Sunday, September 6, 2009

Costumes seen at Fête médiévale de Saint-Colomban

You know me. I love costumes, any costume (except maybe for Zombies - they give me nightmares - and horror stuff). So obviously, when I go to a costumes event, such as Fête médiévale de Saint-Colomban, I look at what everyone is wearing! If you have Ren Faires where you live, you know that you can expect both great historical costumes, such as Elizabethan gowns, and fairies at such events. We don't have Ren Faires in Québec, but Medieval events get both great historical costumes and fairies. So, as promised yesterday, let's see what me an my camera brought back from Saint-Colomban; costumes go from hand made, woolen, historical dresses, to commercial Medieval dresses (what you can find at "Medieval" stores), to "Elvish" inspired (by this I mean LOTR inspired). Basically, they go from great, to good, to acceptable, to awful.

Having said that, I think it's great that people dress-up to go (not everyone does), even if it's in a pink princess dress. So, kudos for trying and participating.

Note: For the pictures where I am making what could be considered negative remarks on the costumes, I have been kind enough to blur the faces as I am mocking the garb, not the people.

The Good (great historical costumes)

Two Viking Women

These, ladies and gentlemen, are Viking Apron Dresses. They are historically accurate for C. 900 C.E. Learn to love them: they are easy to make and quite comfortable.

15th Century Reenactors

15th Century Lady

This lady is also wearing a historically accurate 15th century dress called a Gothic Fitted Dress (GFD), a proper hood and typical 15th century black head band with loop.

The Acceptable (or "what I usually go for")

Burgundian Dress

This lady's dress is a nice imitation of a Burgundian dress. Out of courtesy, I have blurred her face because she was very camera shy and was worried what her clients might think if they saw her dressed like that. (But your dress is fine, really!)

Royal Blue Bliaut-like dress

This is what one expects to find at a Medieval event: a girl with long, loose hair, wearing a 12th century bliaut inspired dresses with long hanging sleeves, made of linen or silk noil, trimmed with "Celtic" knot ribbon. It is not historically accurate, but it doesn't scream modern or break the illusion of being in a Medieval world (hence the "acceptable" classification). I love these types of dresses!

(Here I blurred the girl's face not because her dress is bad, but because the braces gave her away as a teen, and I do oh so try to keep parents from suing me.)

The Queen

This woman is the Queen of a group who say that they do historical reenactment (and I'll keep their name from you out of pagan charity), but really, they don't know half a thing about history. (The worst thing is, they'll put people down for dressing in "acceptable" garb when they do it themselves, and what they consider "historical" is really more often then not misconceptions.)

Cream Bliaut-like dress

Pretty, but more pre-raphaelite than historical.

The Bad (more Fantasy than historical)

Blue Medieval-Fantasy Dress

That one is still pretty, but we are slowly getting to the really bad garb.

Vikings and Pirates?

Let's get something straight guys: lacing and fur does not a Medieval costume make.

"I have my mother's thighs..."

Of course, nothing says Medieval Fair like a Faun with obese legs! (It's a cool costume, but SO not Medieval!)

Pink Disco Medieval Dress

Do I really need to explain this? OK, I guess I do: Wearing lamé or glitterdot fabric doesn't fool ANYONE into believing you are wearing chain mail. (Otherwise, this dress could be classified as "acceptable").

Gothik Girl

No comment.

Fairy Family

This trio was the worst. I'm sorry, I'm sure the mom worked real hard to make three dresses, and the dark green one could be made somewhat OK, and the light green one is very "Elvish" and reminds me of Arwen's Green Coronation Gown (I actually like it, it's just not Medieval), but mom's blue one? Butterfly printed quilters cotton? Seriously?

All I can say is: Oh Boy!


  1. ET c'était une CASSE ! :D

    On sait toutes les deux pour quelles raisons ;)

  2. ahahha, sur la première photo, à droite, c'est ma mère :))))

  3. Bonjour! J'aimerais juste vous dire félicitations pour l'article! Ça fait longtemps que j'essaie de faire comprendre à différentes personnes qu'il y a une grande différence entre un costume sourcé et un costume sorti de son imaginaire!

    Je suis un des membres du groupe de reconstitution 15ième siècle dont vous avez pris des photos (Montjoie, pas les compagnons d'armes). En fait je suis le gars avec les chausses bleus, la livrée française et le chapeau noir qu'on voit dans le background d'une des photos! :P (j'allais récupérer mes flêches).

    J'aimerais savoir si vous pourriez m'envoyer les photos que vous avez prise de mon groupe? J'apprécierais beaucoup!

    Vous pouvez me contacter à l'addresse

  4. Hehe, je suis la dame en jaune 15e siecle... Bien contente de votre appréciation (ps, j'ai aussi confectionné la robe bourguignonne en laine noire avec les garnitures en velours de soie or. Dommage que la dame soit aussi timide !)


  5. C'est une très joli robe, et j'aime beaucoup le style Bourguignon. Elle m'a semblé ne pas être tout à fait authentique de par sa coupe, mais corrigez moi si je me trompe.

    Votre robe est-elle faite à la main ou à la machine? Ma principale référence en la matière est Marie-Chantal Cadieux. J'admire le travail, la patience et la minutie que cela demande, mais je préfère ma Singer.

  6. Elle est assemblée à la machine, mais toutes les coutures visibles sont faites à la main. Je me suis inspirée de nombreuses enluminures de la fin du 15e et du livre ''Medieval tailor's assistant'' pour en dessiner le patron, aux mesures de la dame. Le principal problème est que ce type de robe doit être portée par dessus une cotte (avec une chainse en dessous) et la dame ne voulait pas avoir trop chaud, alors elle la porte sans cotte, ce qui affecte la façon dont la robe tombe. De plus, le plastron noir porté dessous devra être amélioré pour mieux tenir en place. En fait, je crois bien que cette pièce de tissu qu'on voit généralement dans l'échancrure des robes bourguignonnes reste un mystère quant à sa forme définitive...


  7. Well I wish they had worn shifts under their gowns and that they had used brocade raather then printers cotton but even so I like the cut of those gowns...


  8. Shame on you--these people made good attempts and not everyone lacks a life so that they have the time to research "perfect garb." It is garb nazi's like yourself who make events miserable and no longer fun.

  9. Dear Anonymous, Dated Feb. 2, 2011: I am sorry you feel that way about my post. You are the first negative comment I have ever received.

    I would refer you up the page where I said:
    "Having said that, I think it's great that people dress-up to go (not everyone does), even if it's in a pink princess dress. So, kudos for trying and participating."

    Are you one of the people in the pictures? If so, know that I only post photos of costume that have caught my eye. As I said repeatedly, it's not that I don't like them, it's just that they are not suited for the event in question. If you are and you want me to take down the photo becaus you feel I have insulted you, let me know and I will. It is never my intention to be insulting.

    I do resent the "Garb Nazi" accusation. I might hate zippers on period garb, but I encourage the use of cottons and decoration fabrics, even though they are not accurate. I also dislike period extremists. It's fine for them, but don't expect everyone to do the same.

    Your comment saddens me, but it was to be expected at some point and I respect your opinion. I will not delete it because I believe everyone is allowed to voice their opinions.