du texte. 98–9. The one exception was rome. . 188–9. he had to sell his allodial estate. Chanson d’Antioche. and other new large gold coins. and was the major form of currency used at the champagne fairs.20 International exchange: in Saracen lands The crusades mobilized huge sums of money only to drain them from the european economy. along with the smaller deniers of Provins. odo of hellain for 5. Godfrey of Bouillon. where he exchanged a total of forty-four marks on five occasions. several levels of the economic experience of these excursions are represented in Graindor de douai’s narratives of the First crusade. 20 spufford.” pp. Les Chétifs. sums greater than fifty sous were expressed in marks. presumably staying longer and making more gifts or offerings. managing to raise 1300 marks of silver and 3 of gold. 19 spufford. Usually. ducats. duke of Brabant. but had to request aid from all the abbeys of his diocese in order to actually raise the amount. La Chanson d’Antioche. not having such wealth readily available to him. as in the narrative examples given above. 22 duparc-Quioc. Money and its Use. 360. 209–24. The Song of Antioch. myers. note v. 209–10. The Bishop of liège agreed to buy it. and would have been paid in silver (or occasionally gold) ingots rather than coin. “le rôle de la monnaie. La Chanson de Jérusalem. and one of the ways the difference between the accounts of richard [and] Graindor can be discerned is shifting price particularities. the exchanges were in round numbers. Money and its Use. the needs of the Bishop and his party were met by exchanges of two to five marks in each town.124 sarah-Grace heller century. pp.19 The mortgages taken by knights to finance their crusade pilgrimages also illustrate how sums of “hundreds” and “thousands” of marks should be understood as fantastic. spufford lists several lesser nobles who mortgaged their estates to local clerics for much smaller amounts: Baldwin of Ghent for 42 marks in the 1090s. Godfrey iii. but not always.21 The Antioch is purported to be based in part on a First crusade eyewitness account by one richard the Pilgrim. pp. Les Chétifs and the Song of Jerusalem. taking a supply of silver bars to convert into local currency as he traveled. When the future King of Jerusalem. 192. and p.18 spufford recounts how in the spring of 1204 Bishop Wolfger of Passau set out for rome. pp. 3399.

2: Étude critique. line 7699). 8127) or “or torsés” (twisted gold. which suggests that it reveals more about the mentalities of the early thirteenth than the early twelfth century. a petit pain (personal loaf of bread) was worth 9 bezants.” referring to the gold coins of Byzantium. for example in one verse referring to the capture of “.24 later. line 3759). That reference appears in a section where Graindor was composing on his own rather than following richard or a latin chronicler. locutions that demonstrate how the currency value of precious metals was conceived in terms of weight more than coinage. both entitled “nouvelles études sur la chanson d’antioche. lines 4526. duparc-Quioc.. a ransom of “. whereas it would only cost “sestier et demi a amiens” . [Antioche?] lines 397–9. The foreign unit of exchange most often used is the “bezant. They are also mentioned in terms of the number of beasts of burden required to transport the sum (“. vol. but also used generically to connote saracen money. bezans de l’or d’esclavonie” (a thousand bezants of slavic gold. When steven of Blois takes ill and 23 duparc-Quioc. Le cycle de la croisade. rather than ingots or metal in other more raw forms.m. [Antioche?] lines 3388. see also robert de clari’s chronicle of the Fourth crusade: during the siege of constantinople a measure of wheat cost 100 bezants. cargiés de bezans. When the pilgrims are starving. Jerusalem. Chanson d’Antioche. marks and pounds represent units of exchange that Graindor’s readers in northern France would have experienced on a daily basis. 192. a very different level of precision emerges. a donkey leg was worth 60 sous. a sum that while exaggerated in its vagueness also expresses a sense of the possibility of purchasing something with minted deniers. Antioche. as well as a complex mixture of currencies.The desire For sPendinG moneY 125 The major part of the attention given the work has been dedicated to its extensive use of realistic historical detail.Xv. or the amount of income the Turks offer Bohemond as a bribe (“mil bezans de rente. and a single denier bought 2 beans (lines 3481–4). another relatively imprecise unit. 5335–46). in contrast.m. like marks.23 crusading leaders concerned with large sums often speak in terms of “mars d’or pesés” (weighed marks of gold. 3390). bezants are often measured in even units of hundreds or thousands in the contexts of saracen wealth or desperate offerings to mohammed (for example. 1: Édition du texte. line 5514).. When the register of the Song of Antioch shifts from the political machinations of the great barons to a focus on the experience of the common crusaders. Chanson d’Antioche. mars d’or fin arabïant” (a thousand marks of fine arab gold. 4627. for instance “. a particularly fine battle horse is valued at more than “mil livres de deniers monées” (a thousand pounds in minted coins.” 24 see note. p. Antioche lines 4194. see also Paulin Paris’ articles. muls . roncis de bezans. marks could be similarly qualified to express distant exotic currency when the proper numismatic lexicon was lacking. vol. while a raw donkey thigh cost 100 sous.” fifteen mules loaded with bezants. [Antioche?] line 3315).iii. Antioche. duparc-Quioc.” [Antioche?] line 5802). and bread worth a bezant (lines 6984–7).” three packhorses of bezants.

a bargain that pleased him greatly (lines 517–30. as seen above. offers a different kind of narrative example illustrating the different operational conceptions of wealth held by different social groups. deniers de luke a cascun” (12 deniers of lucca to each. a moment demonstrating the use of one of the european penny coinages most often used on the crusade. it is added that the merchant took her to the emir in “Babylon” (cairo) and made a huge profit. portrays an early group of pilgrims taken captive at civetot and their adventures among wealthy saracens who need their heroic aid. The narrator underscores the girl’s attractiveness by the complexity of these mercantile earnings. the polyglot merchant trusted to sell Blanchefleur managed to trade her for thirty marks of gold. livestock. 2718). Esquisse d’une histoire monétaire de l’Europe. it is a fantasy depicting pagan wealth in very specific (a setier and a half in amiens).26 The metals in these passages are understood in terms of their weight. twenty purple mantels lined in vair. The frequent use of vocabulary specifying wealth. The king thinks in rounded terms rather than in more precise figures. it can be argued that they express desire for wealth. round sums. Le conte de Floire et Blancheflor. rather than a fluctuating value assigned to particular coins by the market.18–20. carefully calculated exchanges. as well as the complexities of international exchange. p. robert de clari. these passages suggest that on another level of society there was sensitivity to small. La Conquête de Constantinople. Floire et Blancheflor (c. 28. and a marvelous cup made by vulcan depicting the Trojan war (lines 437–512). twenty marks of silver. The narrator assures [the reader] that the king did not sell her because he coveted wealth: he would preferred to have her dead than gain 100 marks for her (lines 427–30). 25 leclanche. . exchanging her for seven times her weight in gold. a romance set in saracen realms. currency types. a mentality ancillary to a fashion system. 1147–60). he offers the poor men who carry him “. 26 Bloch. and pepper.126 sarah-Grace heller is carried in a litter. and prices in vernacular description suggests that these were considered important narrative details.Xii. including fabric. when he realized her departure has condemned his son to despair. intended to represent sums that would impress a king. twenty bliauts dyed dark purple-blue (pers). he would have given 1000 marks to have her back (line 1125). line 5637).25 The heroine is sold into slavery in the king’s attempt to separate her from his son. 100. The exchange also illustrates Bloch’s point that before the monetary transformations of the thirteenth century. metal was only one among many types of currency. Both a hundred marks and a thousand are vague indicators of large amounts of money. and also that they were significant preoccupations of the cultures producing and disseminating these stories. another of Graindor’s crusade poems. Les Chétifs. in contrast. twenty lengths of Beneventan silk. While Frankish knights and saracen rulers were represented as negotiating interchanges involving gigantic. 34. moreover. later. p.

31 money does not replace gifts so much as carve out a place for personal consumption alongside hierarchically determined bestowal. and serving ware. a rich tent. conditions had to be in place that would allow individuals to make their own consumer choices. items worn by the lord had greater value than anything new. Baudouin.” khil’at. vii–xviii. The miserable. and gold and white silver amounting to “. Aristocratic Life in Medieval France. tels .iiii.” as Baldwin and others have remarked.The desire For sPendinG moneY 127 terms. line 606). because gifted objects of conspicuous consumption do not reflect the personal. then a hundred. another. Through such gifts.27 Gifts versus shopping Before and during the development of the market economy in the high middle ages. receives “. and others have argued in the wake of the anthropological essay on the gift by marcel mauss. 29 Baldwin.c. The Gift. a horse. as Jacques Godbout. 30 heller. “largesse. a gift culture continues to flourish even today. receives a thousand lengths of silk.” (a thousand bezants. vins. heller. on the contrary. harpin de Bourges. in forms adapted to contemporary society. 28 27 . a packhorse to carry his equipment.28 in political sirventes poems.29 The present author has theorized that when a gift culture is the sole provider of new objects and ornaments one cannot really speak of a fashion system. impoverished prisoner richard goes from rags to silks when he agrees to fight as the disgraced saracen cormaran’s champion.m. Robes and Honor. 98–121. mil” (twenty thousand) bezants and also two horses and two mules for killing a demonic beast ravaging the desert (line 3645). another captive. poets propagandized generosity.” 31 mauss. tels . these knights were represented as gaining access to vestimentary splendor and improved social position. jewels. but rather the taste of the superior. mary douglas. then eighty. livres de fin argent fondu” (a thousand pounds of fine melted silver. The World of the Gift.XX. in order for a fashion system to come into being. and receives clothing from cormaran and his mother worth “. epics. lines 3847–55). arms. in the Persian-arab tradition of conferring “robes of honor. bezans. and thereby to a nascent dream of fashion. a gift culture provided the primary means of receiving new clothes and other objects of distinction such as horses.m.” see the essays in Gordon. pp. “Fashion in French crusade literature: desiring infidel Textiles. self-expressive choices of the wearer.30 Fashion systems do not eliminate gift systems. the present author has argued. pp. “Fashion in French crusade literature: desiring infidel Textiles. and creating plot structures permitting Frankish knights access to it. Godbout and caillé. Foreword by mary douglas. and romance prologues of the high middle ages. Worthy people received new – or often somewhat used – objects as signs of appreciation from superiors.

incidentally. serving in lieu of an estimation of his fortune in monetary terms. and thereby fashionable. heroes were represented as needing funds to outfit themselves according to their tastes and their social ambitions.32 That the overlord is arthur and not some lesser lord enhances erec’s social status. the first group positioned to become independent consumers was men. The text allows an individual or group to fantasize how. Guenevere agrees that enide’s noble lineage requires that she be better dressed. erec manipulates the gift system. Erec et Enide. line 6545. that is. later. This arthurian world is fantastic. how much an individual could afford to spend in a given year. no one has stepped up to mention the slight. they might shop for themselves. but they are not indications of income. if reality were different. despite the modern notion that shopping is a biologically feminine activity. how did the ambitious young hero finance his lifestyle? in the twelfth century. desire for change must be present to cause the actual marketplace to evolve. chrétien de Troyes makes a point of saying that erec held his lands from King arthur. the gift system is shown not functioning satisfactorily. which translates to a maximal abstract value as seen above. romances imagined fantasy strategies for realizing those monetary. “fresche et novele” (lines 1550–86). he simply goes to the Queen and demands that enide be outfitted by the Queen herself. where the king has been generous to all his men except the eponymous hero. to get new clothes. whom he has curiously neglected. 1165–70). When erec needs a new robe for his bride. since all the other knights are jealous of lanval’s looks. many are represented as dependent upon the generosity of a lord. needs. the courtly generosity of superiors suffices to satisfy the hero’s needs for consumption. in short. in that romance. Failure of the gift system in other texts. in Erec et Enide (c. the lord Guivret similarly has robes made for the couple when they stay at his tower (lines 5223–37). Furthermore. . Lanval opens at King arthur’s Pentecostal court. vast wealth. 1160–70) and a number of the anonymous lais with similar plots. the hero develops financial problems: 32 chrétien de Troyes. and immediately offers one of her own new gowns.128 sarah-Grace heller literature played a role in how this shift took place. How much money makes the man? Heroic income mentions of objects worth “a thousand marks” give an idea of great. For example. generosity and prowess (lines 5–26). such as marie de France’s lai Lanval (c. the servant declares it is worth a hundred silver marks (lines 1635–7). as a result. but it is noteworthy that this is a gift fantasy rather than a shopping fantasy.

The author highlights the mental as well as social toll that the financial difficulties take on the hero: “ore est lanval mult entrepris. in the Lai de Graelent. warning her listeners that they could easily find themselves in lanval’s place: seignur. de la maisniee le rei fu./ mult est dolenz. kar li reis rien ne li dona. where he does not know where to seek help. Lais de Marie de France. Far from any renewable resources he might have at home. lines 27–32. Lais de Marie de France. These representations are a significant critique of the gift system on their own. to that point that he must pawn his horse. nor did lanval ask anything of him. desconseilliez mult est dolenz en altre terre. effectively lowering his status from that of chevalier (lines 143–58). 33 34 35 marie de France. ne lanval ne li demanda. he was part of the king’s household. ne vus en merveilliez: huem estranges. Lais féeriques des XIIe et XIIIe siècles. mult est pensis” (now lanval is in a great predicament. knights had to go abroad to find courts like arthur’s where they might achieve glory and thereby grow rich. all his wealth had been spent. The status of these knights is further reduced in that they can neither shop for themselves. marie de France. but marie goes a step further. de halt parage. don’t be surprised: a stranger without resources has great trouble in a foreign land. . But he was far from his inherited lands. For the king gave him nothing. high born. micha. mes luin ert de sun heritage. but marie indicates that the system has broken down. lines 35–8.The desire For sPendinG moneY 129 Fiz a rei fu. caught in a Potiphar’s-wife style predicament.34 he is obliged to serve his king at war. lines 33–4). Tut sun aveir a despendu. but due to the queen’s slander. greatly pained and greatly worried. suffers a similar quandary. both in terms of his bloodlines and in terms of his courtly performance. arthur’s neglect is inexcusable: lanval is worthy to receive an income from the king. lanval can no longer maintain his status at court. quant il ne set u sucurs querre 35 my lords. pp. the king withholds his compensation. the hero. it is understood that to seek their fortunes. nor offer gifts to their companions to bind them in loyalty.33 he was son of a king. and Graelent spends so much that he becomes impoverished. 19–61.

line 33) and the present tense of her asides: chivalric economic woes are contemporary. The solution proposed is not necessarily a practical one from the standpoint of economic theory. Graelent seizes a lady’s clothing while she is bathing. doinst e despendre largement. as if love were not enough. telling him he can sell her valuable mantel for coins. The knights pledge to become amis to their ladies with the promise to keep the love secret. 223. if he just returns the chemise (lines 237–8). The Knight. were creations of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. in micha. Lais de Marie de France. he hardly refuses her coins later when they are offered without association with the marketplace. although he is offended that she ascribes him such mercantile motives. knights face the additional challenge of needing to obtain them without demeaning themselves by counting them. see also the Lai de Desiré. appreciating her fine figure. 249–52. These tales are laden with expressions of desire for personal consumption. Besides simply needing coins to finance their lifestyles. Georges duby has suggested that these fabulous creatures are probably best understood as substitutes for the knight’s lost mother. The economic critique they present is not merely incidental. the hangings of which are worth an entire castle (lines 97–106). and provide them with funds and thereby status. alexandrian purple clothing lined with ermine. it could be argued there is more mention of money in these tales than of mothers.37 The otherworldly lady intervenes to solve a contemporary problem. but a response to a significant social problem. while obviously part of a movement integrating folkloric tales and motifs into the more clerical literary culture.36 While such a psychoanalytic view is possible. take them as lovers. This supports laurence harf-lancner’s broad argument that the fées of this literature. lines 135–9. lines 161–4. provided that he spend it all generously: Un dun li a duné aprés: ja cele rien ne vuldra mes que il nen ait a sun talent. she turns the tables on his seizure. ele li trovera asez. . lanval’s lady stuns and seduces him with her soft. marie heightens the immediacy of the problem with the adverb “ore” (now. and also the need for a noble method of acquiring it. harf-lancner. Les fées au Moyen Age: Morgane et Mélusine.38 lanval’s lady offers him all the money he requires. marie de France. p.39 Then she gave him another gift: from then on he would have as much 36 37 38 39 duby. not problems of a distant past. and her bed. The Lady and The Priest. Lais féériques. these ladies additionally provide lavishly for their lovers’ chivalric spending habits.130 sarah-Grace heller This late twelfth-century text shows author and audience trying to imagine a new socio-economic system. but it is an attractive fantasy: wealthy and generous supernatural women fall in love with the impoverished heroes.

as well as enough to allow him to further extend his taste to gifts for his companions. What more perfect solution for the impoverished man of style? love provides all he could need to express his own taste. is left with 500 bezants of gold in her cradle for her upkeep (lines 490. the foundling heroine of Galeran de Bretagne (c. 988. new clothes make the man. a greater sense of specificity about prices and income emerges. her caretaker. and 9. once the vows are taken. the lady’s servants take lanval and outfit him with new clothes. or e argent” (coins and fine woolens. however. Graelent’s lady similarly provides “deniers e dras. The abbess. 7194) and an embroidered cloth which. . 1160–70). she will procure all that he needs. 1195– 1225). the essentials for participation in a nascent fashion system. has spent all the bezants by the time the girl is nubile.The desire For sPendinG moneY 131 as he could desire. assuring his social standing on three levels. The image-enhancement here associated with new clothing is central to fashion’s logic: the new seduces. The considerable increase in amplification on the practical matter of finances coincides with economic changes occurring over this period. Galeran de Bretagne. 6595). Besides giving him horses and settling all his debts (lines 347–94).40 written a generation later. she estimates to be worth from 60 to 100 marks (lines 3980–1. 3. such as increased use and availability of coins. but not enough for twenty years of expenses as well as a dowry. in short. line 306). The contrast may be observed in two versions of the tale of a noble twin girl left in an ash tree bough who falls in love with a prince. Le Frêne (c. it is specified simply that the girl was left wrapped in a rich medallion-patterned Byzantine silk with a ring weighing an ounce and containing a “jagonce” stone to finance her care (lines 121–31). Fresne. pleasing the generous lover as well as guaranteeing status at court. gold and silver. 4. We are given to understand that this is a noble amount of money. let him give and spend freely. and the possibility of expressing annual income needs in concrete monetary terms. From grand sums to urban accounts as the high middle ages progress. the effective way to imagine a man shopping for himself was to provide him with a wealthy fairy lover. The narrator remarks that these made him look much better. when she considers pawning it to finance her journey. like the “handsomest man in the world” (lines 173–6). at this point in the later twelfth century. more practical solutions were still to be worked out on the real economic level. This texts directly fantasizes fulfillment of fashion system criteria 1. in marie de France’s version. 40 renart.

or the King of scotland in Philippe de rémi’s La Manekine (1225–29). Bien en valoient li tassel. there was no hope of marriage. costly. mien escïent. exact income sums become frequently employed descriptive elements in character development. Le Roman de la Manekine: on date.42 Then Blonde was dressed: she had a well-cut cote of cloth of gold. The whole outfit was worth. 1176). fourteen marks. it was more beautiful than when i first described it earlier. 1230–43) is its very exact depiction of the importance of money. Galeran. lines 4711–15. 43 on Jehan’s strategic use of marriage customs to improve his status. the narrator very pragmatically observes that her set of clothes was worth fourteen marks. quant de li parlai./ Plus biaus que je ne devisai/ au premier. The heroine’s income is subordinate to the hero’s. et a son col mantel. This realistic cost-consciousness distinguishes the final wedding portrait of Blonde from other standard portraits of the genre. the portrait serves to advertise the improvement in Jehan’s status by his marriage.41 For the young noble hoping to inherit. income is not as important or treated with great detail when the hero of the romance is from the highest echelon of society. Gouttebroze. lines 4721–2) and in the portrait’s inventory of the wealth represented by her toilette. but not in a fantastic way. one of the most remarkable aspects of Jehan et Blonde (c. Philippe de rémi gives precise and unexaggerated figures.” now that [her hair] was all dressed. a landholder in Bretagne. 83–91. proposes a forest. Whereas many romance writers ornament such descriptions with similes amplifying the lady’s beauty (for Philippe de rémi. but when she was penniless.43 This is particularly evident both in the narrator’s comment on the improvement of Blonde’s beauty wrought by her hairdresser’s skill (“s’estoient ja tout entrataint. a thousand marks. Besides dwelling on her radiance. and three of his castles. 1209–28) or alexandre in Cligès (c. pp. Jehan et Blonde. in contrast with the “thousand marks” typical of earlier romances.132 sarah-Grace heller When Fresne and Galeran finally do marry. now count of Bretagne. in my estimation. however. atant fu Blonde apparillie: cote de drap d’or bien taillie avoit. “de la stratégie matrimoniale. quatorze mars. graciously refuses the dowry and proposes a dower instead (lines 7660–76). Philippe de rémi. and a mantel at her throat. narratively.” 42 41 . for her dowry her newly rediscovered father. for Galeran as for others such as the young emperors conrad in Guillaume de Dole (c.

Beyond the boasted expense in this example. i wager. lines 4716–19). exactly ten marks. ele eut ausmosniere et çainture. demonstrating the care with which the virtuous lord had to balance his attempts to win loyalty and his budget. pp. The count of oxford gives each of the twenty-four newly dubbed knights two hanaps or ornamented drinking cups. 35–6. in contrast with the fantastic. with pearls as big as peas. as one chose to use it) a centerpiece of the toilette. making spending money (or alms money. yet neither an astronomically mythical nor a vague one. whose work and presence at court is a sign of the couple’s new assets. qui la fist plus i mist d’un mois.The desire For sPendinG moneY 133 example.46 these bags foregrounded the possession of coins. en tant comme li siecles dure ne fust sa pareille trouvee: d’or et de pieres ert ouvree. boundless means facilitating the generosity of lanval and Graelent. colby. appearing in texts in the mid-twelfth century and in the iconography at the end of the century. it was worth a hundred pounds. Spending on companions There are many examples of cost-conscious generosity throughout Jehan et Blonde. pp. “mie plains de perece” (not lazy in the least. Blonde’s jeweled belt and bag were worth a hundred marks. and new fur-lined scarlet robes 44 45 46 alice m. the aumônière as a style is a highly significant accessory for this discussion of spending money.45 she had an alms purse and belt. Women’s Costume in French Texts. note that her bag was worth far more at a hundred pounds than her gown at fourteen marks. 23–88. mien essïent. carrying them in richly decorated pouches hanging from a belt at the front of the robe. whoever made it must have taken a month. Goddard. her hair is not fabulously golden or like a gleaming light: it was styled by a very skillful servant. Philippe de rémi. . The Portrait in Twelfth-Century French Literature. Jehan et Blonde. again a significant figure. a “throat as white as snow”). et de pelles gros comme pois. vaut. cent livres. lines 4731–7. never in the history of the age could anything like it be found: it was worked in gold and precious stones.44 Philippe de rémi focuses on the quality of workmanship that has contributed to producing her appearance.

Courtly Culture.47 Given this context. becoming a center for the distribution of fashionable goods. Postan. deniers (lines 1896–7)./ et chascuns de ses chevaliers/ li donna d’argent sis deniers. Graelent. a necessity given his father’s reduced income: “li quens douze esterlins li livre. when Jehan says to one of Gloucester’s men who was trying to take Blonde’s bridle and take her away. and each of his knights gave him six deniers of silver. in contrast with the unlimited budgets granted to lanval. 48 Zink. which demonstrates the power of largesse to improve a reputation in very short order. “vous mentés. 154–6. in Guillaume de Dole it is the budgetary parameters that are designed to represent impressive wealth. 63–4. lines 3664–8). and the generosity-based gift system regulates the mechanism of consumption. he earned 40 sous. and desiré. later.134 sarah-Grace heller (lines 5398–405. lueques ne fu pas robins fox. pp. note that cologne was gaining wealth in this period through the manufacture of cloth and metal goods and as intermediary between Flemish producers and the German markets. Roman rose et rose rouge. as michel Zink has oberved. 41–2. 47 . Jehan’s companion robin is disguised as a feverish man. he begs from Jehan’s rival’s men and manages to get exactly forty sous: a tidy income for a false beggar seeking to trick his “benefactor” out of an heiress. lines 4047–9). if you do not feel my sword i am not worth a penny. Jehan et Blonde depicts the importance of money for a young knight with a remarkable sensitivity to realistic detail. 19–44. all this exchange is shown as socially advantageous: both the young knights and the boatman mention their gratitude several times in fairly lengthy speeches. pp./ Ja ne me pris un denier” (You are lying./ Bien gaaigna quarante sols” (The count gave him twelve sterling. The Roman de la Rose ou Guillaume de Dole devotes a significant portion of its narrative to the system of euphoric generosity at the court of the emperor conrad. Yet the fantasy still involves dependence on a lord. it has a sting of double meaning. Heroic income The passages in Guillaume de Dole suggest an idea of how much cash was needed to finance a courtly event: several hundred to a thousand marks or pounds per special occasion. conrad offers Guillaume a thousand marks to spend and give however he likes for the tournament. pp. The text begins as Jehan is resolved to leave home to seek a fortune abroad.49 The romance constructs a fantasy of realistically hyperbolic wealth in a setting where it could be fashionably appreciated. Medieval Trade and Finance. in a clever moment. se vous m’espee ne sentés. robin was not a fool. 49 Bumke. 5618–19). the emperor gives the hero Guillaume de dole very specific sums when he comes to court – 500 livres couloignois (of cologne) all in coins.48 ostensibly to enable displays of liberality.

When. from which he would now rather be free.51 While still a fantasy economic scheme.52 The contemporary impossibility of such marriages supports the view that such stories represent social and economic fantasies. lines 91–4). he finds one in Blonde of oxford. Nouvelles courtoises occitanes et françaises. en sa joneche a fait despens Pour les tournois k’il maintenoit. Philippe is very specific that the king gave Jehan an income worth exactly six thousand pounds and more. méjean-Thiolier and notz-Grob. p. establishing a guarantee of Jehan’s status. whose small landholding was worth only 200 livres a year. bien portant. 94.50 his land income was 500 pounds a year if it were all free of debts and mortgages. he resembles the hero of Le vair palefroi (late thirteenth century). in this. dont or volentiers s’aquitoit. lines 59–64. The Knight. pp.” who had lands worth more than a thousand pounds a year. nothing more. moreover. 5011–16). it is interesting that this income (and this is only his French holdings) is more than twelve times that Philippe de rémi. at the end of Jehan et Blonde. 52 duby. bureaucratic guarantee of income was not necessary to the narration in earlier or more fantastic romances. the king gives him letters in which that was clearly spelled out and certified with the king’s own seal (lines 4979–95. This is certainly not enough money to even get him to his first tournament: he needs an heiress. this generosity is not left to vague description./ et un garçon qui le siura” (a sturdy horse. offering a distorted memory of an earlier reality./ et vint livres tant seulement. 51 50 . the lady and the Priest. marrying an heiress is a much more practical strategy than attracting a wealthy fairy. 504– 77. an attempt to dream a way out of spending requirements exceeding the ready supplies of cash. lines 72–88. duby suggests that the marriage-driven romances of this period reminded listeners of ancestors from a century and a half earlier. and successfully absconds with her.The desire For sPendinG moneY 135 Tere avoit bien cinc cens livrees. This kind of realistic. and a valet who would follow him. se toutes fuissent delivrees de detes et d’assenemens. in his youth he had made great expenditures on the tournaments he frequented. ensuring their financial viability. Jehan et Blonde. when marriage customs allowed marginalized sons the possibility of increasing their status by capturing an heiress. sans plus.” daughter of a “prince vaillant. his beloved was a “tres haute damoisele. and only twenty pounds. When Jehan leaves he takes only “Un cheval. but fortunately. happily. King louis makes Jehan a knight and elevates the dammartin lands to the level of a county.

men not expected to live as knights. Income and changing clothes Jehan put his faith in the signs of the increasing royal bureaucracy: the king’s official sealed letters. a fair amount has been made in the scholarship on this poem of the fact that Philippe de remi was a royal bailli. ou de plus. Un roman à découvrir. and the same for the women]. . an administrator of the crown. ou li bannerets pourra avoir trois paires de robes par an.136 sarah-Grace heller of Jehan’s indebted father. and no more. pourront faire quatre robes par an. who would have had to divide his aforementioned 500 pounds between two daughters and four sons. 5529–35. barons having six thousand pounds of land [rent] or more will be allowed to make four robes a year. sets of gowns and mantels) per year: 4. 2. in thanks for helping his daughter the count of oxford gives him enough to retire: fifty marks was enough to give him a comfortable living (lines 5472–87. a knight who has three thousand pounds of land [rent] or more. [item. 697–700. counts.” 54 Jourdan. and further. in order to gain the loyalty of the boatman who helps the escaping couple cross the channel ahead of the rival fiancé. li duc. et non plus.54 Before his marriage and impressing the king. the specific sum of six thousand pounds in annual rente is particularly of interest because it is the income threshold given in the royal sumptuary law of 1294 at which nobles were allowed to have the greatest number of sumptuous clothing changes (four fur-lined robes. could live comfortably on much less. li baron de six mille livres de terre. with the heavy equipment and social expenses that entailed. [item. et les femmes autant. decrusy. Recueil général des anciennes lois françaises. in contrast.53 autobiographical details aside. et sera l’une de ces trois robes pour esté. li comte. Jehan would not even have qualified to have three changes of clothes per year: 8. may have three pairs of robes a year. “Fin’amor et arrivisme dans le roman de Jehan et Blonde. et non plus. 53 see the essays in dufournet. and isambert. ou li bannerets pourra avoir trois paires de robes par an. or a banneret may have three pairs of robes a year. ou plus. item. Jehan pays him well. Bastide. item. dukes. vol. 5625–8). and no more. and one of these three robes will be for summer]. pp. or a baronet. chevaliers qui aura trois mille livres de terre.

et autras . but not sufficient for a full new set of robes. give him ten marks.m. with the forty sous he tricked out of his rival Gloucester while disguised as a beggar. . obliged to wear only moderately priced fabrics: 19. [squires. it is worth cautioning that currencies were fluctuating at this time. at that rate. marcs li done[t] l’emperaires.Xvii. le duc sos oncles l’adobet. dia. ans et . as the heroine Flamenca’s marriage is being arranged. give him ten (lines 131–2). le coms de Bleis.dXX. her brother discusses the state of the family finances with her father. Flamenca. l’en det sos fraires. But the importance of establishing and being known to have an income of so many thousand pounds can be seen in both literary and documentary sources. bannerets or castellans will not be allowed to have robes having greater worth than fifteen sous tournois of Paris].m. liuras li det. marcs d’esterlins. .m. 1260–80). . det l’en le reis.i. lines 1639–50. liberality is depicted in realistic and specific terms similar to those found in Jehan et Blonde. (who are) sons of barons.s poc perdre nulla guiza.m. whoever asks for five. the threshold given in the law of Philippe iii was seven thousand pounds of annual income for four fur-lined robes a year. non avia mas . and moreover that Jehan et Blonde was composed about a generation before these laws appear. le reis engles fo sos cosins.ccc.The desire For sPendinG moneY 137 he would have been relegated to the category of squires and sons of knights. 55 huchet.m. les escuiers.55 When he was made a knight he was only a day older than seventeen. and they agree that there is enough in the treasury to fund the wedding in style – there is more than would be depleted in five years (lines 106–18). The father instructs him to be generous to increase his reputation: whoever asks you for a hundred sous. The specific contours of the hero Guillem’s fortune are laid out in even more explicit terms. fils de barons. Quant fon cavalliers. Tot aiso fon de rend’acisa que no. . e . et autras . he might have been able to afford almost three aunes of wool cloth. e . in 1279.m. which Jehan might have still been able to afford with his english possessions. et chastelains ne pourront avoir robes de plus grand pris de quinze sols tournois de Paris. banerets. e det li . possibly enough for a pair of chausses or a surcoat. in Flamenca (c.

With the promise of guaranteed rents and the illustriousness of the contributors. outside the scenes of thrilling deeds. more favorable portrayals of consumption and its exigencies. had depleted traditional fortunes and forced into existence a new mode of manly thinking.138 sarah-Grace heller his uncle the duke dubbed him. 3641. 3613. Guillaume. These critiques of ostentatious living offer further suggestion of fashion’s presence. with all his largesse. the poorly clad state of enide is blamed directly on the expenses her father incurred in tournaments. 3731). and the count of Blois another 1000. forcing him to mortgage and sell his goods and land (lines 510–20). to be envied by readers. trade. one that carefully tallied prices and necessary expenditures. from the last third of the twelfth century and later. and technology opened up in the twelfth century. following criterion 8. his brother gave him 1. as markets. this is a fantasy fortune. Guillem. and indeed he dressed in such a manner. lines 3594. however. his lord’s nephew. the specificity of the conditions of the fortune suggests a reluctance to accept vague descriptions of “untold” riches.300. The first burst of fashionable spending. his is not fole largesse. all of it was in rent and could not be lost in any way. and the narrator’s command to poor young knights to go abroad to seek their fortunes (lines 1–48). The nascent fashion system necessitated new. consumption and accounting become less venal at the hands of the heroic lover. The english king was his cousin.700 pounds. many works also show signs that young nobles were feeling the consequences of the social pressure to consume. . seven thousand pounds in guaranteed rent per year would place him in the highest income category specified by the sumptuary laws. and the king gave him another 1000. the emperor gave him 1000 marks. for example. The case against avarice and covetousness: cautioning the spendthrifts romances in the style of chrétien de Troyes. he gave him 1. glorified tournaments and other public spectacles of liberal spending and competitive consumption. The fabliau villain Trubert preys on a knight. Jehan et Blonde opens with the picture of the dire straits in which Jehan’s father’s tournament spending has left his sons (lines 49–82). but rather an efficiently reckoned purchase of attention and devotion. is shown in many episodes as reckoning very carefully the worth of all the gifts he gives to his hosts and companions (see. and he gave him 1000 pounds sterling. in Erec et Enide. Knights – and readers – were watching their incomes in order to be able to keep up appearances.

mais or nel fait l’en mais. and horses (lines 1107–24). if let run rampant. with varying levels of humor and invective. although writers such as Jehan huizinga have noted an intense awareness of greed and avarice in the context of the new money economy of the later middle ages. and the bankruptcy of those whose noble lineage is at odds with their financial possibilities. the denunciation of avarice was 56 heller. excessive Generosity offers the lover an easier but ultimately more costly manner of “taking the castle” of Jealousy guarding the rose than the traditional military tactics ami recommends./ a conveitise l’ont torné li malvais. The vernacular literature. pillage. showing desire for wealth and the attendant power on the part of those involved in judicial activities rather than desire for new clothes or displayable trappings. blaming the loss of rule of law on coveting: “lors fist l’en dreit. whose contests eliminated all but the best contestants and left all others naked. overriding the awareness that making one’s living at tournaments. Le Couronnement de Louis (c. one noble young spendthrift willingly becomes the kept man of the figure of richece in order to maintain his taste for fine clothes.” . Trubert gives him fine clothes. The insistence on the need to consider the long-term consequences of consumption suggests that the caution needed constant repetition: for many. in Guillaume de lorris’ Roman de la Rose. but now it never is. in one early example. This is hardly a fashionable kind of covetousness. and also that the economic system lagged behind the need for expenditure. between the necessity of display and gifts and the consequences of consumption. evil people have debased it with their covetousness. it was a vice liable to cause social ruin. is held up in many texts of this period as a desire that ought to be repressed. or become traitorous by the lure of muslim riches. in different critiques of the nascent fashion system that equally reveal the appeal of the system. lines 7855–930) illustrates allegorically the difficult choices offered the socially conscious. deceitful bribes have overcome true justice. could not be a viable economic pursuit for the majority. There is often a direct link drawn between vestimentary and other types of display expenditure. / Por fals loiers remainent li buen plait” (in those days the law was upheld. spending was an urgent investment in personal status. The critiques reveal that ostentatious expenditure was seen as effective for gaining social standing. sins which would lose their primacy in later centuries as they became accepted realities of capitalist culture.56 covetousness and avarice are frequently invoked in nostalgic laments for a more golden age. as was the case among the Franks on the First crusade who were tempted to rape. lines 34–6). portrays the high stakes involved in the desire for impressive social consumption. “Fashion in French crusade literature: desiring infidel Textiles. convoitise. shoes. which lead to his death (lines 1539–647).The desire For sPendinG moneY 139 who was left naked and squireless by tournaments. covetousness. 1133– 66) opens on a tone of regret for the better days of charlemagne’s reign at aix. Jean de meun’s representation of the “chemin de Trop donner” (Path of excessive Generosity.

obsessed with buried piles of money. and honesty. or similar fashionable repercussions. hilary of Poitiers portrays a miser who fears only the loss of money. newhauser. p. 16–17. established homiletic tradition. arnobius the elder castigates the miser for litigating against friends and practising usury. and monastic writers both east and West in the early middle ages. waiting ten years or more in matted old sheepskin instead of the vair furs hanging on the pole. encouraging the pagan forces of destruction.ns amaran enan d’u mes e planeran so ques aun ara despendut. 32. anxiety centers less on the hoarding miser (although the figure in the Rose does clearly hoard) than the regrets of the spendthrift. in which the figure refused to wear her new clothes before the old ones wore out.59 only Gregory of nyssa (335–94). in which the usurer is shown setting a table without enough provisions.58 in contrast with the portrait of avarice in the Roman de la Rose of Guillaume de lorris discussed in chapter four. 25–6. que fas? vezes los be ballar e danzar antre se? oi! oi! tot caira lur burban! Ges quec jorn non er sanz Johans. newhauser. not changing his clothes when necessary. The Early History of Greed. it was considered one of the foremost sins and a significant threat to the social order among the thinkers of the early church. The Early History of Greed. domna. pp. pp. a writer of cappadocia in eastern christendom. notably. newhauser argues that avarice was poised to take on its later importance in the centuries of nascent capitalism because of the ample. not granting his children the bare minimum to make their way in life. huchet.60 For the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. cobezesa says. presents a portrait comparable to that of the Roman de la Rose. mais tal n’i a que. religion. The Autumn of the Middle Ages.140 sarah-Grace heller hardly new. 75. most of the ecclesiastically-produced portraits of avarice from late antiquity and the early middle ages do not focus on the vestimentary effects of the vice. newhauser. maximus of Turin castigates his avaricious citizens for buying booty from the invading Germanic tribes. cyprian shows the avaricious miser fearing robbers. and. lines 753–61. oblivious to friendship.61 57 58 59 60 61 huizinga. reflecting the changing concerns of the times. representations of avarice then evolved through the high and late medieval periods. .57 as richard newhauser shows in his Early History of Greed. The author of Flamenca stages an allegorical conversation between avoleza (lowness or vulgarity) and cobezesa (covetousness) during the wedding festivities. Flamenca. sadol so e trepon aora: so qu’il despendon autre plora. The Early History of Greed. reflecting an age of cataclysmic social disruption.

62 Étienne particularly focuses on avarice and covetousness as key problem areas with all but the peasants and women. 1174–78). Bishops should not value deniers and rents over good judgment (lines 293–6. the earliest extant example of the genre of estates literature (c.The desire For sPendinG moneY 141 lady. chascuns deit esmer et entendre combien se pout sa rente estendre. The archbishops seem to be particularly prone to covetous spending. shows the underbelly of the growing need for courtly ostentation: the darker consequences of fashionable spending. and preventing wars due to coveting land (lines 93–6). But there are those who will love us in a month and regret what they have spent now. like other examples in this chapter. lines 433–4. when they should instead be educating clerics to the extent that their incomes allow (lines 421–28). 62 63 Étienne de Fougères. 629–32). segunt ce deit metre et despendre. similar advice is given to cardinals (lines 517–24). and diminished social status. Qu’il n’enprunt qu’il ne peise rendre. Kings are cautioned against avarice and “envie” in relation to preventing judicial corruption (lines 57–60). as he warns them not to borrow money to keep impressive horses (lines 413–14). in Étienne’s view.. Today they drink and are merry: what one spends another will weep for. . From that emphasis on consumption among archbishops.. The narrator cynically observes how extravagance debases even merry and noble folks. rather than women. hom mesurez s’en geite et oste . Knights should not neglect churches and almsgiving out of desire to spend their rents on themselves (lines 545–52. what are you doing? do you see them dancing round all together? ah! all their show will soon vanish! not every day is the feast of saint John. addresses six different social stations.. a moderate man rejects and resists it . Le Livre des manières. 313–16). further support for the contention that noble and clerical men were the primary fashion consumers in this period. turning them from their noble ideals and carefree spending towards want. This passage. Étienne de Fougères’ Livre des manières. 437–40. Étienne moves to generalize more broadly about spending in a passage worth examining in closer detail: Bobanz de secle est chose enposte. Bourgeois merchants and minstrels should avoid the temptations of usury and false dealings motivated by covetousness (lines 805–52).. Étienne de Fougères.63 Worldly ostentation is a deceitful thing. Le Livre des manières. poverty.

its colorful description of manners and objects from daily life. he contrasts it with the “national epic” genre by. one present in many works. l’Escoufle. but they do reflect a different – and expanding – set of options for sin and social troubles. . in his study of medieval vocabulary.” matoré. he believed these details were designed to attract a growing feminine readership. as was the manipulation of rents and credit in order to facilitate it. but with the need to learn moderation in acquisition and spending. only a handful of times in chrétien’s romances. The “new” vices of the high middle ages. who on the contrary might read it as the banal sort of lecture children get when asking for an increased allowance. Paris passed over the contradiction that while his term “roman d’aventure” is never used to designate 64 65 Paris. Le vocabulaire et la société médiévale. a contention open to debate given that men were more engaged in spending than women. a fantastic fiction without historical pretensions. magical quests in the style of chrétien de Troyes. men’s fashionable spending was becoming an important temptation. such as avarice and coveting. both Paris and matoré struggle with the correspondence between actual word use and the genre they each delimit. an important descriptor in general for this literature. “Études sur la litterature du moyen age: le roman d’aventure. Aventure another key term for the discussion of representations of spending money in the vernacular literature of the long thirteenth century is aventure.” Paris limited the genre to plots involving fortuitous events. are not really new at all. in keeping with the modern sense of the word “adventure. thus he must portion and spend it.142 sarah-Grace heller everyone must estimate and reckon how far he can stretch his income. Floire et Blancheflor. not borrowing more than he can repay such advice will hardly seem revolutionary to the modern reader. and Galeran de Bretagne in his classification of the “roman d’aventure. This treatise suggests a society where the key vices were not those associated with hoarding. 185–7. among other things. however.64 Georges matoré. these practical words mark a departure from the virtue of generosity necessary in a gift culture where personal spending is not possible. pp. similarly limits the word to the deeds of errant knights “seeking adventure” in fantastic. yet one whose varied meanings have proven difficult to fully comprehend.” which he defined as a narration whose main subject was love. the Roman de la Violette. Gaston Paris included works such as Jehan et Blonde. Étienne’s insistence on limiting the recourse to credit is an alltoo-modern theme.65 however. matoré found it astonishing that the word was used so infrequently. many of the texts discussed in this chapter have been associated with aventure.

and that such tensions were probably due to the rapid monetary evolution of the late twelfth century. “Quand l’histoire des idées s’aventure.67 michael nerlich has critiqued the narrow field matoré. following hegel’s interpretation of romantic art as representing a struggle between the individual and society. taxes.” connoting an expected yield of agricultural produce. they transport merchandise by sea and by land . and adolf Tobler and erhard lommatzsch to draw attention to the far wider scope aventure held before what he calls the “ideology of adventure” caused an irreparable shift in understanding. Poésies. pau sont asseurées” (merchants adventure through lands and countries. “Quand l’histoire des idées s’aventure. 83–5. especially with regard to its economic associations..” 68 nerlich. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française..68 Those philological works show the most common uses of the word to have pertained to the realm of finance and mercantile speculation. For instance. erich Köhler studied aventure as a key element of the individual knight’s search for identity. from which chivalric literature emerged. lais. that the word deserves reconsideration. pp.66 Philippe ménard saw in the term a crucial and “immense” problematic for understanding arthurian literature. and ménard assign to the word. where aventure would signify the knight’s struggle against the magical forces that constantly trouble his world and his quest for happiness.71 Aventure should be understood as part of the social and economic changes of the burgeoning fashion system. returning to the dictionaries of Friedrich diez. L’aventure chevalresque. rather than daring deeds or unexpected events.The desire For sPendinG moneY 143 the kind of romance he describes. ménard did recognize the existence of certain economical and commercial senses of the word. Frédéric Godefroy. the term aventure appears in connection with genres he excludes from adventure. a second definition is “produit éventuel.. Tous temps sont en peril.” 70 “c’est des marchéans. Köhler recognized that economic tensions between different ranks of nobles and their incomes existed within the chivalric world.v. 67 66 . s. ménard. Köhler. “Problématique de l’aventure dans les romans de la table ronde. they are in peril at all times. and fabliaux.” 69 Godefroy. 71 Köhler. and payments.” p. 2. 57./ Par mer sont et par tiere marchandises menées . 77–102. connoting the efforts and risks undertaken by a character in need of economic gain that would allow him to become a functioning consumer. Texts labeling themselves aventures Köhler.70 The present author would argue.. but does not reflect their connection to arthurian literature. as Gilles le muisis explains in the mid-fourteenth century: “marchéans s’aventurent par pays.” with seven examples employing the legal language of monetary land rights.” Gilles li muisis. Godefroy’s primary definition for the word is “droit éventuel. after nerlich. L’aventure chevalresque.69 The word was also associated with the risky. emile littré. Wilhelm meyer-lübke. with little security). “aventure. long-distance investment ventures of merchants. 350. and interpreted it as associated with peril and chance. see also nerlich. vol. par contrées. Walther von Wartburg. such as chansons de geste. pp. p.

“The other worlds of romance. not only does marie de France imagine lanval’s difficult financial situation and a solution for it. constructed on a verbal structure connoting futurity.75 a new substantive for new situations. 118–20. “l’autre monde celtique et l’élément chrétien dans les lais anonymes. stanesco.” pp. line 1)” rather than an ancient story the author knows. p. and emotional support in order to function in fashionable court society. social.” Burgess. it bespeaks hope for improved conditions. Paris and others have concentrated on how aventure involves love and marriage. marriage to a lady of superior rank also provides wealth. respectively).74 Beyond the topoi of courtly fiction. as generally occurs among the others. p. to the way that it is identified as “l’aventure d’un autre lai (the aventure of another lai. but in the case of many of these stories. it was the creation of the youthful French language. where the word is less associated with the marvelous and more with the means of gaining a fortune. . there are suggestions of a reality in which knights and poets alike held precarious financial positions in a system poised between a gift economy dependent on the largesse of lords. 55.1180). michel stanesco observes that aventure derives from the future participle of the latin verb advenire. examined earlier). as Glyn Burgess has noted. distorting the term’s use among a variety of contemporary genres. in opposition to the adulterous situations of courtly love. as Jeff rider has observed. 20. in short. and improved appearance. de caluwé. they become part of the creation and perpetuation of the fashion system. Girart de Vienne (c.73 This is not the only desire that “aventures” fulfill: marriage might provide love and a legitimate outlet for sexuality. but rather than being a prominent feature of classical latin. in this case arthur’s lapse of benevolence. and when she includes “dressing the jongleurs” among the manifestations of his generosity (line 211). and Jacques de caluwé has similarly concentrated on how stories such as these anonymous lais feature the realization of the eternal desire to find pleasure without sin in sexuality. from the central character’s oddly unidentifiable name. as such. The Lais of Marie de France. Lanval is exceptional among marie’s Lais. Graelent and Desiré are similarly termed aventures (line 1 and line 2. she figures her persona in it as another kind of courtly figure in need of recognition and ultimately. Lanval is an excellent example of how some romances used otherworldly interventions to bring to light faults in the society in need of correction. The chivalric romance tradition has received the lion’s share of attention with regard to aventure. and a new economy requiring personal coin income. remuneration. it seems she identifies with lanval.72 i would go further to say that these are aventures partly because they represent impoverished knights in need of financial. increased status. both when she warns her audience that they could easily fall victim to lanval’s difficult financial situation in a foreign land (lines 35–8. a chanson de geste 72 73 74 75 rider. D’armes et d’amours.144 sarah-Grace heller feature fictional attempts to solve the social problem of the need for spending money and the displayable products it affords.

a point when it can be read in light of an established fashion system. The painter asks for three sous. . never chiding them for the moral misdeeds of theft and murder. The fabliau opens on this tone of ridiculously bad bargaining skills. and three lances and shields (lines 118–27). in search of gain by all fraudulent means possible. From there. for a price of five sous. which is to say five sous (lines 97–115). explaining that five sous is not fifteen-twenty but three-twenty (five times twelve is sixty). offers ten for it. “par aventure guile.The desire For sPendinG moneY 145 described as an aventure. The new wealth allows the young men to leave to “seek honor” (and their fortunes) by conquering foreign countries (lines 299–303). they strike him dead and bring home the wealth. lines 280–1). with his goat. seeing the heifer is worth twenty sous. but he is also a deceitful adventurer. When her 76 77 Bertrand de Bar-sur-aube.” a curious adverbial locution that encapsulates the contradictions of this character: he appears to be accidentally guileful. an even more morally questionable but profitable form of aventure is found in Trubert.” sexual favors which the lady initially refuses. he has his goat polychromed. one charger. admiring the work of a painter. as such. a fabliau from the second half of the thirteenth century. this family blames their poverty on the persecutions of the evil saracen king sinagon (lines 150–8). The seller kindly helps him with his addition. (lines 107. which the naïve and inexperienced Trubert readily accepts (lines 34–43).76 in contrast with the conscientious narrator of Jehan et Blonde who cautions against impoverishment due to tournament spending. the antithesis of spendthrift knights as well as economically savvy bourgeois merchants.77 The peasant Trubert represents an anti-hero. and spying a merchant’s treasure-laden mules. Their father embraces them for the good deed. Trubert realizes that his badly dressed sister has no chance of marriage unless she has a pelisse (lines 22–5). 323). When the duchess of Burgundy admires the goat and wishes to buy it. he names a price of five sous – not calculating the goat’s embellishment in its value – but additionally asks for “un foutre. The boys go out exploring one day with the aforementioned spears and shields. so he goes to market to sell a heifer to furnish her wardrobe. Trubert. but Trubert again proves his poor mathematical skills by paying him three-times-twenty deniers. which are not mentioned. dwelling in a fortress reduced to a single mule. The monetary gain of the first aventure. later to grant. Trubert makes his way into the city. the story critiques the fashion system that was in place. the seizure of the merchandise. he gives thanks to God. takes a wife who is his social superior – the daughter of a duke – and brings forth a dynasty of heroes (lines 322–9). douin de lavesne. leads on to further aventure as the hero conquers lands. Girart de Vienne. Trubert then sees a goat he desires. opens on the portrait of an impoverished noble family. a butcher. They have only a loaf of bread to share between them and no salted meat or wine. which has made the family “menant et asazee/ de bons deniers et de meinte denree” (well off and wealthy in good coins and merchandise.

offering him new robes and a luxurious bedchamber (“bele et cointe”) whose comfortable bed gives the vilain insomnia (lines 568–93).” and its humor plays on the coping skills required in both handling money and appreciating it. Trubert is a sinisterly comic inversion of a chivalric “adventure. Trubert is impervious to fashion. 78 Kibler and suard. and initiating him into a perverse means of profit: defrauding his noble lord. in exchange for service at court on three holidays and military service when requested by sealed letters (“per saiaus et per brief. creating multiple worthy but dispossessed characters. relating how since he has lost his lands he must seek his fortune (“aventure quere. and greater and greater financial gain. inheriting his father’s status as one the of the twelve “peers” of France. and because in his guile he elects to subvert the fashion system. yet is able par aventure quickly to learn the guile to amass significant wealth. Huon de Bordeaux. which charlemagne vows to increase by two thousand pounds (lines 486–8) if huon comes to the Paris court to bring tribute in recognition of the inherited fief. he lacks the basic arithmetic to survive among crafty merchants. Trubert is an anti-hero because he amasses wealth easily in a world where many of his more ostensibly deserving social superiors had difficulty doing that. involving disguises. is promised rentes of three thousand pounds a year by charlemagne. and of the economic tensions that have been the focus of this chapter. . huon incurs charlemagne’s anger and is exiled. his friends helped restore his lands and wealth to him (lines 2671–6). Trubert’s vendetta against the duke begins when. but when the duke died.78 The orphaned huon.” line 2666) he meets a prince who tells him a belle aventure of how his duke banished him from his lands when he killed a noble.146 sarah-Grace heller husband returns. but a story of a lost fortune regained. along his way. leaving him free to sell his goat a second time to the cuckolded duke. far across the red sea. who assist one another in regaining social and economic standing. clothing. The chanson de geste known as Huon de Bordeaux (c. Through the machinations of the treacherous amaury. rendering meaningless the ostentatious trappings of status (polychrome. disguised as a carpenter. she quickly turns Trubert out with his goat and a chest containing at least ten pounds of Paris and chartres coins (lines 209–16). victims of a precarious system of income distribution. gratuitous violence. bed) by not following the social imperative to admire and covet them. he is entertained by the duke at the castle.” lines 301–3). 1260–68) serves as an excellent example both of possible profit-related connotations of aventure. The aventure in this passage is not a magical quest. allowed to return only upon fulfilling an impossible mission to the emir Gaudisse. coveting comically obscure things that refute the logic of social imitation of criterion 3. numerous further schemes ensue. it calls for audience sympathies similar to those evoked in Lanval. The humor depends on an audience that can imagine a character rural and sheltered enough to be immune the urban world’s temptations to consume.

in later periods. especially inasmuch as these texts neither depict nor are explicitly directed towards one particular class. 140.” p. auberon the fairy befriends him and gives him a number of magic objects that huon realizes will prove useful tools in achieving further good fortune. however. the texts considered in this chapter should suggest that price-consciousness and consumption were not limited to romance. “’Jean de meung. huon pronounces this meeting and these gifts a “belle aventure” (line 3817). scholars such as mario Bastide and Faith lyons saw price-consciousness and attention to details of consumption as part of the enbourgeoisement of romance. it would be easy to read such statements in terms of a modern understanding of the adventure genre. or worse. Les éléments descriptifs dans le roman d’aventure. conspicuous consumption and theatricality.” but in suggesting that “the caroling women of the thirteenth century bear a strange resemblance to the corybants of the fourth.” 79 . and standing. once it has become common. the notion of a growing fashion system better accounts for what was going on in passages showing concern for spending and display. p. speaking of money becomes banal. in place of the “enbourgeoisement” theory.’ antifeminism and ‘Bourgeois realism’. huon. They reflect fashion’s logic of competitive. 8. Aventure can connote a broad variety of tools. The term “bourgeois realism” is inappropriate. economy plays an important role in the fantasies that these texts offer. referring to incredible challenges and adrenaline-producing trials. “Fin’amor et arrivisme dans le roman de Jehan et Blonde. taboo for anyone aspiring to the higher classes. here fantasies of spending money are far from banal: these texts represent an attempt to work out a new kind of life for a new kind of hero. and events that promise future spending money. 80 lionel J. moreover. status. Bastide. The desire to spend on up-to-the-moment display. lyons. is no glutton for punishment.79 lionel Friedman criticized the commonplace treatment of the Roman de la Rose which classifies the misogynist discourses of ami and la vieille as “bourgeois realism.” 80 he passed over the amplifications and particularly the costconsciousness that sets these scenes in the Rose apart from patristic antifeminist writings. Friedman. 4736). a fortuitous gain. but rather as issues of emerging social tensions are the focus of narrative experiments across a variety of genres. emerge from several status groups. and anxiety about the consequences of excessive spending and extravagant display. The only aventure he seeks is an income and a place in his culture of origin. The challenges make him break down and weep. experiences.The desire For sPendinG moneY 147 huon explains several times that the only reason he left France was to seek “aventure” (lines 4637.

This chapter will compare anecdotes of acquisition in vernacular literature with documents such as tax and métier (craft organization) records to show some of the facets of medieval “shopping. Le Roman du Castelain de Couci. But crucial to a fashion system is an economy where it is possible for more than just a narrow elite to consume new things expressive of personal tastes on a regular basis. and select all the most handsome ones. an activity expressed using a causative construction that suggests we should not imagine “window shopping” but rather a process of ordering garments through various artisans. in a fashion system. lines 6648–51.” The former provide representations of various types of consumers. when desire for them is in evidence? although characters rarely “go shopping” in medieval French romances. economic and social structures must be in place to permit and promote the frequent acquisition of new things. The used clothing system (freperie) provided valuable services to patrons of all ranks. . how and where did one get new clothes in the thirteenth century. as discussed in the previous chapter. while the latter can offer an impression of the other side of shopping. now she has all she desired: there she will be able to see his jewels. But fashion systems function both at the macro-economic and personal levels. When new things are required characters often “have them made” (fet faire). Then she leads him straight into her chambers. converting clothing into cash as well as supplying “ready-made” garments.6 The development of shopping Lors l’enmainne en sa cambre droit. the acquisition of new garments by gift is a common element from the earliest vernacular works. that of the purveyors. Ore a tou cou que desiroit: La pora veïr ses juiaus Et eslire tous les plus biaus. how does a system for acquiring new things come about in a nascent fashion system? French vernacular literature sets up many situations in which new clothes are admired or received.

They entrust selection to the hermit. or members of the bourgeoisie. innovation belonged to the elite. scarlet woolens. 179. The use of disguises is a common trope of the alexander material. but rather than do so directly he disguises himself as a chambellan. The process of choice. The noble protagonists do not deal with money. in the Roman d’Alexandre (after 1180). nor do they select their own clothes. although the criteria for a fashion system emphasize personal choice. on the contrary. but the details offered in this particular case are 1 2 Boucher. and bargains skillfully (“tant achate/ et tant acroit et tant barate. and imitation is more complex than the top-down formula allows. 1155–87?) provides one of the earliest vernacular images of shopping. Payen. Burghers imitated the courtly nobility. 20. cloth of silk and dark purple. apparently seeing that it was the necessary thing to do. . and eventually urban trends penetrated the countryside. costumer. in this case the sympathetic hermit ogrin. lines 1518–19). his shopping for her is a satisfying political and pious act. done not by the protagonists but through a surrogate. merchants. Beroul’s Tristan (c. reuniting the king with the queen and bringing peace to the court. managing to assemble a wardrobe comprising vair and miniver fur. who proves an effective stylist. selection and purchase seems to have been relegated to specific servants. arrange a truce with King marc through ogrin.000 Years of Fashion. distinction. the narrator comments that the hermit did not regret what he paid for it all (lines 2852–9). and resolve to part.” 1 however. or transactions in this passage. dresser. The hermit. delivering the lovers from the sin of adultery.” lines 2713–14). goes to mont st michel of cornwall “por les richeces qui la sont” (for the rich goods that are there. When she is dressed. or valet for staging a theatrical appearance. one might imagine that the lovers would have difficulty appearing in public since they are exiled. and then adopted gradually through the social ranks in descending order. he accepts a truce with the oriental king Porus on the condition that Bactrian merchants bring in merchandise and sell it at a good price (branch iii. Tristan et Yseut. a steward or treasurer. but there is no question of them shopping for themselves: it is all of ogrin’s devising. shows desire to shop. it should be acknowledged that many of fashion’s highest elites even today have recourse to a professional stylist. line 2706) to fashion an outfit for Yseut that will reassert her dignity at court. and excesses were the “caprices of a minority. and a palfrey harnessed in gleaming gold (lines 2707– 12). white linen. the actual process of selection and purchase was not frequently portrayed by contemporaries as an occupation of medieval elites. he buys a great deal. after a period as fugitives.2 Tristan and Yseut. alexander the Great.The desire For sPendinG moneY 149 The marketplace: who shops. p. and how The accepted view of medieval and early modern fashion holds that trends were initiated by the highest aristocracy.

150 sarah-Grace heller instructive. and wine without charge (lines 1552–4) in exchange for carrying a letter to alexander for him. alexander does offer the audience the pleasure of a bargain.” his adoptive father despairs of the boy’s merchant potential.4 This illustrates a perceived class divide with regard to commercial transactions. When Guillaume opens his chest to pay the fishmongers. is one example where a rustic was portrayed as too dimwitted to make tasteful selections or bargain wisely. . They dress him well in imported silks and stuffs that flatter his biologically noble figure (lines 871–3. as a child. The abbot gives him ten pounds. he dreams of nothing but the noble activities of hunting and combating the infidel. The merchants approve. and looks “like a mendicant. vivien hints at the future battle of aliscans where he will kill saracens relentlessly despite fifteen wounds when. as discussed in chapter 4. having no desire to argue over money with peasants. knotted stirrups (lines 1534–44. wearing distressed clothing. he asks the owner its price: 50 sous. in Le Moniage Guillaume (late twelfth century). but confident in his ability to provide fine things to suit his master’s tastes. 1200–25) 3 the noble christian boy vivien is kidnapped by pirates and sold to a saracen merchant couple. turned monk. following his noble instincts. not a shopping fantasy. i suggest dating it to the first quarter of the century. he mounts a slow and reluctant mule instead of a noble charger. 881–7). on a bad saddle with pieced-together. were often expected to be incompetent in the marketplace. both the highest barons and also the lowest vilains. additions to the William of orange cycle feature several episodes where warrior heroes are transported into the merchant milieu to comic effect. must have it. in his worn clothing” (line 1609). he sees a horse and. The point is made that knights belong on horses. vivien says he has 100 sous in his purse. 3). he sets aside his royal robes (line 1533). declaring the lame horse worth only five sous (lines 935–96). blessing the cleric who has no interest in haggling. more than enough for the errand. so he throws them out generously by the handful. cakes. lines 1027–37. This editor does not date the work more precisely than to the thirteenth century. 4 andrieux-reix. The extremes of the social scale. ch. The scene illustrates one set of expectations for a royal shopper in the later twelfth century: he will be a servant. not among the market stalls. To counterfeit a chambellan’s appearance. (see note 40. The fabliau of Trubert. Le Moniage Guillaume. William of orange. 1607–8). The narrative intent of the disguise is espionage. William refuses to bargain with them. Given the use throughout of the term bliaut. The adoptive father gives him some money to go out and learn to bargain. however. in Les Enfances Vivien (c. Les Enfances Vivien. on an inferior mount. and that the horse is worth all that and his brand new ermine-lined mantel besides. Porus offers him wax. similarly playing on the theme of a noble hero’s comically poor head for arithmetic. is sent to buy fish at market for the monastery. When he goes home to brag about his “bargain. discussed in the previous chapter. 3 magali rouquier. he finds counting the coins too much trouble.

pp. particularly in texts prior to the middle of the thirteenth century. furs. he sets high expectations for quality without specifying what he might reject as inferior. deciding what quantities to order. evidently trusting the servant to satisfy him. German and hungarian palfreys with fashionable (cointe) saddles and harnesses. sending the bourgeois widow with whom she and her companion are staying to the market when silk and provisions are needed (lines 1340–56). silk and brocade from Tartary. Le Roman du comte d’Anjou. suggesting the highly circumscribed place they held in the fashion system. vair and ermine fur. The shopping list is composed by the count. . The work of discernment – such as which brunette or scarlet is the best among those available. They also stay out of the streets to protect their virtue. a coach painted in arms of blue and gold with five strong horses. although her beauty and demeanor betray it. whose job description here has evolved from the oldest (latin senex) servant in the household to the lord’s surrogate for taste. and determining what funds will be exchanged – is trusted to the seneschal. and horses. 1. but demanding no specific distinctive details. more often shopping is done through intermediaries.” a hopelessly rural manure merchant accustomed to the “country perfumes” of his merchandise faints when he is overcome upon exposure to the rich and costly scents of the montpellier spice market. The noble heroine of the Roman du Comte d’Anjou survives by her embroidery during a difficult interlude in orléans. The narrative also shows that by the early fourteenth century. and often exploit ironic juxtaposition for humorous purposes rather than presenting realistic scenarios. in the Roman du Comte d’Anjou (1316). he instructs the seneschal not to count the cost (lines 2729–48).The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 151 in “du vilain asnier. usually servants of rank. in one case. and also english. Fabliaux français du Moyen Age. offered twenty pounds or lover’s gifts such as aumonières and robes (lines 1702–800). maillart. employing general categories for textiles.6 the count of Bourges sends his seneschal to buy things for his marriage: brunette and scarlet woolens. such as alexander’s chambellan. young tradesmen of a town such as orléans saw shopping for luxury items and gowns 5 6 ménard. 19–20. vol.5 narrative instances of noblemen entering the marketplace are rare. cloth of gold. The heroine and her companion avoid appearing in public partly because they are fugitives from the incestuous desire of the girl’s father (lines 1074–6). knowing which draper deals in the best quality or most exotic stuffs. examples of noble women entering markets are more rare than those of men. who imagine that a pretty embroideress would be willing to engage in casual prostitution if coerced. The didactic tone of the narration emphasizes how dangerous the streets could be for attractive and unprotected women. the woman’s aristocratic identity is concealed in order that she may do so. colors. since even venturing out to attend mass they become targets for the attention of lascivious urban men.

” 10 The selection of attractive. Le livre des métiers. hair ribbons (treçons. and pearls to be used in a wide variety of accessories: bags. fine hats. romances occasionally portray a less threatening type of shopping experience. and relatively easily managed. silver. as anne sutton has shown. “l’image du marchand dans les romans de Tristan en France et en allemagne. following her instruction. many mercers sold “pretty objects. several romances feature lovers who disguise themselves as mercers or other merchants in order to visit their ladies. The motif is probably derived from the tradition of Tristan’s beggar. the lord of Fayel. novel ornaments they offered and often advertised as potential love gifts corresponds to criteria 1–5 and 9. a means of achieving the satisfaction of consuming something new without the expenditure of ordering new garments. he instructs him to head directly to Fayel. exploiting this practice. They offered direct access to consumption. ed. Le roman du castelain de Couci et de la dame de Fayel.” 8 Jakemes.” 10 Étienne Boileau. as danielle Buschinger observes. lxxvii. this type of commerce belonged essentially to the “domain of fashion. lespinasse and Bonnardot.9 in later thirteenth-century France. pins to fasten necklines. leper. 9 sutton. such descriptions are part of the rehabilitation of the merchant’s status. merchants of luxury goods would enter noble homes. and bags exchanged by lovers and the pleasures (joies) lovers enjoy (jouir) together. intertwined with the hair through braiding). pp. allowing the ladies of the house or members of the court a more private encounter with a selection of items. trim for necklines and hemlines. and merchant disguises. There is obvious word play in this period between such merchants’ “jewels” (juiaus). and expresses hope that the mercer will have some pretty objects to suit the lady or their court (“espoir as tu aucun juiel/ Qui faura no dame ou no gent”. the eponymous castellan takes up a mercer’s basket and staff to enter his lady’s company.8 The disguise is successful: when the cuckolded husband. meets him on the road towards the manor. the disguised castellan de couci bargains with the lady in the presence of her 7 Buschinger. scorned for not creating anything (as man was intended to do in God’s image) and associated with the taboo on money. “The silent Years of the london Guild history before 1300. belts. mercers offered affordable novelty.152 sarah-Grace heller to share with women as a possibility open to them. meaning the accessories such as pins.7 in Jakemes’ Roman du Châtelain de Couci et de la Dame de Fayel (late thirteenth or early fourteenth century). gold. which regulate the types of silk. which before the later twelfth century had been reviled. lines 6613–16). something the more complicated and time-consuming garment ordering process did not. and in the broadest sense could comprise any kind of merchandise. as lespinasse and Bonnardot remarked. in contrast with earlier epic warriors with no head for bargaining. 157–9. . The profession of mercery was ambiguous and varied.” according to texts such as this and the craft statutes of Paris.

meliador tells her it is the jeweler’s custom to offer a gift to clients before they buy. brooches. he engages his hostess to give him an introduction and spread the word that a merchant is coming. and receives further rich commissions. although it is noteworthy that the lady and her courtiers prove adept at it as consumers. similarly. the hero must penetrate several levels of intermediaries in order to show his “jewels” to hermondine. such “lagnappe” 12 still exists in some places today. once inside. for whom he was engaged in quests of bravery but had never met. who upon hearing of the quality of his merchandise instructs him to come in the morning. as in Meliador. The narrator indicates he learned how to haggle in order to appear convincing in his disguise (lines 6695–705). When they visit the goldsmiths of aberdeen to buy their “merchandise. lines 5538–42). waiting for him (lines 11985–96). the nobleman depends on others to instruct and guide him in how to be a merchant.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 153 household. and pins. and then with a number of individuals in turn. similarly in L’Escoufle (c. in both of these cases.11 lansonnet explains that this will be the perfect disguise because ladies and maidens are normally thrilled when jewelers come to their castles and manors with rings. but it may reflect a more common custom rooted in the gift culture. he must insist on seeing the lady of the house herself. and rewards her generously (lines 12076–127. for example a free gift from a tradesman. which makes them look even finer (lines 12002–12). meliador stays out of the marketplace. 1383–88) the hero disguises himself as a merchant. paid in fine clothing and tableware. This method is successful. . as initially three young ladies of her court wish to see his wares (lines 12199–210). Finally the servant argentine escorts him into the heiress’s presence. she goes straight to the castle and speaks to a chambermaid. she seeks to gain entry to the court by making a matching belt and bag set ornamented with the baron’s arms (lines 5546–699). 12144–50). Méliador. lacking experience or intuitive aptitude for the activity. in Meliador. after the displaced heroine has established her reputation for making embroidered belts and bags among the bourgeoisie of montpellier (she boasts one evening that there could hardly have been three women of any wealth in the town who had not bought her goods. and give them an eager welcome into their homes (lines 11944–55). he also gives the porter a ring (line 12163). lansonnet also arranges the jewels in a display box of white wood. par Jean Froissart. mercantile bargaining is here again not construed as behavior familiar or instinctive to a knight. in Froissart’s Meliador (c. and she is invited to stay at the court. 1200–02). to allow an encounter with the heiress hermondine. something given as a bonus.” it is lansonnet who does the shopping. meliador credits this hostess with gaining him entry. The plot is hatched upon the urging of the hero’s clever servant lansonnet. she first must 11 12 longnon. This is a convenient way to give her a particular ring transmitted to her by her cousin in this particular narrative.

“le ‘dit du mercier’. lacedup shoes. but in her case her astonishing beauty serves as the recommendation attracting their attention (lines 5592–612). in contrast with the castellan of couci’s threadbare attire. but a household of servants and courtiers is ready to buffer her from direct contact with the merchant. 53). and discolors his face (lines 6579–92). hats of hemp for peasants (vilains. he procures dye to darken them (lines 12036–45. line 47).” lines 11937. and since his hands are too white to belong to a commoner. line 50). since the lady of Fayel was manipulating the ruse. she makes a show of telling her household that she wishes to be alone with the merchant to see his jewels. in the fourteenth-century fashion) and laced-up shoes (line 12045). the knives young 13 ménard. although since disguise is the primary intent these should be taken as exaggerations of how merchants might have been expected to look. for the most part. line 57). Froissart’s caricature of a merchant is less tattered than Jakemes’. laced coiffes for maidens (puceles. his clientele crosses the social spectrum: handsome gloves for “little young noble ladies” (damoiseletes. although she lets them bargain with him later after she has made her selections. linking objects to the clients to whom he would normally sell them. The castellan de couci puts on a cloak of rough grey cloth. “deeply-pleated” robes (“cotes a plois larges et grans. line 10). line 48). 12166). she was not interested in sending servants in her stead. in all three cases. in contrast. selecting.13 in contrast with the romances discussed above.” line 6651). perhaps suggesting some evolution in the popular notion of the prosperity of the commercially employed. hats with birds and flowers for young noble men (damoiseax.” . offers an unusual glimpse of the ambulant mercer’s clientele. a ragged old cap. kerchiefs for ladies (dames. The “dit du mercier. 12024. lansonnet tells meliador to arrange his clothing in such a way to adopt a stooped posture.” a poem from the later thirteenth or early fourteenth century in a genre that imitated the “advertising” cries of merchants. silver and brass pins for noble ladies (gentix femes. The representations of the disguises offer insight into elite stereotypes of the merchant class.154 sarah-Grace heller penetrate the young ladies and men of the court. as well as his varied merchandise. but in both cases. and to choose all the most handsome ones (“eslire tous les plus biaus. it can be inferred that the humble appearance of his disguise is designed to protect him from being recognized by her husband. the mercernarrator of the poem does not seem to be addressing intermediaries. the stress of mercantile work and status is expected to be clearly marked on the body. he spends most of the poem enumerating the contents of his basket. and bargaining for themselves. The description does imply that a shabbily dressed mercer could expect to gain entrance into a noble household. as well as enjoy the pleasures of perusing. the lady of the house wields the most significant monetary power and expects the privilege of first choice if she wants it. meliador and lansonnet put on black. veils for nuns (line 39).

line 136). venez!” (step right up. where large wholesale transactions took place. their fashionable whims.” pp. which offered varying degrees of access to members of different social groups. La France au XIIIe siècle. chausses from Bruges (line 67). lorcin. The Place de la Grève had been an open piece of land along the seine.14 “shopping” might occur in a variety of sites in the French high middle ages. however. and cosmetic implements (lines 99–105). whips for shepherds (line 64). you can come back to your pestles. line 155–6). line 71). saint-ladre and saint-Germain around Paris. which were open a few days each week. Fridays and saturdays. headdresses (toailles) for gentlewomen (gentix femes. for instance les halles and the Place de la Grève in Paris. flour sieves for bakers (line 60). sharp blades for stitchers (line 70). and among women.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 155 men (bacheliers) use to style themselves cointes (line 82). which louis vii sold in 1141 to the marchands de l’eau who dealt in the many types of products. and weighted dice (lines 125–8). pestles for chambermaids (chamberieres. les halles had evolved from an open-air market known as champeaux in the twelfth century to a sort of early “shopping mall” featuring two protective covered stone structures erected by Philip ii in 1183. and “et vos. as well as combs. Connaissance du Vieux Paris. in short. petites meschinetes. line 143). arrowheads (line 40). and six more built by louis iX. each fair lasted a few weeks. line 93–5). little servant girls. pp. particularly foodstuffs. 99.16 The construction dates for these spaces indicates some key stages in the development of Paris’ fashion system. 86–7). he also features tools used in professions: hide scrapers for skinners (line 30). line 113). so that inclement weather would not affect the fortunes of commerce. There were also more accessible urban markets. when this mercer interpolates his customers. ménard remarks that while the peddler features many practical necessities. paternosters for old women (viellotes. and took place once a year. the galangal root “to make clerics sing high notes” (line 109). such as braies and the belts that attach them (line 31). 148–9. marketplaces included major seasonal fairs such as those of champagne. 59. saffron for young ladies’ veils (damoiseles. saddles and buckles for horses (lines 32. “le ‘dit du mercier’. pp. following criterion 1). 91–3). it is women he summons: “venez avant. although he appreciates the clerical willingness to spend and offers numerous products for churches and monasteries (lines 39. that arrived by river./ Poez revenir as piletes!” (and you. hillairet. wax tablets and styluses for scribes (clers. men of the church and also manual laborers are secondary clients for him. . 809–10. dames. 14 15 16 ménard. mirrors. hooks for fishermen (line 69). the evidence indicates that he makes his real living off his clientele’s desire for coquetterie. elegance. 89. hatchets for blood-letters (seignier. 57. he lists many items destined for men. and luxury. line 98). ladies! line 151). or later lendit. Philippe ménard observes that this peddler recruits his clients most prominently among the young (one of many indications that a fashion system is in play in this poem. and the tools serving women (feme) use such as scissors and razors.15 it was open Wednesdays.

and being unable to find the merchant again to get their money back they would be disappointed. in Jehan et Blonde by Philippe de remy (c. netted hair ornaments) prohibited peddling altogether as too great a fraud risk. such businesses would be more or less “open” during daylight hours on working days. 75. 16–19. each master must wait his turn. such as the crepiniers (makers of women’s hair nets). There were also ambulant merchants. Buying new clothes is one of the ways in which Jehan represents an attempt to depict a new ideal of knightly behavior. The chauciers specify that if customers buy from peddlers. net): Étienne Boileau. and those who hawked their wares in the streets. others mark the end of the day by the ringing of the “curfew” bell at saint merri.18 The language suggests that more chausse merchants wanted to be open for business than was seemly. 66. such as “those who cry ‘la cote et la chape’ through the city. for instance. for example the laceurs (makers of ties. Le livre des métiers. implying an urgency among customers who did not want to wait an extra day for new clothes. pp. 17 . and thereby a threat to the reputation of the craft.156 sarah-Grace heller other artisans established themselves in boutiques in residential areas.17 it is interesting that some métiers make an exception for a fixed number of boutiques which will be open on sundays: the chauciers. 163–4. 114. The narrator emphasizes that he bought new clothes. pp. They have recourse to a mercer for materials. closed for sundays and holidays. 19 Jean de Garlande. p. where they would primarily spend their time producing goods with a small team of assistants (vallets) and apprentices. both those who entered private noble homes as seen above. 75. Le livre des métiers. as John expected his grammar students at the University of Paris to have encountered daily. rather than putting on old ones. a number of métiers prohibited work by candlelight because it was inadequate for quality execution of the work. other professions such as the crepiniers (makers of crespinetes. it further suggests demand for chausses on sundays. 1230–43) there are glimpses of the hero and his sisters interacting directly with clothing merchants. insist that three and only three shops will be open on sundays.20 Getting new clothes in contrast with narratives of shopping executed by specific servants. The Dictionarius of John de Garlande. 18 Étienne Boileau. such as shoemakers who carried shoes on racks for sale. as well as other professional merchants. discussed below. respectively. and 114. gauze. occasionally selling items or taking orders as customers came by.19 The craft statutes reveal that such peddling was accepted among some professions. John of Garland indicates that some artisan-merchants such as belt-makers put out tables in front of their shops on the streets (“habent ante se”). p.” among the used-clothing dealers (frepiers). p. These artisan boutiques were accessible to neighbors and servants executing commissions. Le livre des métiers. they might discover later that the product had been constructed with inferior materials. 20 Étienne Boileau.

si est fouree . or his ermine-lined scarlet hood edged in sable (lines 3753–79). car vous estes fiz de vilain et de vilainne. in a few romances. the narrator details. he rejects his old clothes as soon as possible and favors new (embracing criteria 1 and 2). The triumphant purchase of new clothes contrasts with more traditional practices in which a celebratory garment might be a gift from an overlord or ancestor. when robert de sorbon accuses Joinville of dressing better than the king. an unusual example of a servant entering visibly into the narrative landscape. after the couple have crossed the channel. it is rare 21 an anecdote from Joinville illustrates the transition between traditional practices and the new pressures of fashion. The passive verb forms referring to the fabrication of these garments (“bien decaupees . lines 627–8). The procedure detailed in the scene is to obtain the fabric from a mercer. his sisters are shown involved in the process of having new clothes made. Joinville defends himself by saying that his robes were a gift from his parents. there are indications of new clothing being produced by domestic industry. s’est orlee”) suggest the work of anonymous professionals.21 Just as Jehan gained his fortune by rejecting the old lifestyle of staying on the family land waiting for his father to die.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 157 or getting used ones. the heroine makes a chemise and braies of fine white linen as a gift for her love. in contrast to something bought new. . 207–8. the entire family gets new things. however. ce ly semble.. when Fresne cuts and sews a robe for herself out of the precious cloth that enveloped her when she was found as an infant./ n’ot mie vestu robe viés. however. as Burns and Baumgartner have remarked. her companion rose thinks she has lost her mind (“en son cuer l’en tient rose a sote. When Blonde arrives.. who apparently would be able to marshal a team of stitchers to execute the order in short time. That side of the operation is invisible. hence a noble family heirloom. lines 4541–43). they order thirty lengths of cendal silk from a mercer. and then call for the tailor too: “robes font faire sans delai” (they have robes made without delay. a servant girl (meschine) sews a bliaud for her lady in the Lai de Desiré (c. other items of his clothing are not qualified as her handiwork. When the couple arrives at the paternal lands in dammartin. such as his well-cut black chausses edged in red. and Jehan’s rival for the possession of his beloved heiress Blonde has been vanquished. for he had bought them new. “se fu Jehans apparilliés. lines 4622–9). in Amadas et Ydoine (c. “vie de saint louis. in Galeran de Bretagne (c. car cest abit me lessa mes pères et ma mère.. or buying them used as he might have done in his more impoverished state. when they wake the next day. s’a fait oultrage. et estes vestus de plus riche camelin que li roys n’est.” lines 6752–3). particularly earlier texts. he did not put on old clothes. “Je ne faiz mie à blasmer se je me vest de vert et de vair./ car il l’avoit noeve achetee” (and Jehan got dressed. but they serve to highlight the heroine’s extraordinary nature. The sisters order clothes for Blonde as well. mais vous faites à blasmer. 1165–1225. 1190–1220). Jehan is not the only one to go shopping in the romance. 1195– 1225). There are a few examples of noble women making clothing. et avez lessié l’abit vostre père et vostre mère..” pp.” Jean de Joinville.

positions women as a force in fashionable selection and consumption.” lines 63–5). Pfeffer and allain. Three Medieval Views of Women. emmanuele Baumgartner. the Greek knight alexandre. 1200–02). the mother of the eponymous hero. Cligès. Courtly Love Undressed.22 There is a scene in Cligès (c. The verbal construction is noteworthy. p. describing how they should be made. Women take charge of ordering new clothing in L’Escoufle (c. 25 le roy ladurie. the statement in “Bien des Fames” would might better interpreted as a celebration of traditional. on a literary level. the 22 Burns. When aelis and Guillaume decide to leave the household of her father. 23 chrétien de Troyes. pp. in cities as in the countryside. more so than as direct producers of objects. more than a realistic pronouncement regarding the gender structure of urban French garment commerce. The poem. the poem says women have chaplets of flowers made.26 another section of the “Bien des Fames” makes women responsible for the bliauts which make men look attractive and fashionable (“Fame fet fere les blïaus. and almost all tailors and chaussiers were male./ si fet fere les homes biaus/ et acesmés et gens et cointes. as le roy ladurie found in montaillou. male stitchers (couturiers) slightly outnumber female couturieres. “le Bien des Fames” (c. sews a tunic for his future father. “les brodeuses et la ville. to share with their lovers.” lines 84–6). 86. most medieval spinners were indeed women. however. archetypal women’s work. rather than claiming that women themselves make bliauts for men.158 sarah-Grace heller that noble women make clothing in high medieval French romances. as will be discussed below. 24 Fiero. in all likelihood. rather than the routine new clothing a fashion system would require on a regular basis. 26 Géraud. but like several of the above examples. as well as socioeconomic differences: if the affluent of certain urban areas were experiencing an emerging fashion system. particularly given this type of phrasing. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. the verse states that they “have bliauts made” for them: they order them. 57 to 46 in the 1292 Paris tax records. 89. 1170–77) where soredamor. rural peasants class were not. this is an extraordinary gift garment. 28–9. p.” p.24 although in rural areas clothing production was often women’s work. 501. Montaillou. 1275– 1325) lauds women for spinning and “working” to produce clothing. it is important to underscore the dichotomy between the urban and rural experiences of consumption in this period.23 a didactic poem on the virtues of women. They likewise commission new songs (lines 71–4). . embellished with a gold thread interlaced with one of her own golden hairs. whence she derives her name (lines 1145–66). saying that by their toil all are dressed (“par li est toute gent vestue. similarly. as was the case with Jehan’s sisters. in the urban world of clothing construction at the end of the thirteenth century.25 the suggestion that women were universally responsible for all clothing production is misleading.

That profession is not found among the thirteenth-century trades of Paris. To have new robes and mantels made. commissioning those professionals to make him long 27 28 29 Étienne Boileau. and the stitchers (couturiers) who would have assembled and finished the garments.” . and what sort of fabrics to request. lyons. to claim Guillaume’s heritage in normandy. it is often difficult to know what type of artisan would have been the point of contact when clothing was commissioned. when the heroine’s uncle. and coteriax (another sort of cote) of the dark cloth of Flanders (“drap de Flandres poleté. p. cut and fitted for them (“Qu’en leur a fait coudre et taillier”) of moorish silk glittering with gold (lines 4780–5).27 Couturiers and also tailors both engaged in clothing repair.28 The process of obtaining new clothing becomes more frequently detailed in later texts. for instance in the Cent nouvelles nouvelles (c. lxxv. most often. There would have been some overlap and competition for work among these professions. the young men knighted with him were brought robes. passive verb forms are used when clothing is described as made to order. 145. courtly doublet and hose. reveals her noble identity and bequeaths to her the heritage of anjou. Godefroy. in the fourteenthcentury Roman du Comte d’Anjou. 1460) from the court of Burgundy: in the ninety-fourth tale.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 159 Byzantine emperor. nor in the tax records of 1292–1313. and their vallets did the stitching. Les elements descriptifs dans le roman d’aventure. For the hero’s knighting in Galeran de Bretagne. There was a broad. aelis instructs Guillaume to ask his mother to have traveling clothes made for them to measure. and other terms emerge there.v. he celebrates by generously sending for (“fet mander”) a large variety of rich fabrics and furs. and changing vocabulary connoting the specialists who engaged in new clothing production. as the Parisian tailors’ statutes of 1268 indicate that the master tailors did the cutting.29 The term appears more frequently in middle French. it seems to have varied depending on the situation and the locality. Faith lyons identifies the mention of mercers in Jehan et Blonde as a new kind of detail not present in the romances of the twelfth or earlier thirteenth century. aelis’ instructions are quite particular: they should have water repellent hoods. for example. suggesting anonymous teams of professionals. “parementier. tight. a fashionable “gaillard” of a priest is obliged to summon the draper and the “parmentier” when he is fined by an ecclesiastical official for his short. and accord with modern notions of garment construction. This suggests that it was expected that women of an elite household would know how to order clothing. outer layers of bure. varied. Tailors and stitchers certainly existed. in haste. s. mercers and other merchants also seem to have accepted commissions. The two verbs suggest two sets of professionals who would have worked on the garments: the cutters or tailors (tailleeurs) who would cut the cloth to measure. the Bishop of orleans. a parmentier tailors these materials (lines 6360–73). particularly among more indigent communities.” lines 3582–5). Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. as noted above. Le livre des métiers. p. but it does appear in documents from metz in 1241 and 1254. a sturdy stuff.

pp.31 The observations in the following section are drawn primarily from the 1292 records. in Géraud. p.33 Those who made a false declaration were threatened with confiscation of the property amounting to the undeclared worth. capetian fiscal administration was still in a developmental stage. i will confine this study to the published rolls. michaëlsson. 21. This seems usually to indicate an actual occupation. Le Livre de la taille de Paris l’an de grâce 1313. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. p. nor even whether they actually practiced the trade linked to their name. Le Livre de la taille de Paris l’an 1297. 34 Géraud.32 in contrast. and 1300 are extant: see michaëlsson. often indicating a profession. comparison is possible with later rolls. were exempt. 32 raymond cazelles.34 such voluntary contributions cannot reliably furnish certain evidence of an artisan’s exact income. although there are cases where a guild magistrate’s surname did not correspond to the given profession. 62). as Joseph strayer notes. 1296–1300.160 sarah-Grace heller robes with an immense train instead. including the many students at the University of Paris. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. “consent to Taxation under Philip the Fair. there was no governmental mechanism in place at this time to keep records of individuals’ income. which in some cases show the same merchants and how their fortunes changed: michaëlsson. by name.” pp.500. 12. The taille was not yet a regular tax in 1292. clerics. and the amount each contributed.000 pounds tournois for release from general taxation. Michaëlsson. the taille of 1313 was a “feudal aid” to King Philip iv for his eldest son’s knighting. or one fiftieth of a merchant or artisan’s income. 1313). 556. 31 30 . Études sur les noms de personne français d’après les rôles de taille parisiens (rôles de 1292. Nouvelle histoire de Paris. elsewhere in the kingdom charged in the amount of a penny on the pound for every purchase and sale (so two deniers per livre tournois). the rolls of 1298. 556. 530–3. The records list inhabitants street by street. such as tax and craft guild records. 33 strayer. Géraud. approximately 14. The tailles of 1292–1300 were annual installments paid voluntarily towards a sum of 100. so these taxes represent an estimation of income offered by individuals themselves. particularly that of 1292. and so must be taken with some caution. Urban shopping: the case of Paris The Parisian tax records (tailles) of the years 1292–1313 offer the possibility of constructing an impressionistic geography of shopping in Paris at the end of the thirteenth century. surnames were still variable at this time. both obeying and flouting the official’s order (lines 29–31. in addition. 1299. pp. which feature the largest number of taxpayers. Le Livre de la taille de Paris l’an 1296. Paris sous Philippele-Bel. and most were not yet hereditary.30 The extensive (and changing) lexicon of garment construction and sales may be best illuminated by other sources. 250–2. it is estimated that they made up about a sweetser. Les Cent nouvelles nouvelles. many names are followed by a sobriquet.

mercers. the largest sum was offered by michiel d’amiens. La France au XIIIe siècle.35 nobles were exempt if they did not indulge in commercial activity. many were probably subsumed under the head of household. these records can offer us a snapshot: some blurry areas and certainly many omissions. These three groups also show much more range in income than the stitchers. Technology and organisation.14 sous. an area named for blacksmiths at the edge of les halles built by Philip augustus. or 1 sou (the minimum for all contributors throughout the rolls). paying sixteen livres (320 sous) in the Ferronnerie. 36 . on the east side of the right Bank. which suggests that some of them distinguished themselves in quality and desirable design. marguerite from near the Porte saint-honoré paid 14 sous.000. although the majority of taxpayers are listed by profession.” p. which at the end of the thirteenth century is estimated at 200. street names for much of the left Bank are missing in 1292. as well as souzchaux. was held by both men and women. drapers appear little in the literature of the thirteenth century. as opposed to 2. for instance. it is clear from the work of John monro and others that the textile production end of shopping was a pyramidal operation: at the top. They are spread throughout the city. the minimum is 12 deniers. The profession of couturier (literally. and were likely employed with large-scale noble commissions). raw fiber producers. note that the average contribution by couturieres was slightly higher than for couturiers: 2. 131–3. 144. Nouvelle histoire de Paris. and their trade cannot be identified. a draper. or in entrepreneurial activity. 1465) figures as a great comic figure of the later farce tradition. never more than four (and those lived by the King of sicily’s house. as seen above. and although maître Pathelin (c. dyers. who coordinated to varying degree the work of those below: fullers. it could be surmised that there was a kind of gender equality in poverty in the stitching profession.5 sous. “medieval Woolens: Textiles. “stitcher”). but an image nonetheless. lorcin. The median tax for mercers in 1292 was five sous. and also chauciers (makers of chausses. although valets or apprentices and servants are often listed. trousers or leggings of silk or stuff. and chauçons. more populated by prosperous used clothing dealers than iron dealers or 35 cazelles.07. hose) are more often found in clusters. The median tax they contribute is 2 sous. spinners. 145 tailors. gaiters. such as the some 70 mercers. carders. in short. rarely more than two per street. such groupings suggest the possibility of collaborative work for big commissions.36 This model seems to match the patterns of habitation and income of Paris’ artisans.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 161 tenth of the city population. and 103 couturiers included in the 1292 taille. munro. with an average of 32. pp. Tailors. almost one on every street. many are not. weavers. and also the possibility of comparative shopping. There are only nineteen drapers listed in the 1292 rolls. Figuring more often in both narrative and tax records were other artisans. There are many lacunae in these records. The records show a number of them who did. as are the menuz gens paying the lowest amounts in 1296. a relatively modest maximum.

lorrains. Gloves were found near armor and good chausses. Tailors fall between stitchers and mercers in this hierarchy: their median tax in 1292 is three sous. saint louis’ widow. p. 116. Étienne Boileau. The Dictionarius of John de Garlande. of some sixty chauciers listed in 1292. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. Chauciers were clustered in nobly-frequented areas: on the cité. a number of other artisan clusters could be found in Paris in the late thirteenth century. but the royal accounts do list purchases of chausses for the queen and her daughters.8 sous. precious stones. just north of the cité on the right Bank. and well-fitted garments are frequently admired in the narratives. pp. 22–3. on the left Bank side of the island. Jewelry. whereas tailors are nearly all male. to be cut by a good tailor. in the thirteenth century. most but not all were male. someone like Guillem would certainly seek out the finest chaucier in town for his less visible but important leg garments. around the areas where armor. who failed to understand their tight cut entirely in one passage cited from Flamenca (lines 2198–203). and mittens made of leather. The chauciers present an interesting case study in fashion. Good-fitting chausses separated the noble man with savoir faire from the vilain. p. the two women listed in association with tailoring are widows (“ameline et son fuiz” and “la fame david”). The control and innovation of those designs. a few were scattered through the university quarter of the left Bank.37 cut is essential to fashion. as discussed in earlier chapters. lxxiv. la Bufeterie. and pewter and copper work could be Géraud. maximum fifty-eight sous. a densely populated area. the area where John of Garland had observed some generations earlier in his Dictionarius (c.6 sous. 39 Jean de Garlande. as well as in la calendre. many are found on the cité. average 5. foxes. whereas tailors worked for both sexes.162 sarah-Grace heller blacksmiths by the end of the thirteenth century. such as the elite would presumably have ordered. Le Livre des Métiers. This is somewhat understandable. Women are almost never described in narrative as wearing chausses.” 39 materials which promised less warmth to chilled students than the more highly-prized furs. blazoned shields and armor were made and sold. 1200) that “Parisian glove makers beguile scholars by selling them unlined gloves and gloves lined with fur from the pelts of lambs. average 17. spurs. of the 22 glovers (gantiers) listed in Paris in 1292. also in the wealthier merchant quarters of the right Bank. around the street called la Ganterie. since their product was for the most part destined for men. mercers were about 87% male. situating them in between the mercers and the tailors. Chausses were an article of clothing whose fine cut was highly prized. paid forty-eight sous. rabbits. near Place saint-michel within the royal Palace and l’orberie. 38 37 . for duties that presumably included wardrobe prominently among the household management tasks. 30. across from the royal Palace. would have been primarily in the hands of men. named for winesellers.38 Their median tax was six sous. Besides ordering fine sets of robes from a mercer. maximum 120 sous. The concierge of the countess of alençon. also full of mercers and goldsmiths.

perhaps something like sabots (wooden clogs in modern French). interestingly. such as shoes. The savetiers were. makers of belts and straps for both people and animals. That leaves a number of essentials for the wardrobe that prove more difficult to map. John of Garland characterizes savetiers as stitching up old shoes. of which two are listed in 1292. who numbered 226. pp. 41 .41 The cordouanniers worked with finer leathers such as those from cordoba. like the stitchers. in all. while cordouanniers were “beneficial to the city of Paris” for the shoes they constructed.40 there were basically two types of shoemaker. linen weavers and dealers were concentrated around saint merri on the right Bank. Guillem distinguishes himself by not wearing sabbata. in the latter street. There were no wealthy savetiers. but we can’t really assume that there were none. courraiers. they intermingled with a large number of mercers. classed among menus genz. or in the Barillerie on the cité. eight sous was not an uncommon contribution. of which the city boasted 140 or so in 1292. one on almost every street. perhaps surprisingly. Wealthier clients such as Guillem would have ordered boots and slippers from a courdouannier. a high number relative to number of tailors or mercers – rather difficult to explain. 26–9. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. rough common shoes. sheepskins. one headed almost exclusively for the old cemetery of saint Jehan. given the prestige of fur-lined mantels and garments. 214 peletiers are listed. were intensely concentrated in the saint-merri parish. The Parisian of 1292 never needed to travel far to get his shoes repaired. Géraud. 514. it is worth noting that it was a profession where little creativity was involved to 40 Galochiers. unless he sought uniquely fine manufacture. note that in the passage from Flamenca discussed in the introduction. being viewed as obvious. paying between one and three sous in tax. one went to the Grant Pont over the seine (also a magnet for tailors). or to order a new pair.” There is a skinner or fur-dealer (peletier) on almost every street. fur was a necessary layer for people of all walks of life.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 163 found on the curiously named rue de mau-conseil (“street of bad advice”). except to note that without central heating. there are no courraiers listed on the street called the courroierie. as their name suggests. it cannot be said whether or how often that was done in the records. The professional sobriquet may have been omitted. and one finds sums between eighteen and twenty-four sous with some frequency. and he rarely pays more than two sous in income tax. spain. They are dispersed through the city. or the stores in front of saint opportune. or John of Garland’s comment that their wares “made them rich. Jean de Garlande. who doubled as shoe repairers: savetiers. The Dictionarius of John de Garlande. Fur work is another ubiquitous but poorly remunerated trade. shoemakers of either type are rarely found in clusters. For gold work. in the streets called Petitchanz and Quiquempoist. For bazanes. at the bottom of the vestimentary food chain. Besides the occasional galoshes specialist. although they were also often in the lowest tax bracket. and courdouanniers. up near saint martin on the right Bank. p.

The former is used in a few texts for pilgrims’ humble gear. ferpe. not for the squeamish. in contrast. could be considered “fashionable. and so on.” 44 Étienne Boileau. they became fashionable only when transformed by the creative teams of cutters. and wool by paying twenty-five deniers to the tax pool (“haubanerie”) of the king’s Grand-chamberlain. those statutes refer to another type of second-hand merchant. mettre en gage or engagier.45 Unlike merciers and tailleurs. Freperie: the second-hand system one of the foremost requirements of a fashion system is the relative disqualification of the past (criterion 1): fashion demands the constant rejection of recent styles in favor of the new. Godefroy. 521. lynx and marten. words for second-hand merchants do not appear at all in works of vernacular narrative literature. closer in meaning to the english “frippery” indicating something flashy but of poor quality. s. twelve to his companions for drinks. with the assumption that used clothing is “cast off. the most common were those of lamb. they would owe no further taxes or duties. 28–31. and six sous eight deniers a year to the king. and fripe.” lexicographers of old French make the distinction between frepe. 45 Géraud.164 sarah-Grace heller distinguish one pelt dealer from another. placing these artisans at a low status in the fashion system’s hierarchy of producers. 164. and sable. then common squirrel.” “frepaille. alternatively feupe. having made such payments. fox. etienne Boileau’s book of métiers of 1268 refers to them as “frepiers. pp. linen. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. Ferpiers and haubaniers do not appear to have been part of the noble or poetic vocabulary. or farpe. 132.v. linen. rabbit. John of Garland distinguishes three classes of fur: most prized were miniver.” additionally. fourteen to the master of the ferpiers. wildcat. The Dictionarius of John de Garlande.” out of fashion by its nature. who instead of serving an apprenticeship bought the right to sell old and new leather. except in bulk. p. and without prestige. Dictionnaire de l’ancienne langue française. Le livre des métiers. vair. Jean de Garlande.43 The Parisian tax records of 1292–1313 employ the term ferpier to designate used clothing. connoting old worn-out clothing or rags. the latter for frivolous courtiers. This presents the question of whether medieval used clothing.” “friponnier. labor-intensive work.44 The taille of 1292 additionally lists two women who are rag-pickers. 54. courtly works do at times deal with the question of pawning. so it would seem that like raw textiles. modern associations relegate second-hand wardrobes to the indigent. “frepe. furs had little remunerative value. the haubaniers.” “fripelippe. art. familiar from romances. mercers. tawdry. 43 42 . and shoe dealers. pp. felpe. wool. loquetieres. 26. cat. and hare.42 Perhaps the impoverished peletiers engaged in the work of skinning the local cat population.

the knight. discussed below). nor anything else worth a penny that he had not sold or pawned. hearing a tournament announced. and might essentially be considered an informal pawnbroker. discussed in chapter 5. (in renaissance italy.” The tale concerns a knight who depended on tournaments for his living. The narrator criticizes him for it: si ot tot le sien despendu li chevaliers en cel termine. i can’t consider him wise: he pawned his knightly equipment. which attempt to uphold the profession by limiting participants to preudhomes and by an extensive list of anti-fraud measures. nor a surcoat or a fur-lined cape. note that the narrator places his rich clothing first in the list of things to pawn. ne surcot ne chape forree. were they to be pawned or sold. ne li remest mantel hermine. as discussed in chapter 5. si a tot beü et mangié. de ce nel tieg ge mie a saige Que son hermois a engagié. This demonstrates the importance of clothing’s stored value in this period. ne d’autre avoir une denree que trestot n’eüst mis en gaige. who estimates her embroidered cloth to be worth sixty marks when she considers selling it to finance her flight (lines 6593–7). lines 38–46.46 That something similar was true in thirteenth-century Paris is evinced by the statutes of the ferpiers. . pp.47 and so he had spent all his fortune. 196. he drank and ate it all. narrative sources show that many characters were capable of estimating the worth of objects. during a period of peace the knight had to pawn everything. 200. not an ermine cloak remained. Fabliaux érotiques. tournament spending could be ruinous.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 165 which would have involved such merchants at times. according to evelyn Welch. rossi and straub. Shopping in the Renaissance. even for the successful knight. another illustration in keeping with the above conclusions on the noble use of surrogates for shopping is found in a fabliau known as “le chevalier qui faisait parler les cons. the knight turns to his servant huet to figure out how to redeem his equipment. during this period. Unfortunately. lacking lands or vineyards to provide him with rents. There is the example of Fresne in Galeran de Bretagne. almost any merchant or innkeeper accepted pledges of goods against future payments. on this. huet sells his palfrey to settle the debts 46 47 evelyn Welch.

he is going to see his mistress.” said the cunt. Fabliaux érotiques. Qu’il a ceinz en une corroie Por achater robe mardi. What economy-minded huet notices are their dresses. The knight thinks they are joking until he meets a miserly priest who offers him a generous welcome and puts all his wealth at his disposal.49 “my soul. Fabliaux érotiques. sire chevaliers! si li porte de bons deniers: dis livres de bone monoie. for i have never seen any so rich. he takes them back to the knight. who finds the theft utterly un-chivalrous. lines 158–62. Tant sachoiz aler tornoiant! 48 The robes are worth a good hundred pounds. and the audience. lines 284–9. and the ability to make vaginal and rectal orifices speak. something painfully obvious to huet. . on the way. il vait veoir s’amie. The knight returns the outfits. in fourteen and a half years you could not win as much. They grant him three unusual gifts: a joyful welcome wherever he goes. Quar onques plus riches ne vi. huet realizes the fairies were serious. – Par foi. the knight lags pensively behind. leaving them with only twelve deniers until the knight manages to win something. The mare’s orifice replies. huet retorts that he should not think like a drunk: les robes valent bien cent livres. “lord knight! and he is taking her good money: Ten pounds in good coinage. responds that he does not care about money. The servant comes across a fountain where three beautiful naked ladies are bathing. rossi and straub. which he has secured in his belt To buy an outfit on Tuesday. hung in a tree. while huet proceeds on expeditiously. “Where is your master going?” he asks. and realizing that the servant would surely have sold them and made a good profit. the ladies (who do indeed have magical powers) decide to reward him (lines 182–5). devant quatorze anz et demi ne gaaigneroiz vos autant. the narrator. and urges his employer to address the priest’s mare. They set off. no matter how well you know how to joust! The knight. fait li cons. made of beaten gold. in noble fashion.” 48 49 rossi and straub.166 sarah-Grace heller (lines 62–81).

her clothes should actually be locked up and hidden: the wise young woman would not actually pawn or sell them. Le Roman de la Rose. This is understandable to some degree. it was expected that one could sell or pawn clothing easily.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 167 The shamed priest runs away. leaving the knight and huet with coins. never giving away their hearts. if he is not very wise. no one ever laments. with whatever money she him blessed. if he does not redeem her debts.” which might be expressed by a word such as cointe or admiration for its cut or appearance. surcoat. rich clothing. and the young man. . all of which they clearly value as negotiable currency (lines 294–308). meanwhile. se cil ne li reant ses gages. metra tantost main a la bourse ou fera quelque chevissance don li gage aient delivrance .. se mout n’est sages. they resemble the old Woman in the Romance of the Rose. They both see the garments primarily in terms of their exchange value. Por quoi pecune li sait sourse. given that the items would not fit them.. The clothing of three noble ladies is valued at 100 pounds. lines 13727–38. like a wise person. in that. will immediately put his hand to his purse or will find some means by which to deliver her pledges .50 she should complain. who advises young women on how to wring as many gifts as possible out of as many lovers as possible. and mantle ensemble for a priest’s concubine could be purchased for ten pounds. From this illustration it may be observed that clothing had an obvious cash equivalent value to contemporaries.. that they claim her best outfit and pledges back from the usurers every day. a “robe” or gown.. a young woman should play one lover against another: si se complaigne conme sage Que sa meilleur robe et si gage Queurent chascun jour a usure. and mare. don ele est en si grant ardure et tant est ses queurs a mesese Qu’el ne fera riens qui li plese. for she so ardently longs to have them and her heart is so ill at ease that she will do nothing at all to please him. “Where can i find a second-hand clothing dealer?” neither the knight nor his servant value the priest’s or even the ladies’ clothing as “fashionable. she should reserve a 50 de lorris and de meun. et li vallez.

. This suggests the ubiquity of the system. Quel profit i puis autre atendre Fors que d’engagier ou de vendre? 51 The outfits and the grey furs are then hung on the clothes pole. and money to spend. a wimple.” another character in Jean de meun’s continuation of the Rose. trains. se je ne vent tout et engage! car puis que par jor si me nuisent et par nuit point ne me deduisent. in this case. hair accessories. asking him for a silver belt. he rages against the conjugal funds tied up in his wife’s expensive dresses. except to sell or pawn? You will see me burn alive and die of evil rage. the Unhappily married husband in Friend’s discourse. 13487–544). it also suggests that its coexistence with the more fashionably satisfying methods of obtaining 51 de lorris and de meun. The old Woman is concerned elsewhere that a woman look her best. on one hand. hanging in the air all night long. lines 13283–304. like the others. obstinately refusing to perceive anything but its monetary value. a dress. and furs (lines 8809–42). if i don’t sell and pawn it all! since they only vex me by day and by night give me no pleasure. suggests the profound degree to which the second-hand trade penetrated later thirteenth-century French bourgeois society. as well as its dangers on another.168 sarah-Grace heller similar trick for a third sweetheart. however. Toute la nuit pendanz a l’air. This passage. Fors a vendre ou a engagier? vif me vaez vos enragier et morir de la male rage. as discussed in chapter 3. particularly with the use of the alarming and polemical word “usury. she advises readers on how to manipulate the pawn and second-hand clothing system without becoming its victim. What then can all that be worth to me. Que me puet lors tou ce valair. Le Roman de la Rose. what profit can i expect form them except by pawning or selling them? he is a comical character in his denial of her clothing’s fashionable value. sheds different light on the fashionability of potential fripe. at night he dreams of selling or pawning it all: les robes et les pennes grises sunt lores a la perche mises. lines 8843–54. since a fashionable and seductive appearance will guarantee her the requisite lovers (for example.

These demographics suggest that consumers favored shop groupings. . might constitute fashionable novelty for some. maximum fifty sous (paid by one William the crusader. contrasting for example with the universally poor peletiers. 31. and therefore had tempting resale value. if the wife’s clothing was expensive because it was fashionable. 165. The Paris taille records of 1292 show 121 ferpiers. la Ferronerie housed twenty-two. The savvy entrepreneur could clearly make a decent living dealing in used clothing. which allowed for comparison shopping. p. it was not. in order to be fashionable objects. They were primarily to be found at commercial crossroads. some used items obviously had more value than others. the working poor. then. art. as the passage implies. There were very few of them in the densely populated zones of the cité. for he had bought them new” (lines 4541–3). Étienne Boileau. of which sixteen paid 5–36 sous. whether because they are outmoded or simply worn out. items must contrast with objects that are somehow unfashionable. it could be argued that clothing did not necessarily lose its value in passing through the freperie system. a dozen modest ferpiers were located in the student streets of the left Bank. romances make a point of celebrating “new” clothing for great occasions or when a character makes his fortune. buying and selling by candlelight. pp. a less successful group. one tavern-keeper and so on dispersed on each street. sums which stand out in the records as belonging to a class above the menuz genz. Getting at whether “out of date” used clothing was seen to exist is 52 Géraud. Used clothing. and that some ferpiers stood out from others as purveyors of distinction. The royal sumptuary laws of 1279 and 1294 regulate yardage costs according to income categories. dominated by nobles around the royal Palace and clerics by the notre dame complex. such as those of middle incomes. Guillaume croisié). associated with the highest level of display.52 They were apparently still there three decades later. in which Jehan “did not put on old clothes. There were sixteen down the street from the Feronnerie in the charronerie. Le Livre des métiers. suggesting some variation according to skill and entrepreneurship. however.2 sous. average 6. one stitcher. 150–5. which of course made close examination of the merchandise problematic.The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 169 new things was not always peaceable. on the south side of the commercial hub of the cemetary of the innocents. Paris sous Philippe-le-Bel. for instance in the passage from Jehan et Blonde quoted above. rather than in the neighborhoods with one shoemaker. Their demographics resemble those of the tailors. The ferpiers’ median tax was three sous. Four more were in the Place aus Pourciaus (literally the “Pork Plaza”). targeting new clothing rather than used for nobles and prelates with significant rents. The successful ferpiers were clustered on the south end of les halles. The métiers statutes of louis iX’s time denounced a group of peddlers who created a new market in the very small area around saint severin.

with fines for quarrels set at four deniers. The slightly tarnished novelty of high-quality fashionable garments would be a far cry from the rags in which some traded. Le Livre des métiers. who relegated the duties of justice and regulation to his deputy. the glovers. and that some did not. referred to as “ceus qui crient ‘la cote et la chape!’” (those who cry ‘robes and cloaks!’). perhaps to wash them or improve the pile but which would be weakened by the process.” an added insistence which underscores the wide range of affluence in the profession. The 1268 craft statutes of the Parisian frepiers show great efforts to maintain the integrity of the profession. The statutes perform what was probably an uneasy marriage between three types of dealers: the frepiers who followed the usual progression from apprentice to vallet to master. who took the shorter route of paying for the right to sell. the haubaniers. pelts or silver.54 all frepiers were to swear an oath that they would not deal in suspicious merchandise. accept bloody or wet garments unless they could prove whose blood it was or why the items were soaked. 1. The merciers prohibited the covering of used materials (cloth. buy used garments in taverns or brothels or from lepers. the master of the frepiers. 54 53 .170 sarah-Grace heller challenging. which suggests that some frequently did. The chauciers “may line and pad their chauces with two silks.” Étienne Boileau. or the used cloth that some artisans fraudulently used in lining or padding their products to save money. The same was required of the chamberlain’s other métiers. in saint louis’ time the comte d’eu. 159. stating that customers expected new chauces and were disappointed when they found they bought chauces made from poor materials and cannot find the seller.” effectively prohibiting the use of recycled fabric. 159 and 114. hats) with new silk. n. pp. hoops. a list of types of forbidden transactions is given: they are not to fence stolen merchandise. members seem to have lodged many complaints amongst themselves. if such were used. 1. They would also be fined for denegation of the master’s judgment in a trial or complaint. all three were required to purchase the right to be dealers from the Grand chamberlain. Le Livre des métiers. 55 Étienne Boileau. it was specified “whether rich or poor. provided that they be new and satisfactory. They were also to refuse items that had been fraudulently re-conditioned: woolens that had been fulled a second time. The tax records suggest that some fripe had noteworthy desirability for consumers. 162. broader than for many. or fabrics that had been subjected to forbidden caustic dyes such as caldron black. n. p. and pelt-dealers. it also suggests the vastly different types of used products they might sell. The control of fraud and Étienne Boileau. considerably more than the ten to fifteen typical of many professions.53 For the frepiers. shoemakers. and the street peddlers. They were obviously a diverse group requiring significant supervision. p. pp. 159–61. given the limits of the extant evidence.55 The frepiers’ statutes are lengthy: thirty-four. the product would be burnt. The métier prohibited peddling. or church vestments unless they had been properly withdrawn from church use. Le Livre des métiers. “losing their money.

The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 171 “dishonest” materials are a prominent feature in much of the contemporary craft regulation. therefore fashionable. cheapening the product. signals that a process of democratization of fashion was under way. even the king and his closest counselors profited from it. chauciers. 797–810. attractive product or one destined for ordinary folk. not just to the elite who expected the finest quality. To conclude. 56 ménard. tailors and others could be poor or wealthy. he says his horse is worth 60 sous. or it could be useless for anything but padding.56 This means sudden death for the mercer too. if the 1292 taille of Paris represented approximately one-fiftieth of each taxpayer’s income. whether by offering ready-to-wear options. however. “le ‘dit du mercier’. sources of distinction and novelty. mercers. the use of recycled materials obtained through the freperie system by various professions suggests a key role to the fashion system: by limiting production costs in this way. merchants would be able to sell to a broader variety of customers of differing income levels. The “dit du Pauvre mercier” tells of a mercer who can barely afford to keep his horse in oats. it played a major role in alimenting the vestimentary needs of this culture. unless one was content to place oneself in the hands of the ferpiers. and so could subsist on less. fulfilling criteria 1 to 5. where a wolf devours it. there were indeed mercers and other merchants in Paris who had annual incomes of only 50 sous. residing in a major city such as Paris one might not need a horse to travel between fairs. and would have been hard pressed to buy a new horse. he leaves it in a pasture outside a rural fair. or by providing materials to lower costs and increase availability of products. medieval French fripe ran the gamut: it could be highly desirable. in any case. of course. There was no one-stop shopping in high medieval Paris. as well as capital and entrepreneurship. although it does not seem to have furnished the finest or most admired objects of consumption and display.” pp. . the divergence in incomes points to divergence in quality and product prestige. depending on whether they offered an innovative. it seems to have involved all ranks of society. while lamentable from an artistic standpoint. now lacking transportation from market to market. reflecting anxiety on the part of consumers. and illustrating the developing fashion system of thirteenth-century France. for better or worse.

camille enlart praised the dress of this period. The Culture of Fashion. 2 1 . Bumke has taken issue with the characterization of this period’s style as unisex. Le costume en France. his wife madame François Boucher concluded that “the thirteenth century brought but few new elements and notable changes” in the area of dress. shapeless.000 Years of Fashion.2 such views arise partly from the relative scarcity of extant visual evidence from the thirteenth century compared with subsequent periods. p. unisex clothing. systematic. Views of thirteenth-century appearance some have described the thirteenth century as a time of stasis in dress and adornment. 93. at times. examined closely any particular styles.7 The seduction of the Well-draped Form This book has argued that a fashion system was nascent in the growing urban areas of France from the later twelfth century and had become a dominant. rather than a lack of style or fashion. ary renan similarly states that there were no essential changes in costume from the twelfth to the thirteenth century. as well as. it has not.” 1 François Boucher asserted that costume remained more or less constant from antiquity to the fourteenth century. p. up to this point. 8. the art of clothing like the other arts finds its beauty in simplicity. 139. voluminous lines of thirteenth century styles. societal force in urban areas by the later thirteenth century. it has done this by looking at expressions of desire related to elements of a fashion system. in particular the reactions to increased supply and greater variety in fabrics. Courtly Culture.” p. superficial understanding. renan. p. Boucher. This final chapter proposes a revised look at the styles of the thirteenth century. saying that such views are based on misunderstood evidence. contrasting it with the twelfth century’s intricacies of pleated bliauds and embroidered and enameled accessories: “in the thirteenth century. in the long.3 others have seen elegance. the initial result in part of the desires for increasing fashionable activity. characterized long. 13. By its Breward. 197. 20. 3 Bumke. “le costume au temps de saint louis. madame François Boucher. p. christopher Breward described the styles predating the fourteenth century as “simple and functional.

elizabeth Wilson. Women’s Costume in French Texts. a view critiqued by Bumke for concentrating on religious sculptural evidence to the detriment of literary records. Adorned in Dreams. where he speaks only briefly of the “courtly period. 58–62. 205–8. ruppert et al. austerity represents a reaction to the norm rather than the norm itself.” book-ended by the “turn of the millennium” and the fourteenth century. Goddard noted a “much greater simplicity of style” in contrast with earlier times. p. Manuel d’archéologie française. James laver discussed the twelfth and fourteenth centuries in some detail but never even mentioned the thirteenth. 150. 11 Boehn. the thirteenth century was the time of fashion’s flowering. vol. p. while likewise noting many changes and diversifications particularly in men’s and women’s head-dressing styles in the thirteenth century. saying that in the thirteenth century costume was characterized by a general yearning for elegance. such as the Franciscans. pp. vol. viollet-le-duc. pp. p.” 4 Jacques ruppert offered a similar view. Bumke. Courtly Culture.9 The popularity of ostensibly austere orders prominent in this period.8 Joinville’s account of the reign of saint louis only features the king’s austerity. or neglected it. 8 Ibid.6 e. Le Costume français. The first thing he emphasized about thirteenth-century dress is enlart. 40. Modes and Manners. commerce and industry. others have followed suit.” represents a different view. 10. 7 Goddard. 166–257.” pp. 4. pp. 6 evans. 5 4 . which is moreover offered as a virtuous contrast to the extravagant dress of his men.11 The archivist Jules Quicherat. 3. Dictionnaire raisonné du mobilier français de l’époque carlovingienne à la renaissance. a time of unprecedented wellbeing and prosperity.. for example in max von Boehn’s monumental four-volume work Modes and Manners. a time of capable kings. contrasting with the fluttering silks of the romanesque period. 9 Jean de Joinville. other authors have simply avoided the thirteenth century.5 Joan evans has attributed the “sculptural” simplicity of the “Gothic Period (1179–1328)” to the heavy draperies in woolen cloth. the dominicans. however.7 she referred to a “tendency towards severity of dress corresponding to the general austerity of the reign of saint louis. but he only speaks of a “simplesse” characteristic of the early thirteenth century. This demonstrates the larger number of changes in fashion and details of the silhouette that he considered worth documenting. 38. 10. p. From Quicherat’s perspective. Dress in Medieval France. “la vie de saint louis. the Beguins and others. 16–20.10 The middle ages are often treated as monolithic. three were dedicated to this era. r. p. Whereas he devoted one chapter to the twelfth century. vol..The develoPmenT oF shoPPinG 173 supreme elegance this period rivals Greek antiquity. 10 James laver. 214. p.” citing viollet-le-duc. and when the growth of the money economy outstripped that of the land economy. also reveals the exception more than the rule. 14. p. in calling the period from 1190 to 1340 the “Période brillante du moyen age. 1. Costume and Fashion.


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that luxury and the taste for finery invaded all classes, and this is a point he repeatedly stressed, evoking criterion 10. he remarked at one point, after quoting Guillaume le Breton and nicholas de Bray’s accounts of seeing silks and bright fabrics on nobles, bourgeois, and peasants alike on the occasions of festivities, that class conflict was not unique to recent times.12 if fashion is primarily a conceptual system, it is not surprising that there are inadequacies in efforts to describe the dress styles of the long thirteenth century based on small and cartoon-like miniature paintings, and sculptures that have lost much of their polychrome and detail, and which were not necessarily intended as representations of contemporary secular fashion in the first place. if fashionable novelty and change is best and most commonly experienced in the details, forms of evidence that neglect or have lost their details do not provide a thorough impression. as this study has argued, much of the pleasure of fashion lies in the realm of expression, and thereby the imagination. To attain a proper conception of thirteenth-century style, one must look beyond the silhouette to how it might be subtly manipulated, and beyond the dominant materials to how their purchase and utilization fed contemporary imaginations.

The well-covered form
The long thirteenth century was a great period for fabric. as Bumke remarks, precious fabrics cut in voluminous styles were of as much interest to poets and their audiences as actual garments.13 Trade was flourishing, markets expanding, and quality was high, possibly unsurpassed before or after. To illustrate, it is worth examining what contemporaries viewed as problems in the relations between producers and purveyors, and consumers. such conflicts offer a window on to what was valued, as well as its opposite, what disappointed and angered. The craft statutes which began appearing in Paris under the prévôté of etienne Boileau in 1268 and were regularly renewed or augmented in subsequent years feature great anxiety about “false” cloth, a problem noted in chapter 6. high quality and artisanal integrity were great priorities. This is illustrated by two statutes from a different source, the customary law book known as the Etablissements de Saint Louis, in the section imparting the Customs of Touraine and Anjou. statute 151 concerns false methods of measuring cloth, imposing a fine of sixty sous on merchants who carry a false yardstick. The following statute, “152. on a judgment for false dealing in cloth,” adds complication to the notion of “false,” however:

12 13

Quicherat, Histoire du costume en France, pp. 177–8. Bumke, Courtly Culture, pp. 132–4, 150–2.

The sedUcTion oF The Well-draPed Form


marcheanz qui porte faus dras à vendre, et il en provez par les marcheanz drapiers qui bien avront queneü que li drap sunt faus par lor sairemanz, la joutise si doit faire les dras ardoir, à veüe et à saüe de marcheanz et d’autres genz; et si en paiera cil qui les avra aportez lX s. d’amende à la joutise. et s’il estoit provez que cil meïsmes les aüst faiz qui les avroit aportez, il em perdroit le poing par droit, por ce qu’il avroit ouvré come faus et come lerres. [a merchant who takes false cloth to sell, and it is proved against him by merchant drapers who have affirmed that the cloth is false by their oath, the judge should have the cloth burned, in the sight and to the knowledge of the merchants and other people; and the person taking it [to sell] must pay the judge a fine of sixty sous. and if it were proved that the same person who was taking it to sell had manufactured it, he would by law lose his hand, because he had acted as a falsifier and a thief].14

mutilation as punishment for fraudulent cloth dealing is exceptionally draconian in this case. more common punishments for trade crimes in high medieval France would have been destruction of the offending article (burning, as here), imprisonment, and monetary fines.15 The harshness of the threat, even if it were not carried out, suggests the level of outrage that unacceptable cloth could arouse from those in power, and indeed the expectation that consuming cloth should be such a pleasurable or satisfying experience that disappointment would demand proportionate revenge. Beyond use of improper measuring methods, which are a concern in legal texts as old as deuteronomy (25.13–16), there were many ways in which cloth could be false in thirteenth-century France. although the word “drap” specified in the statute refers to wool cloth, compare this regulation for the silk weavers: “iv. no mistress of the craft shall mix common thread (fil) with silk, nor inferior silk (flourin) with silk, because such work is false and bad, and should be burned if it is discovered.” 16 in this context the term “false” is used with regard to mixing fibers, or making cheap synthetics. other trades were concerned with the quality of invisible aspects of their products. as mentioned in chapter 6, artisans such as armorers prohibited the use of recycled linings or paddings in quilting (for example in the gambaisons worn under armor) as false.17 The merciers considered false any work that used cheap inner supports, or like the silk weavers, mixed inappropriate materials:
vi. nus ne nulle dudit mestier ne puet faire chapiaus ne ataches ne treçons sus parchemin ne sus toile; ne ne puet metre aveqes fines pelles fausses pelles
akehurst, The Etablissements de Saint Louis, p. 97. see also related statutes from normandy, another key cloth producing region: de Gruchy, L’ancienne coutume de Normandie, pp. 46–7. 16 Étienne Boileau, Le Livre des métiers, p. 74. 17 lespinasse and Bonnardot, Les métiers et corporations de la ville de Paris, XIV–XVe siècle, vol. 2, p. 319.
15 14


sarah-Grace heller

blanches ne dorées, s’elles ne sont d’argent: car telles euvres sont fausses, et doivent estre copés et depeciées. [6. no man or woman of said craft may make hats (chapiaus) or laces (ataches) or hair ribbons (treçons) on parchment or on cloth (toile); nor shall he or she put fine pelts (pelles) with false white or gilt pelts, unless they are of silver: for that is false work, and must be cut up and disassembled].18

here again, this evinces anxiety over mixing of higher and lower quality materials to pollute the work. Yet another type of “false work” can be found in the thirteenth-century regulations of the Paris dyers, a group responsible for an essential element of cloth value (as discussed in chapter 4), which specify that certain dye ingredients should not be used, including a type of alum (bouqam), and a particular vegetable dye (fuel de fuelle).19 in contrast, the linen dealers had a protectionist policy, as did many groups, prohibiting fibers from certain regions: “no one may or should bring linen to Paris from spain or noyon for sale, because those types of linen are false and bad, and were tested long ago.” 20 This suggests some of the distance that raw materials were traveling to manufacturing centers engaging in quality finishing work. The embroiderers in 1316 set very strict quality standards for their luxury products, specifying that the work must be done in small stitches, and with the highest quality thread of “heart of silk” or gold, costing no less than ten sous per spool, because otherwise “such work is false, and it disappoints gentlemen.” 21 here, it becomes clear that customer satisfaction motivates the regulation. “False” can connote “disappointing” as well as deliberately deceitful. The mestiers documents show great concern for maintaining Parisian craft reputations as renowned producers of luxury goods. The anjou-Touraine region was not as vigorous a manufacturing area as Paris or the low countries, but as the custom implies that the merchants involved might not just be dealers, but might have manufactured the cloth themselves, the term “false,” in établissement 152, may very well refer to this broad variety of ways in which cloth might be deceitful. This commercial climate, reacting to consumer demands for authentic colors and textile quality, was one where fabric itself was a primary focus of fashionable experimentation and consumption. in the thirteenth century, the fashionable line was directed by the quantity of quality fabric an individual could manage to drape upon his or her body and its general proximity, including home, town, and companions. mireille madou argues that the transition between the twelfth century and the period 1200–1340 was a time when extravagant forms were abandoned for a while, as silk’s popularity gave way to that of wool, which
Étienne Boileau, Le Livre des métiers, p. 158. Étienne Boileau, Le Livre des métiers, p. 112. 20 Étienne Boileau, Le Livre des métiers, p. 118. 21 lespinasse and Bonnardot, Les métiers et corporations de la ville de Paris, XIIV-XVe siècle, vol. 2, p. 319.
19 18

The sedUcTion oF The Well-draPed Form


simplified design lines due to wool’s greater weight and consequent tendency to drape. she signals the “foolish virgins” on the portals on strasbourg cathedral as the best representation of thirteenth-century style.22 anne hollander similarly characterized the thirteenth century as a period that favored rich, heavy, voluminous fabric over bodily flesh in its aesthetics, spurning nudity.23 The simplicity and lack of silhouette variation that some have perceived for the period is better viewed as an impulse on the part of the fashionable to array the body (and its surrounding area, from head to horse) in as much fine fabric as possible. This is further supported by thirteenth-century sumptuary laws of France and of the cities of occitania and italy. as this book has argued, these laws focused the major part of their energies on limiting yardages which could be consumed in an outfit, and the cost of fabric per yard each person of a given status and income category could spend. This approach contrasts with later laws across europe, which tended to restrict particular styles and materials.24 one example of the trend towards maximizing the fabric quantity on the body is the fascination with garment linings. detachable sleeves and cotes were lined in cendal, a lightweight silk, in contrasting colors that would peek out when the wearer moved. Prestigious fur linings have already been discussed at some length. The changing, two-toned grey squirrel fur known as vair (from latin varium, referring to its variegated color effect) was particularly prized, teasing the eye rather like contrasting silk linings. Fur linings would certainly have augmented the already heavy drape of fulled woolens, adding to the desirable impression of volume. stylish women’s trains dragged on the ground in this period (as could men’s, for instance in the tale from the Cent nouvelles nouvelles cited in chapter 6). Trains are portrayed as the height of elegance in Jean renart’s Lai de l’ombre (1221–22): “The noble (preus) and courtly lady had put on a white and pleated shift (chainsse) whose train draped behind her almost six feet” (“pres d’une toise,” lines 314–16).25 casting aspersions on the look, the thirteenth-century dominican preacher Étienne de Bourbon compares women in trains unfavorably to beasts with tails: when women extend their “tails” like peacocks, what they really display is their dishonor (turpitudinem).26 in a sermon praising John the Baptist, maurice de sully, bishop of Paris during the reigns of louis vii and Philip augustus, similarly condemned trains as “prideful clothing.” Miparties27 and dagged and slashed garments also received scorn as wasteful, with the logic that excess fabric could clothe the poor.28 if the preachers had
madou, Le costume civil, pp. 24–5. hollander, Seeing Through Clothes, pp. 15–17. 24 heller, “sumptuary legislation in France, languedoc and italy.” 25 Jean renart, Le Lai de l’ombre. 26 etienne de Bourbon, Anecdotes historiques, p. 234. 27 Garments featuring blocks of color seamed along (centre) axes, creating a half-andhalf effect. 28 robson, Maurice of Sully, p. 173.
23 22

such affordable baubles present a means of individual expression differentiating the surface of a more rarely changed outfit (criterion 3). fantasized. The way that vestimentary portraits confer status on characters also works according to this principle. which identifies constant criticism of fashionable behavior as one of the forces that perpetuates the system. which in turn fulfills criterion 7. “not used” clothes. from Jehan’s delight in getting new.178 sarah-Grace heller had the terminology at hand they might have used veblen’s formula and called such ostentatious deployment (criterion 6) of richly woven and dyed cloth “conspicuous waste. engaged this principle. and moreover gave fashionable value to those items. suggest both criterion 1 and criterion 8. it was also the pride they inspired. that consumption becomes an opportunity for individual expression within a context of social imitation. is present on many levels. The market for love gifts and small but eye-catching personal trinkets such as the wares of the mercer also testify to the relevance of criterion 5. can also observed in the rhetoric of amplified portraiture. that changes occur in the details rather than the larger silhouette. and a vernacular narrative tradition that celebrated. and the dismay of moralists at new styles of “prideful” clothing. Conclusion The criteria for a fashion system are in evidence in various types of French texts from the thirteenth century. didactic and moralizing texts that complain that “everyone” is showing outrageous behavior with regard to consumption and display strike at the paradox of attempting individual expression within a climate of conformity. that consumption in a fashion system becomes tied to emotional well-being. There was both a real market for small.” as their outcries imply that it was waste. in which each hero or heroine is developed following a formulaic pattern. That lexicon equally testifies to the presence of criterion 2. There is certainly evidence that the trend for draping the body in more fabric than it could physically accommodate. as with trains. to the embrace of novelty evident in the lexicon of “new” and “fresh” which is prominent in the poetic tradition. criterion 1. The scorn heaped on characters who avariciously or neglectfully persist in wearing old garments. yet each given certain unique details or accessories of unusual fabrication. that made these garments sinful. a fashion system thrives on controversy (criterion 8). criterion 3. of course (criterion 4). The unique details manipulated by individuals within military and other “uniform” codes of dress are similarly best understood through the logic of criterion 3. that words constitute the economy of the . and allow a broader and broader portion of the populace (criterion 10) access to the emotional satifaction of minor but regular novelty (criterion 4). in part. Both the excitement at new clothes and the dismay over them suggest criterion 4. rejection of the recent past. relatively affordable luxury items. the constant desire for change.

” is perhaps the finest expression of that principle. . speaks to the presence of criterion 9. that consumption is associated with seduction. being confined to certain urban centers. moreover. a cultural notion so strong that the mal marié could hardly help but be jealous when his wife receives gifts. The strong association of such accessories with lovers. “keep yourself cointe according to your income. The desire for novelty and distinction had already put many of mechanisms of production and consumption into place that would allow later revolutions in style to occur. The importance of dress and grooming in the God of love’s instructions to the lover. The label “nascent fashion” is certainly appropriate for the centuries prior to 1350. But the Western fashion system was already functioning on numerous levels well prior to the vestimentary revolutions associated with the advent of more exaggerated tailoring in the mid-fourteenth century.The sedUcTion oF The Well-draPed Form 179 system. and to the theatrical stages (criterion 8) of the urban and courtly milieux. and recur. the fashion system was far from universal in France at this time. it can hardly be denied that many further developments in fashion were yet to come.


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149–53 Barnard. 95. 110. 142–7 avignon. and change in male dress. 89. 20–1 Barons. 62. 53–4. 128. 43 Baumgartner. 30. 105 Bastide. 97–100. 133. 161 Blanc. 157–8 Bayeux Tapestry. 117. 145–6. 79. allegorical figure. 113. 58 Bargaining. sin. 154 Blacksmiths. 57 airas. dominique. 88 Beds. 96 Baubles. 145. 71. 109. 125. 108–9. as gifts. miniatures arthurian themes. 94 Blasme des Fames. 116–17. 52 avoleza (lowness or vulgarity). 127 Balzac. odile. 34 aquitaine. Jean. 140. 113. 49. see also Armor arnobius the elder. 119. 130. 123. 149 Bezant. 125 arras. allegorical figure. allegorical figure. allegorical figure. 147 Bathing. 89. 85. 73–7. 122 Barthes. 89 ami (Friend). 12. 158 Birds. 99. malcolm. 74 . 77. 23–4. 138–40. 74. 96. 153 abulafia. 77. 72 Aliscans. 143–4 artifice. david. 102. 150 alum. 130. 125 see also horses. 31. 40– 1. charles. 157 amazons. 131 Biauté (Beauty). allegorical figure. 104–5 armor. 80–1. 103. 127. 65. 106–7. 94. 65. in Roman de la Rose. 61. 73. 78. 43–4 Baudrillard. roland. 103. see also visual evidence. 87–90. 117 Aucassin et Nicolette. 109 aberdeen. 123 Belts. 92 Bien des Fames. 37. 112. 146. 50. 57 alms purses (aumônières). 136–7 Bartélemy. michael and ariane. 38. 179 see also Love animals. 178 Aventure. 35–7. 176 Amadas et Ydoine. cloth measure. 15. 147. 75. 116. livestock anjou-Touraine. 40. 71. 155. 166. 59 Banking. John W. 126 Bags see alms purses. 112 Bel accueil (Fair Welcoming). 71. 153. 56 arab gold. women’s moveable wealth. honoré de. 62–3. 175 arms. 48–9 armorers. emmanuèle. 99. 49. 155. 103. 174–6 Antioche. 94. allegorical figure. 17. 78–9 Le Bel Inconnu. 124–6 appadurai. 178 Baudelaire. 151. Peter. 136 Baldwin. 133. 16. 111. 168 see also Mal Marié amor (god of love). 140 art history.index abelard. 175. 137 avarice. 166 Batterberry. sold in Paris. 140 Babylon (cairo). 152 alum. purses Bailli. 108. Song of. 129. 100 Aumônières. 163 Béroul. 11–12.. 29. 76. 75. 106. 66–7. mario. see alms purses aune. 63. 118. arjun.

152. 51. 170 Bruges. 25–9 chrétien de Troyes. 21. 4. 89. 155. coco. Fernand. 94. 149. 26 china. Jacques. 80–2. 38. 65. 154 coinage. in sumptuary laws. 85. 132. 169 cendal. 166 see also marks. michael. as character. Joachim. fashion and fur traders in. development of. 176 Chappes. see also Cligès. 3 n. christopher. 154 Brothels. frequency of. 139. 78 canada. 64. 80–1. 74. 83. 19 cloth trade. 174. 168. concept of (criterion 2). Couronnement de Louis. 147 Boutiques. equated with nudity. 171 Chausses. 69–70. 2 n. 169 champagne. 177 Chainse. mentioned. François. 33. e. selling by. as consumers. 138. 75–6. money Cointerie. danielle. chroniclers. 68. herbert. 84. aubrey. 83–4. 19. 23 candles. 53 Byzantium. 166. 137. and minting. 19. 126. 155. 142–3. 45 Boileau. 150 see also status clerics. 75. 5. 157 Les Chétifs. imitation (criterion 3). 70. type of silk. 155 chanel. 108– 10. métier. 140 codpiece. 74. 177 Cent nouvelles nouvelles. 38. 161–2. 145. 47 de caluwé. 139. chapiaus. 54 Boots. 159. 156. 146–7. 146 Châtelaine de Vergy. 31. 172. mentioned. 73. 94. vestments. 102 see also chapels. 164 cemetary of the innocents. 40. 173. flowers cities. 6. Enfances Vivien. Grand. 71. 158 Bloch. 4. 114. 146 chartres. see also silhouette changing of clothes. fermals). 23 capitalism. 42–5. 4. 157. 50. 74. 151 cobezesa (covetousness). 22. 128. 23. 142. 126 Blumer. 152 Buttons. 4. 172 Brooches (fermails. 48–9. 19–21. 169 cannon. marc. Jane. 124 “le chevalier qui faisait parler les cons. 140. 157 see also chauciers Chemise. 158. 141. 150–1. 152 see also Aliscans. 56–7. 80–1.” 165 children. 80–1. 123. cap. 155. 10. 60 Burns. 6. 116. as economically savvy. 121. 170 circlets. 128–31. 161 clock. 87. 143–6 choice. court of. 57. 8. 72. courts of. 89 Braudel. defined 2 n. as birthplace of fashion. and emotions (criterion 4).198 sarah-Grace heller Bliaut. 144 Burgundy. chaplet. 78. Moniage Guillaume Chapel. 69. 95–119 . 139 cats. 27. 100 chauciers. 82 Bourdieu. money of. 122 civetot. 18. 12. Beau. invention of. 35. 144–5. mentioned. 144 camille. 50. as gift. 151 Bumke. 121. Livre des Métiers. 121. 160 Cligès. 172. 33 Bourgeoisie. fashion in. Glyn. candlelight. 66–8 Chansons de geste. 164. 57. 77 Book production. 83. 55. 155 Brummel. 126 class consciousness. etienne. 49. reign of. 131. 125 calico. 80. 98. 112. 85. 66–7. 124. 65 charlemagne. embourgeoisement. 4. Erec et Enide church. defined. 153. 158. undergarment covering legs. 159–60. 87. 46. 44 Brunete. livres. Huon de Bordeaux. 107. 63. 39. 86. Pierre. fashion in. 94. 80. 130. 44 change. 48 Breward. Girart de Vienne. tax exempt. 157–8 Buschinger. 4 Boucher. 156. vs. type of wool. made by women. as consumers. 157 Branches des royaux lignages. garment covering legs. 52. 141. 23. coaches. outer tunic. 157. 172 Bourbon. 156 Braies. 80–1. head ornament. 39 coiffes. 174 Burgess. 22. and taxes paid to king. defined. 177 chambellan (chamberlain). 12. 48 chivalric culture. 4. allegorical figure. undergarment. 151. 121–2.

coteriaux.indeX 199 cologne. 37–8. proper conduct. 178. 19. self and renaissance. reaction to change. prohibited. gifts to. 49. 58. 23. 89. 15 deduit. charles. 143 Dictionnaire sententieux. 30 see also moralists crowns. 86. allegorical figure. 103. 82. 178. circlets crusades. technology. embroidered objects. 94 cosmetics. dating birth of fashion to. 85. 175 duby. 113. 171 department stores. 79. 12. financing. law books. 130. and pleasure. 124 crusade cycle. 75. 114–15. 66. 150 england. 170 see also pers. 31 de dia. 137. 80. 155. 44 democratizing force. coteles. 92 courtly culture. 151. lai de. 69–70. see shoemakers corseting. 115 demi-monde. 9. métier. 44 dante alleghieri. defined. 97. 75–6. 57–8. 12 debts. 46 designers. fashion in. 138. 4. 163 courtesans. Individual expression “dit du mercier. 74 see also necklaces companions. 49 ellehauge. allegorical figure. 127.” 154–5 “dit du Pauvre mercier. importance of 3. 131. 100 dice. 6. 46 n. commercial. color dyers. 171 see also Bourdieu. saint. roger. 102 see hanaps. 41 Couturiers see stitchers. 87 eleanore of aquitaine. e. heraldry in. 149–50. 177. 96 see also dye collars. of men. 41. 126. 91 customaries. 173–4 effros. 52 courtoisie (courtesy). 63. coins of. 9. designers covetousness. 155 dictionaries. 11 disguise. 139 Courraiers. old French. 156 criteria for Fashion system. martin. of carthage. courtly.” 171 douai. and dating of fashion. 103 see also chapels. 139. 85. Jon. 26. 142 Crepiniers. 165. 176 emotions. métier. 138–42 craft statutes. 177–8. role in fashion (criterion 4). comtessa (Béatrice). 172–3 embroidery. 93 envy. 131–2 dragonetti. 25 Desiré. 65. 105. 70. 127 dowries. 20 see also imitation conspicuous consumption. cyclical. robert. 55. 172 embroiderers. 112. 129 complaints. 172 Enfances Vivien. 76 . 151. 172 entertainment. 153. 53 decorative art. 4 douglas. 58. 134. 161. 41. 1–2. 87 elegant. 144. 159 coulson. 161 earth. 83. 57. growth of. 106. see métiers craik. 111–12. see also Veblen Contenance des Fames. First. 87 Le Couronnement de Louis. Third. 16 crane. tableware curtius. belt makers. allegorical figure. mentioned in texts. 5. 6. inde. 8–10 criticism of fashion (criterion 8). 92. 73–4. 134 color. mary. 102 courtly love. 43–5. thirteenth-century style. 96. 178 enamel. 117. Jennifer. 93–4 Cordouanniers. 63. 124. 27. susan. 124–7 cups. 157 devleeshouwer. 135 dye. 105–6 dancing. Bonnie. fashion as. 170–1 conformity. 9. 39. 78.. 174–5 cyprian. makers of crespinetes (netted hair ornaments). mentioned in texts. 75. roman use. 140–1 dandy. 53–4 credit. list of. fashion as (criterion 10). 1 drapers. 89. 86. 33. 167 décolletage. 118 economy. 140 dahlberg. Goerges. r. 52–3. 66–7. thirteenth-century styles. 78. 83. 152 distinction. free market. 159. 52. 9. camille. 20 Cote. undyed wool. 25–9. term. 87. 54. 40–1. 88 enlart. 135.

113. 113. 163 Gambaisons. merchants of. 134. 113 Franchise (openness). 135. hats or wreaths of. 94. allegorical figure. see Generosity Food. Grand chamberlain. 98 Fief. 3–4. women Generosity. 174–5 Flamenca. see also companions Gilles le muisis. 5. 134. 5. 144–5 Girdles.” 2 Gaul. 170 Godbout. allegorical figure. 168 Grooming. 39. 123 Guilds. 158. 12 Furs. 78. 154. sumptuary legislation. 121. 11 eyewitness account. 57. 63 Gift culture. 174 eu. 73. 121–2. fur. english. 12. 77–9. 122. 164. lai de. 177 etienne de Fougères. 39. 127. 132. 121 Gender. 25–6.. 27 Gregory of nyssa. 150 Fortune. see métiers Guillaume de Dole. 144. 140 see also avarice. 151. 133. 74. 138. 27–9. 133. thread. 159. 142. sheepskin. 164 see also ermine. 123. sable. antoine. 70. 175 Garden. 137– 8. 144 Graindor de douai. 103. 143 Godfrey of Bouillon. 178. topos of “locus amoenus. 74. 146 see also rente Fines. 39. Frédéric. 142. 174–6 French cultural identity. vair Galeran de Bretagne. 113. Trubert Fads. 123. see Roman de la Rose . 104–5 Fraud. 63. lamb. lai de. Joan. 103. Du Vilain Asnier. 125. Philip. allegorical figure. J.200 sarah-Grace heller epic see chansons de geste Erec et Enide. 71–3. 173 exaggeration (criterion 6). 177. stephen Jay. 129. 12 Floire et Blanchefleur. and seduction. 5. 57 Germanic tribes. 127 Godefroy. 150. in mercery. lovers’ gifts. vs. 34. most and least prized. 133–4. 157 L’Escoufle. 32–3. 155. lining mentioned in texts. 49 Fole largece. 123. 127. and cointerie. 131 Friedman. 165 Galoshes. count of. 130. 176. 126. Unwise Generosity (Fole largece). lionel. 179 exotic. 176. 80–5. 164. 162. 121 Gris. 123. 142. 139. 126. 12. 80. of First crusade. 124. 113. 94. gris. 54. 159. 50. allegorical figure. 176. 171 “false” work. 130. 142 Flowers. 11–13. see also chapels Flugel. 124 Gold. 170–1. use in exchange. fashion in. 170 evans. edmond. 158–9 Etablissements de Saint Louis. 106–11. 110. Le Chevalier qui faisait parler les cons. 140 Grierson. Jacques. 153 Gonfalon. 142. 128. 9. 162 Flanders. 68. see fraud Faral. 138. 136. 172. 133–4. 166–7 Fairs. raoul. 17–18 Faux semblant (False seeming). 151. gilt. 92. 121. 99. 157. 89 Gothic style. 78–9. 162. 158. see brooches Feudal ceremony. 62. 179 see also hairdressing Guigamor. 149. c. 140. Jean. 28. king of Jerusalem. 106–7. 167–8. fashion and. ambiguity. 137. 141 etienne Boileau. 143 Girart de Vienne. 146–7. 93. 131. 91 Fashion. 51 Le Fresne. 174 etienne de Bourbon. 159. 124 Fabliaux see Dit du Pauvre Mercier. 152 see also spurs Goldsmiths. 113. 107. 102 Glaber. definitions of. 128. desire for. 73. 173 Graelent. miniver fur. 154. fashion in. 71–2. 69. 131. see Méliador Furetière. gown of. 120. 153. 56 Gloves. covetousness Greenblatt. 137–9. 63. 147 Fripe see used clothing Froissart. 140 Germany. 138 ermine. see also Largece Genoa. cloth of. 5. 114–15 Fermails. 124–6 Greed. 15 Fairies. 153. to host. see also men. 116. 127–31. neckline pins. 21.

139. 116. 143. 53. allegorical figure. 154 see also chapels. 177 horgan. 94. 133. 176 lacing. 8. 64 Lai de l’Ombre. 135. roman. 64 see also chausses huizinga. king of France. notion of. 5–6. 162. 64. 173. as occasion for new things. 177 Jacques de vitry. 134–8. sumptuary laws. caroline. Jean de. 73–4. destriers (chargers or battle horses) 125. roman. accessories 101. 149. see also Leesce harf-lancner. saddles. 168. 79. 130 harnesses. 128–31. 86. 177 Lai du Trot. pawning. 11. 115. allegorical figure. 47 islamic world. 7 industrial revolution. 105 horses. 145. 56 see also grooming hats. 53. Jennifer m. 21–4. 70. 47. cheval. 98 hollander. 100 haine (hate). 155. 96. 145. as accessories. Frances. and birth of fashion.indeX 201 ou de Guillaume de Dole Guillaume de lorris. 174 Guillaume Guiart. 52. 46. 48 italy. 162–3 Jewers. allegorical figure. 96 Kerchiefs. 178. 76. 140 hitchcock. 89 Guillem iX. 141. 23 Huon de Bordeaux. 12. as gifts. 100. 133–9. 96 see Leesce. 98 income. expression (criterion 3). 164 John of reading. 90 hemp. see chapels. fashion in. hairdressing les halles. 140 Guillaume le Breton. 165. 88–9. erich. 116. coiffes heers. in sumptuary laws. 154 Knighting. 177 Jehan et Blonde. 92 Journalism. stirrups. talking. 78. sold in Paris. 142. emotion. social (criterion 3). 111 laces (ataches). 96. louis. pawned. 57 hegel. douglas. 166. 173 Jones. 90–2. 110. anne.. roberta. mounts corresponding to character. as gifts (joias. 92. 132. 12–13 Jealousy. of fashion. 169 hanaps. 113 see also grooming idleness. 152. jewelry Juvenal. 113. 79. 116 hairdressing.jouyaux. to achieve fit. dark blue tint. 159. 133 happiness. 100 . coiffes. laurence. 108 Javeau. 150. 8 Joy. 94. 139 hunt. 8. 151. 116 Lai on cobra. 171 hose. 77. mentioned in texts. 74. 161. 28. 154 heraldic emblems. 46 international trade. Jacques. 55 hats. 153 hilary of Poitiers. 163. 125. palfrey (riding horses). 51 Joinville. 165. 101. alan. loss of. 157. 143 Krueger. pack animals. 171. 178. 128–31. 101–2. mentioned in texts. fashions in men’s. 127. 133–4. fashion in. 68 John of Garland. 152–4. 65 Knives. 94. 113. 150. 141. 132–6. 48 individual. 143 helmets. 31. 106. 61– 2. 124–5 Jewelry. 40. 89. 88. 127. 155 see also harnesses. 42–3 Jonece (Youth). archbishops keeping expensive horses. Jehan. 86 Jean de meun. 146–7 hygiene. 32 hjelmslev. 154–5. accessories for. 67 Japan. claude. 151 harris. 48 Jason. 156. 178 Jerkin. see also rentes Inde. 135–8 Knights. 154–5 Köhler. Song of (Chanson de). 68. juyaus). fashion in. of small merchants. 176. 64. 3 india. see Oiseuse imitation. 151. and income. 20. Jennifer. 53. 109 Kelly. 48 Jérusalem. 20. 109. 97. 58. 139 Jean ii. 156–7. 113–15 Jean renart. alfred. 129.

135. 77. 145 Livre (pound). 63. and austerity. 98 Métiers. stéphane. prerequisite clothing for. 4. 41. period of. 58 livestock. 152–5. 141–2 louis vii. 168–9. 54 mining. 152 . 107. 114. 177 mirrors. see words Lanval. andré.202 sarah-Grace heller lamb. 26. see also sumptuary laws. 6–7. 79. allegorical figure. allegorical figure. 162. 110. 147 mobility. 177 louis iX. 18. 83. 164 Lancelot in prose. dealers in Paris. widow of. 158 see also hairdressing ménard. 176 lining. 166 miséricorde. 133–4. as clothing producers. taboo. 149–57. 92 lendit. allegorical figure. 78. 128–31. 170. 75. 130. 145. 155. 121. 143 liberal arts. 6. 96. 9. 116. coinage livre des manières. 108 linen. in texts. 33. 161 mal marié. 92 see also Outremer. having financial control. 35. 74 land rights. figure. 125 miparties. 147. 94. money of. king of France. 120–47. 25 largece. 155 misers. Lanval mary. see also democratizing force. 147. allegorical figure. 174–6. relation to fashion. 128. 29. 159. 123–4. 142 mohammed. 90 Maître Pathelin. 108–12. 144. 162. 155 mendicants. 49. 162 love. 70. 128 lipovetsky. 25 La Manekine. 176 mail. 133. 29. and control of finances. Gilles. 137. 29 marks. 34. 117. 155 levant. 127 maximus of Turin. protective outer garment or cloak. 109–12. 48. 54. 31. 170–1. 3–4. 142 matthew of vendôme. Perrine. 121 metalanguage. 15 minstrels. 75. 124 miniver see gris minor art. 157. métiers merovingian civilization. mentioned in texts. Lay del. 105 mass production. 136. facial hair. 10. 143. 114. 144 lapidus. 116. 127. armor. fashion as. 109–12. 163. 174–5 see also yardage Méliador. 100 misogynist discourses. 143. mentioned. mireille. Faith. 50. mentioned in texts. see also rente language and fashion. 133 “mariage des sept arts. Ted. 87. 65. 77–8. 94 leesce (Joy). 144. 74–7. ermine. 137. theories of fashion 16. 150 mallarmé. 177 mauss. 60. 141 minting. 173. arranged. 31 matoré. 86. status moderation. 126. 168–9. 131. Philippe. crusades lexicographers. 154–5. 62. 140. fair of. 24. 56 Mantel. 123. 145 marie de France. 86. 39. 49. king of France. 12 military dress. James. 178 mane. 151. 80–1. 78. 155. 173 money. 159 madou. 161–5. 106. 126 lyons. 117. 132. 131. 141. 174–6. 160 milan. as factor in sumptuary laws. 177 see also cendal. 140. 125 monastic life. inferior type of fur. marcel. 67. 37. 123–4. 149. 91 maurice de sully. 173 mercers. as fashionable consumers. 99. magistrate. 149. 158 leather. 4. defined. 92 see also generosity laver. Unhappily married husband. defined. see also bourgeoisie. 85–90 miniature painting. 42. 140 measuring. 48–9. 175. 66–7. 173 le roy ladurie. furs literature. 164. dating of fashion. 122. 69–70. 151. 164 Lecheor. 128. 126. 132. 30. 36. see also Amor lucca. see also Fresne. 40. 134.” 108 marriage. 178 merchants. 155. 171. 20. 177. social (criterion 10). 126. defined. 153–4 men. historic change in dress. 143. 5. Georges. 132 marketing.

77 muslim culture. 113. 16 Pounds see livres Povreté (Poverty). 133. 23 necklaces. 33 novelty. 122–3. 176 see also peletiers Pepper. 52 nudity. 4. 102 “out-of-date. 178. 151 Professions. 83–4. 135. king of France. dark blue tint. 99 narcissism. 121. 75. helmut. silk from. 117. allegorical figure. 79. 162. 149 Purses. 141 see also clerics. 119 native americans. language. 129. 79. 155 Planche. 65. 139. 164–9 Pearls. 144 Parlement. 175 Palace. 140. see also Deduit Pleats. 55. 38–42. 56 normandy. richard. 172. 74. 73 needle. royal. allegorical figure. as fashion center. 91 Papelardie (hypocrisy). the Bold). 130. 163–4. 18 Prostitution. 70. 98. 27. 11. robes of honor Narcisse. 169–70 outremer. see also Jehan et Blonde. 145 Pelts. commercial.” notion of. 46. 160–4. 155–6. 17. Philippe. La Manekine Pillage. 94. 88 Paternosters. 65. 65. 55–6 Orgueil see pride orléans. skinners. 52 Philip ii (augustus). 153 moralists. 115. 58 Post-modernists. 151 orphrey. 87. 118–19. 19 montaillou. mentioned in texts. 151. see Theatrical logic Perrot. 72. 161. 169. 57. 116 Prelates. king of France. 155. see also change nudes. allegorical figure. 177 see also Flamenca. 53. 177 nuns. 169 Pallor. 78 Platelle. 119 see also Salu d’Amours Philippe de rémi. 140 Pins see brooches Piponnier. 68. 140 newton. 3 nerlich. métier. 80–1 Panegyric. 38. 100–1. 84. Paul. 77. 40 Purple. 12. alice. 111. 177–8 mortgage. the Fair). 114. 12. troubadours oiseuse (idleness). 155 Pavillions. henri. sumptuary laws. 85 Pastoureau. 108. michel. 56 Pleasure. 68. 177 Post. Françoise. 150 montaigne. 171. 143 newhauser. 51. 139. 160 Philippe de Beaumanoir. 174 Peletiers. 136. 137 Philip iv (le Bel. 48. 86. 55 nouveau riche. 69–70. 132. 115 old Woman see La Vieille orderic vitalis. 99 Parody. 174 nickel. 27. 56 Place de la Grève. see métiers Psychology.indeX 203 Moniage Guillaume. 142. 137. money of. 92–3. see also Saracens. michel de. 85 ovid. 76–7. 118 Padding. 3. 152 Peasants. Lai de. 138 munro. 39. 154. 174–6 see also taille Paris. 48–9. 98–9. 64. 47 Pers. 39. 178 Priests see clerics Production. 131. 70. value placed on (criterion 9). fashion as. 126 Petrarch. 29. 169. 5–6. 154–5 occitan. 146. 170 Pelisse. michael. 35. 177 Philip iii (le hardi. Church Pride. 71–2. 9. Gaston. demand for european products in. stella mary. 130 Puritanical thinking. John. shopping in. see tents Pawning. 61. 158 montpellier. 25–6. 74. 113 see also alms purses . 116 Paris. 55. king of France. 161 music. 88 norman england. 52 nicholas de Bray. 126 Performace. 170–1. 48. 69–94. 71. in Paris. 154. 131.

139. 99. 57 skin color. 70–1. 91–3. 57. set of garments. 78–80. 74–5. 57. pride. 75. 149–51. 28. 1–3. 116. 174. 154 see also pallor slashing. see shoemakers savoir faire. 142 rome. 151 servants. 146. 63. 149. moorish. 151. 96–9. 101–2. 101. defined. 74. 170 Rear Window. 89. 77. 136. 144 shakespeare. and twelfth-century style. 39. 66–7. 70 satire. on letters conferring income. 159. 176. 136–7. 26 recycling. 121–2. 165 repair. 87. 139–40. 32 reason. mentioned in texts. 144 rings. 155 saint-ladres. 94. 91–2. 77. 68. 102. of vanity and fashionable consumption. 97. Jean de Meun Roman de la Rose ou de Guillaume de Dole. 76. 141. 124 rider. 7. 73. 154 shoemakers. 30– 2. house in Paris. danielle. 128. 52. purse. covetousness. 174. 151 Roman d’Eneas. 178 silver. 80–1. 144. sense of. 80–1. 173. 54. 166 Roman d’Alexandre. 72. 84 reims. 136. 91 robes. 77. 151. 4. quality. 140. seneschal sexuality. 122. 116 scandinavia. 39. 119 samite. 43. 113. 146 seams. 142 Roman de Thèbes. 64. tailoring seduction. 151. 131. 79 Quicherat. land income. Jean. of shoes. as gifts. 126. 131. 55. 102. 176 see also samite. 102–3. cendal. 65. 152–4 Roman du Comte d’Anjou. 176 simmel. 117. 4 Savetiers. Gérard. pointed. 161 siglaton. 149. 80–1. métier. 57. 132. 167–9. 126–7. 103 Rente. 159 Romans d’aventure. mentioned. Jeff. demand for. 172 renart. 127. see also avarice. 177 . 149–50. coin hoards in. 62–4. 173 sable. 94. abbey of. 70. 164. 176 richece (Wealth or Power). 123. Jules. 124 romances. 57. 50 saint-Germain. dating of. ary. 145. 103 ruppert. 38–42. 163 shoes. principle of fashion (criterion 9). 98. 99. envy. 85. 135–6. 20–1. coinages. 170. 134 Roman de la Violette. of materials. 63. 80–3 see also stiches. 73. sewing. 156. n. 1. against parents. mentioned. 30 rhetoric. 77. of clothing. 133. armor. 151 saffron. 54. 86. allegorical figure. 107–19. 139 richard the Pilgrim. 5. 163. 133. 79. 94. 127 sivéry. vainglory sirventes. 157. king of. of honor (khil’at). 153. 131. see literature rugs. 121. charged with marketplace tasks. Jacques. 164 saddles. 9. William. 159. 110. 65. Guillaume de Lorris. 127. 83 renaissance. 94. 25–9 see also individual semiology. 155 Salu d’Amours. 1. 152. 89 Roman de la Rose. skilled at hairdressing. weavers. 155 saint-denis. 94. 109 self.204 Pygmalion. 121 scarlet. evolution of (criterion 5). 175 régnier-Bohler. 154. ancient. 9. 47 sin. type of woolen. 22. 65. 91–3. 151. 73–4. 27. 123 Roman de Troie. see individual figures. 26–7. medieval. 112. 178. 87. 69. 101. 175. 81. allegorical figure. 170 sicily. 75. 157 see also chambellan. cloth trade silhouette. 35 seneschal. 132–3 ribbons. 69 rebellion. 103 saracens. 69–71. 101. Georg. 165–7. genuine. mentioned. 47–8. 133. 6. coinage of empire. 83 silk. siglaton. 152. fashion in. in sumptuary laws. 153. 157 seals. 124. 95 renan. 108 Roman du Châtelain de Couci et de la Dame de Fayel. 106 sheepskin. 149. 150. 90. 163 reputation. of gifts. styles of. 6. 173–4 sarah-Grace heller rags. 113. 152. michael. 74 roberts.

31. William Graham. tools for. Peter. 63. 118–19. 53–4. 86 Troubadours. 39 . 79. 155 stone. 28 stephen of Blois. 83. 70 Toile. 61 veblen. 94 sutton. 167 vieillece (old age). brocade from. 80–1 Touailles. 32–4. 30–1. 41. 109. 92. 83. 88. 57 Time. knights. 8. 100 venus. 72.” 150 vinken. 165 Townsmen see bourgeois Tradition. 90. 108–15. 63 sombart. 32–3. 155 Tournaments. 65. robes for. 167 Utility. michel. importance of. 63. see also bourgeoisie. 151. 41. peasants.” 1–3. 141. 56 viollet-le-duc. Werner. Barbara. changes in style. Friedrich T. anne. 136–8. 126 slavic gold. 160–5. 54. 149. e. 156. 156. 169. amy. 48. 89. 173 vischer. 149. as ruinous. 58. 39. 154–5. 144 status. 171 Tartary. 83. 9. 2. 27 Vair. 79. 105. Thorstein. sewn. and marriage. topos of “reverdie. 150 Turks. 107–9. 73. 6. 80–1. mentioned. 126. 115. 52 songs. 143. 116 Triumphal entry. 18. 149. 136 sumner. valerie. quality of. 125 sleeves. two-toned squirrel fur. 175–6 Timber. 161–2. 157. 42–5. 83 Tonsure. 158. 19 Used clothing. 118 la vieille (old Woman). e. 85–8 Unisex clothing. 132 Tailors. 151 Taverns. 160. allegorical figure. 15 sumptuary laws. 147. 178 veils. merchants. 116 squires. 152 Tableware. 75. 41. 160 “Up-to-date. fashion in. 149. imitated by sumptuary laws. 159. 19. 133. social mobility steele. 117 vainglory. 102. 158. 113 spufford. 138–9. 17–19 Tiretaine. 115–19 Uniforms. 125–6 stirrups. 145 spending money. 57. 5–7. 127 Testaments. 33–4. 18–19 Trains. 161. mentioned. 159. 126. 177 surcoat. 75. métier. 135. 140–1. allegorical figure. Joseph. 94. 121 Vilain. 61–2. 150 see also peasants “du vilain asnier. 124 spurs. 155 de ventadorn. 61. 9.” notion of. 43–5. 30 “Traditional societies. 176 stitchers (couturiers). as gifts. 6. 67. social. concept of (criterion 1). as contrary to fashion. 161. 25–6 strasbourg cathedral. 16. 32 spinning. sin of. sewing techniques. 78–9. 136–8. object of consumption. 86.. 174. 114. 65. 168. 158 springtime. 5. 145. 145–6. 153 Taille (tax records) of Paris.” fashion in. vilains. 137 stanesco. 177. 114. 82–3. 116 vikings. 169–70 Tailoring. 64. 140. 158. 33. figure. expressed through appearance. 122 Thread. 80–4. 5–6. 80. squires. 177 Trendsetters. mentioned. 65–6. see also taille Tents. 92. 47. 104 spain. 150 stitches. 157.. 177 strayer. 172 University of Paris. 162. 6–7. 138–9. 164.indeX 205 slavery. 12 spencer. 23–4 Unfashionable. 22 spending. 158 Sorquenie. 154. 151 valets (noble young men). 119 see also Dandy Trinkets see baubles Tristan. headdress. Gregory. 170 Taxes. 125 Tyranny of fashion. French royal. 160 summer. 103–4. 104. 87. 2–3. 164–71 Usury. 130–1 spices. 152 Tristece (sadness). 112 Theatrical logic of fashion (criterion 6). 179. defined. 100 Trubert. 155 spindler. Bernart. 117. 86. herbert.

65. king of england. 1 . 16. tablets. 6. scarlet. 155 Zig-zag stitch. 72. rosalind h. 150. 48. 157–9 Wool. evelyn. 155 Weavers. criticism Yardage. 107. 55 William (Guillaume) of orange cycle. michel. clothing regulated by sumptuary laws. 39. 136. 151–5. 10. 173. 112. 74–6. 176 see also cloth trade. 48–53. Moniage Guillaume Williams. 131. object of criticism. 39 Wimples. 2–3 Zink. 164. 173 de vries. 47 Wills see testaments Wilson. 159. 137 Wedgewood pottery. 46 n. max. brunete Words. 170. 70. and fashion as self-expression. 142. 150 Wolfger of Passau. 47 Welch. 58. 150 see also Aliscans. cheap. 5. 169 Youth. 21. 34–7. used. male. 27–9. give value in fashion system (criterion 7). 124 Women. mentioned in texts. 151.206 sarah-Grace heller visual evidence of fashion. conspicuous. more narcissistic than men. Kelly. 163 Weaving. 52. and thirteenth-century style. 49 Waste. 88 Waistline. 175 Wedding. 165 William ii. 178 see also Barthes. 178 Wax. 4. 174 von Boehn. 117. Enfances Vivien. 105. as readers. 34. 92. elizabeth. 161. as consumers. 52. 102. 134 Zumthor. 79 Wine. 50. 108–12. Bishop.. Paul. 94. making or ordering clothing. 9. 19.



the Latin inscription embroidered on the Bayeux Tapestry. Vol. jewelled animal pelts as fashion accessories in the Renaissance. history of techniques and technology. the significance of poverty and richly decorated garments in the Vita Christi of Isabel de Villena. clerical vestments in the Anglo-Saxon church. and language.boydell. 3 at this time the most recent). 1533–40. textile cleaning techniques at a German convent in the 15th century.boydellandbrewer. literature. 15thcentury instructions for fingerloop braiding. the finishing of English woollens. cloth-making in 12th-century French www. children’s clothing in the Lisle Letters. 1300– BOYDELL & BREWER Ltd PO Box 9. Woodbridge IP12 3DF (GB) and 668 Mt Hope Ave. representing such fields as social history. II Clothing descriptions in an early Irish poem in relation to archaeological finds. III Domestic textiles in Anglo-Saxon England. categorization of multiplestrand bookmarkers. representations of saints in Opus Anglicanum vestments. colour changes in Flemish luxury woollens. archaeology. www. economics. Vol. a new series devoted to the subject (vol. 1300–1550.Medieval Clothing and Textiles Edited by ROBIN NETHERTON and GALE OWEN-CROCKER Historical dress and textiles. includes in-depth studies from a variety of disciplines as well as cross-genre scholarship. Rochester NY 14620-2731 (US) US US) . the cost of sartorial excess in England. always a topic of popular interest. is now established as an academic subject in its own right. art history. Medieval Clothing and Textiles. the social significance of the embroidered jacket in early modern England. medieval Paris as an international textile market.

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