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Dr. Brown goes down!

A very welcome and surprise guest at this year’s Abbey Medieval Festival, was celebrity Dr. Chris Brown.  Showing up on both Saturday and Sunday of the tournament weekend, held at the well known Abbey Museum near Brisbane, Dr. Brown was in search of a medieval experience.  The crowd was given a special treat. 

A brave and true Knight, Dr. Brown, known as the Bondi Vet and from Channel 10’s Friday night show, ‘The Living Room’, truly embraced his medieval experience.  Not only did he draw a crowd….he drew a sword!

The Abbey Medieval Experience

With borrowed armour from Sir Justyn, and a big smile, Chris Brown from Channel 10's The Living Room has a real medieval experience

With orders not to hold back, his opponent, Sir Leon Sinclair, from the medieval renactment group Eliste d’corps, as honour bade him, obliged! Clad in armour from the generous and accomplished, Sir Justyn, Dr. Brown had his first Abbey Medieval experience.  The pair went at it, hammer and tongs! The crowd became noisy; their thirst for pain and blood was audible; there was no retreat for either of these warriors….(only joking, there was no blood…was there??) but the Oohs! and Aaahs! were clearly audible around the grounds; the ladies shrieked, covering their eyes and imagining the worst for their favourite handsome knight and Sir Blair, the MC, didn’t hold back either! What entertainment!

To give him credit, Chris put up a good fight, rising again and again, to face the sword.  A little slower each time, but he rose, untill the crowd grew silent.  Dr. Brown went down!……….. There was word of concussion!

But Ladies and Gentleman, boys and girls, didn’t he look the true Knight in shining armour at this great medieval tournament? And, unlike in medieval times, he lived to fight another day, which is a good thing because we loved him and the crowd loved him.  And good news!  The footage for Dr. Brown’s battle at the Abbey Tournament is to be aired this Friday night (5th October), ‘The Living Room’ on Channel 10. Book the good seat in advance!

Thanks Chris Brown! Come back next year for your second medieval experience!

 

 

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More Medieval Carnivale Secrets Unveiled!

 

See Roaming Performers at The Medieval Carnivale! Photo: David De Groot.

Well time is approaching fast! The Abbey Medieval Festival is almost here, and you know what that means……

It means each and everyone one of our followers are starting to get excited about what this year is going to bring! If you have been following the blog posts you would have already heard about the Medieval Carnivale. You would already know that Abbeystowe is putting on a Medieval Carnivale  with “Horse Vaulting and Acrobats“, “Colourful Costumes and Dancing“, “Merry Medieval Music“, a “Dragon Fire Twirling Show” and of course The Carnivale will feature the real stars of the show… YOU! All ticket holders will be invited to enter the arena for the last half hour of the show to dance and join in on the merriment.

The wonderful wandering performers at the Carnivale!

See the debut of 'The Velvet Birdcage' only at The Medieval Carnivale! Photo: D. Duncan.

But just when you think you know all about The Medieval Carnivale, this final blog post is letting you in on a few more secrets… The gorgeous stilt walkers from Fire Phoenix Tribe will be at the Carnivale in a stunning costume, new to the Abbey Medieval Festival! Be sure to see the strikingly tall characters as they wander around the Carnivale for all to admire. Join in on the surprise and come dressed in your own costume or mask! We would love to see you dressed in your own Medieval Costume. The Carnivale Night will welcome all folk who wish to see how to celebrate in fabulous Medieval Fashion!

The cheerful folk from All Star Fish will delight the early bird crowd with their mischief and tomfoolery, be sure to keep an eye out for your favourite Medieval Street Performer!

Be prepared for a Carnivale, get your tickets before they are sold out!

If you are as excited as we all are about the Medieval Carnivale then you should be getting there at 5pm to make sure you have time to visit Friar’s Folly Tavern who will be operating from the Jousting Arena especially for this event! Be amused and delighted by the comical Lord Herald, Sir. Blair! This event will sell out. The grandstand will be filled so don’t miss out on your tickets.

Praxis at Friar's Folly Tavern

Medieval Musicians 'Praxis' at Friar's Folly Tavern. Photo: Andrew Cumberland.

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Accessories and Bling!

Hello again, readers.

Last week’s Dreadful Note of Preparation from Damien, reminded me that while my Project Gorgeous Garment may be nearing completion, my supply of knick-knacks and trinkets was a little sparse?  And even though dressing-up and getting into the spirit of the Abbey Medieval Festival is completely our own experience choice, I began to wonder where on earth I could get the right kind of bling?   So, this week, I want to write about attention to the final details of your medieval costume.

The final touches

Creative accessories will complete any outfit!

I know I’m not the only person that tends to leave things like this to the last moment, and one of my pet hates is not being a hundred percent happy with my choice and having to settle with something I don’t really like because of time.  And for me definitely one of those ninety-ninth hour things is accessories.  A lot of our customers have also been asking where to find something affordable to complete their medieval costumes.

Fear not readers! Medieval accessories – obviously not authentic – are easier to find than you think. And while I know I would love to have a falcon on my arm as a fashion statement, it’s really not that do-able for most.  So, last weekend, I went on a different type of hunt.  I visited Morayfield Shopping Centre in Caboolture, North Brisbane, with my three children (who were on a good behaviour bribe!) to see what was out there in the way of Medieval style jewellery. The kids pretended to be Birds of  Prey, hunting for shiny, old, things, which took their fancy!

Nothing completes your medieval costume like some bright accessories and a smile!

Historians, with the utmost of respect – I anticipate your alarm – but we found some great imitation bling in ……DIVA!

And like it or loathe it, I came home happy!  Part of what I want to do in the overall Medieval Festival is to bring a medieval entertainment experience to the masses.  So I left my authenticity eye at home and just wanted to see what the universe would put forward. Lo and behold! I found brooches, necklaces, rings, ear-rings, tiaras and bling galore.

Obviously, very modern, but let’s not underestimate the importance of having a fun experience! And let’s face it, if we had a pre-requisite to wear only authentic accessories, the Abbey Medieval Banquet and Carnivale would be a quiet party! If DIVA’s accessories enable your medieval transformation, then they get my vote! It’s all in the spirit of preparation for the Medieval Banquet, Abbey Tournament or Carnival!

Go forth and shop!

Till next time, Caroline

Will My Medieval Dress Fit Me?

The Abbey Medieval Festival is pleased to offer you this Costuming post by our special guest blogger who has a wealth of experience with differing costume and dress styles and fittings when attending Medieval Events.

What Medieval Dress Style will suit me?

Jean de Liège, Tomb effigy of Philippa of Hainault, alabaster (London, Westminster Abbey)  Image from the website ‘Richard II’s Treasure, the riches of a Medieval King’ on a page about Richard II’s Grandmother.You may think that all medieval women were tall and slender but this is not the case. Look at the C14th Queen of King Edward III, the gentle yet clever Philippa of Hainault. Loved and worshipped by her Husband, loved and adored by the people even after her death, she was no stick insect and yet was the epitome of elegance and bringing her and her unique styles from Valenciennes, Belgium (Valenciennes can be found today in Northern France), influencing the fashion at court with her native ladies and throughout English Noble and Middle Class society.
Hopefully this short post will cover the basics and give you an idea of what would suit your body shape best for you to feel and look totally fabulous at the festival this year.

Slender, “Willowy” and Athletic Figure Styles

This is the lady immediately after the bride.If you are of a slender build ( or athletic), you can pretty much wear almost anything in the medieval era, from a well cut C13th garment that is loose fitting, to a C14th Cote-hardie as pictured here. along with a well cut sideless surcote,  a C15th French Burgundian Gown or Kirtle.
Lady Margaret de Bois from Ingtham Church, Norfolk, English c.1365.What to avoid?

Too much fabric for starters! Be aware of hanging sleeves over narrow ones if part of the fashion of the era you portray. These will swamp your slender frame unless cut with care and thought, should you choose to have them.

The neckline on a C14th gown can be higher above the bust and can be off the shoulder to add some sensuality.

For the C15th keep to a high waist and belt, as it will give you the illusion of curves for your derrière.

Keep the style simple and elegant without too much fuss and your whole look will be a success!

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The Voluptuous, Curvy and Hourglass Fashions

Image from Alison Weirs book ‘Isabella, She-wolf of France, Queen of England.If you are curvaceous and have an hourglass figure, get yourself a well fitting bra and hang the cost. Those girls need to be contained but also on show!  Not authentic in reality but you want then to be secure and comfy under your gown.
Any C13th loose fitting gown will look ok, but will drape heavily according to your bust size, so be aware they may not be flattering and if wearing a sideless surcote, cut it wide at the shoulders and wide across bust.
 From the book ‘Making of a Tudor Dynasty’ “Alabaster effigy of Lady Goronwy ap Tudur d.1382 in Penmynydd Church, Anglesey, probably bought from the dissolved friary church at Llanfaes, not far away.”

Any C14th gown in the English, French or Spanish styles would suit as gowns in the C14th were cut to the figure for both sexes due to the new invention of buttons, making garments close fitting. Sideless Surcotes look great on this shape figure too as the cut away sides are flattering to the waistline. Necklines can be lower to show upper parts of the breasts and off the shoulder as of the C1350’s at court. The Hips in these style gowns will be covered and hide a multitude of sins for the modern woman, but they did enhance their derrière with fox tails under their gowns, so show off your lower curves in your gown with pride! (Ankles and wrists were extremely sexy and never shown! So show off your upper breasts and backside and be totally authentic!)
Queen Joan of Navarre, Canterbury Cathedral  An image of an illustration by "Stothard" in 1817.

Any C15th Gown would also suit the hourglass figure enhancing your breasts as the V neckline for the larger busted lady is very flattering, also if the neckline skims the tops of the shoulders too showing more of the curve of the neck under the dancing veil from the Hennin headdress but again be modest and have a neckerchief of transparent material, silk organza for example, tucked in ( although most modern men would disagree with this!)
What to avoid?
 Marie of Brabant on her wedding day to Phillip III of France.  “Grande Chroniques de France, c.1400: British library, Royal MS 20 C VII, vol. 2. F.1or, detail”With an hourglass figure your breasts will be the main problem, so trick the eye and enhance your slender waist. Not much can be done with this body shape in the C13th clothing as it’s so loose fitting even if tucked into a belt and pulled out under the ribcage. It makes you look frumpy. Keep to silks or linens if you do wear c13th clothing, in a simple cut, as they will drape heavier and flatter more with more fabric in the skirts of the gown about the legs and ankles to balance the eye.
  “Collected works of Christine de Pisan, Paris,des dames master and shop, c.1415: British Library Harley MS 4431, f.100r, detail”For the C14th, wear your belt lower than your waist, more towards your hips, this will elongate you from your bust making you look slimmer. Also avoid large hanging or excessively dagged sleeves of the French Style as these near your bust will make you look larger than you are. If you do choose to have hanging sleeves, have then hanging long from the elbow, as seen right pictured here
Keep your tippets narrow and neat if you choose to wear them. Make your gowns very full in the skirts, if you have enough fabric to direct the eye down and to balance your frame. If wearing a sideless surcote, avoid narrow fronts on them. Keep the front of your surcote wide (nipple width is a good indication of what would flatter your body shape best) along with the back being wide, as seen left here.

 From a C15th image  “a Bride lead to her wedding feast” from Bibliothéque de l’Arsenal, Paris, Ms.5073 fol.117v  This is the lady immediately after the brideFor the C15th the only difference would be to keep the cut of the gown simple once again and not to have it high waisted. Cut the gown’s waist low on your narrowest point to flatter your figure best and also have your belt at this point too or have a very wide belt. It does not look flattering if your bust over hangs though!

 

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The luckiest of all of the Body Shapes – the Pears

Minnesanger Ms.,c.1300 Heidelberg University (PH Mansell)With a Pear shape figure, consider yourself to be one of the lucky ones, as this was the shape that most fits medieval depictions of the female medieval form.
It is hard to determine if a pear shape figure was under the long loose fitting gowns of the c13th, but one from the Mannesse Codex pictured here would look good on your frame with a smaller neckline, with the folds falling from either a set neckline or cut to incorporate the fullness required to achieve this look

Princess Joan, on King Edward III tomb effigy, Westminster Abbey, London, England.  As would a fashionable C14th gown pictured here on the right.
A larger than normal derrière and belly was considered the perfect figure for birthing and considering it was the sole purpose of medieval Noble women to provide heirs, it stands to reason many images were depicted thus. A C14th Gown cut with a full skirt is most flattering and can have either a square neckline or a rounded one, hanging sleeves, dagged sleeves, narrow sleeves, you get the idea. A sideless surcote will flatter this shape figure well too.
 From ‘Les Tres Riches Heures’ a personal book of Duc de Berry. May’s Lady in Green on horseback.

The C15th Houpplande as well as the Burgundian and Spanish Gowns look good on the pear shaped figure too with the tiny waist and ribcage able to take the high waist level and belt.

What to avoid?
Image from ‘A mixed party’ on one of the ‘Medieval Woman’ Calendar’s from the shop Past Times

No much to be honest, like I said above, you are one of the lucky ones. Keep your necklines fitted to your shoulders and torso and then let the fabric fall into full skirts and the gowns of the medieval period flatter your body shape best, so relish in it and enjoy your body in a stunning gown.

 

 

Guest Blogger:  Kat Woods

“Let me introduce myself.
My Name is Katrina Wood, I belong to a small C14th group here in the UK called ‘Age of Chivalry’ and I have re-enacted for 26 years.
I have been approached by The Abbey Medieval Festival, which has a reputation second to none in the UK, to do a small blog on Female Medieval Costumes suiting and flattering body shapes.” Note from Jo – Kat’s really modest bio really should include her website which is:  http://www.katshats.co.uk/