Stevie Carroll (stevie_carroll) wrote,
Stevie Carroll

News Snippet from EasterCon (3/5): Renaissance of the Renaissance asks Why So Many Leather Trousers?

Amongst the many important questions posed (and partially answered) by the Friday evening panel 'A Renaissance of the Renaissance?' was that often also asked of so many SF&F shows: 'why do all the heroes run around in leather trousers?'. While attractive for the viewer, and protective in situations such as armed combat or working a forge, it hardly seems the most stylish solution for formal occasions at court or the coolest option when wandering the streets of Mediterranean countries during 17th Century summers.

Panellists and audience members alike agreed that far more heterogeneity of clothing was called for, with costume designers needing to think harder about dressing characters in clothing appropriate to their social status, and using more homespun cotton and wool, perhaps with the occasional quilted jacket to distinguish Our Heroes from mass of minor (and lower status) characters surrounding them, not to mention the flowing robes that far more of them ought to wear when not off adventuring or fighting.

Of course it's not just the heroes. Female characters are all attired in remarkably similar corsets, regardless of status, generally decorated with lace even when such adornments would be beyond the means of the average lower class heroine in the street. And it's very rare that characters (female or male) in any historical drama are depicted wearing make-up in keeping with the era. Yes, Georgian-era dandies did wear at least as much make-up as the women they were wooing!

The panel were, however, keen to point out that we can't entirely blame costume designers for these deviations from historical accuracy. Audiences are assumed by all those involved in the production of historical series to come with certain expectations and assumptions; to show male characters wearing high heels to better show off their shapely calves (covered by tights rather than trousers) might be a step too far for many 21st Century television viewers. At least the films of the 1940s got the Musketeers' costumes almost right.

We can only hope that the current crop of historical dramas and history-based fantasy series inspire fans to get out there and research what life was really like back then, and then maybe those series will pave the way for more accurate depictions once again in decades to come.
Tags: eastercon, in the news, just for fun, out and about, real life, winning at life
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