Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Wednesday Weekly Wishlist: Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie (Braveheart)

I'm still going through a Medieval phase right now, what with helping with the preparation of Fall Harvest, my local SCA group's(Barony of L'Île du Dragon Dormant) Autumn event. So let's talk about one of the Medieval well, Medieval-Fantasy really) costumes on my never ending wishlist, Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie.

Now I know what you're thinking: "Who the hell is Nicolette?" and "What does Parti-Coloured mean?"

One thing at a time.

First, Nicolette, played by Jeanne Marine, was Princess Isabelle's (Sophie Marceau) Handmaiden in the now classic 1995 movie, Braveheart.

As for parti-colour, it means half and half, two coloured. For instance, Mel Gibson's iconic war make-up for the movie could be described as Argent and Azure (white and blue) parti-coloured.

Mel Gibson as William Wallace, Braveheart (1995)

So now you must wonder which dress I'm talking about exactly, right?

Jeanne Marine as Nicolette, Braveheart (1995)

It's from the scene when Nicolette tells Princess Isabelle about William Wallace and his love for Munron.

The original dress from the movie was eventually sold by (a great source of movie costume pictures)...

Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie (Front)

Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie (Back)

Now, a parti-coloured cotehardie in the medieval period would have been all of either half in one colour, not, as is the case here, the front let half in a colour, the back left half in the other colour, and vice versa for the other side.

To help illustrate what I'm trying to say about parti-coloured ensembles, here is a parti-coloured t-tunic and hood I have made in the past:

Gwenyver in her Gold and Vert Parti-Coloured T-Tunic

Back to Nicolette's Cotehardie; as I said, the original movie costume was sold, and the person who bought it, Katanna (aka Mirax), took some very good pictures of her wearing the costume (not only is she gorgeous, but what a trooper, sharing such beautiful and detailed pictures):

Katanna wearing Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie (Side)

Katanna wearing Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie (Back)

Katanna wearing Nicolette's Parti-Coloured Velvet Cotehardie (Close-up)

From all these pictures, here are my conclusions for a future reproduction:

  • I would use Gold and Fuschia Pink Panned Velour (much cheaper that real crushed velvet and it will look similar, except for the fact that velour is made on a jersey knit back instead of a woven one, meaning it is stretchy).
  • The pattern would have to be a military line dress(kind of like a princess line, but the seam goes straight up to the shoulder instead of curving to the armhole), with a large skirt and a train. I would try to find one where the shoulder seam is further in the back (more on the shoulder blade than the actual shoulder), but I might be lazy and not care about that detail.
  • I could use micro-suede for the neck and back yoke and use fabric paint for the design on the neck piece.
  • I would need a very long white (or gold, it's hard to tell from the picture), green and red finger loop braid to trim the neck yoke.
  • I would close the back with black micro-suede lace.
  • For the belt, I would use a jacquard trim with a design as close as possible to the one in Katanna's picture, but since we can't see how it is tied, i would have to assume that it is simply knotted in the front with both ends left hanging.

Of course, these are MY observations. I might be wrong about certain details, but as a whole, this is how I would do it.

If you would like more information on this costume (or others from the movie), I encourage you to visit The Costumer's Guide to Movie Costumes' Braveheart Photobucket album.


  1. Je ne saurais malheureusement pas t'aider pour la ceinture...

    Sont-ce seulement les faits que ce ne soit pas un vrai parti coloured, ainsi que le type de tissu qui ne soient pas tout à fait médiévaux ?

    J'ai évidemment un doute sur la ceinture aussi.....

  2. Pour répondre à ta question, il y a aussi la coupe, l'empiècement du col et du dos, ainsi que la couleur.

    Dans le cas de la couleur, selon les source que nous avons soit les illustrations d'époque comme les Codices, un mi-parti était le plus clair du temps un métal (or/jaune ou argent/blanc) et une couleur (Azure/Bleu, Sable/Noir, Sinople/Vert, Gueule/Rouge, Pourpre/Mauve). Cela pouvait être deux couleurs (Azure/Bleu et Gueule/Rouge), mais il n'y avait pas de rose (pour autant que l'on sache selon les sources mentionnées ci-haut).
    Mais je m'en fou, j'aime beaucoup cette robe, et je pourrais la porter à la SCA sans problème.

  3. Ouais, je suis pas si poche en médiéval que ça, je connais les couleurs grâce à l'héraldique. Mais je dois avouer que moi je voyais le rose comme du rouge, mais j'attribuais la teinte au style de tissu.

    La coupe, tu parles de la ligne militaire je suppose. (Entre autres, moi je trippe pas particulièrement sur la coupe de cette robe mais bon :p)

    Dis.... c'est quand le prochain événement dont tu parles ? Ça m'intéresserais :p