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The Book of Historic Fashion
A Newcomer's Guide to Medieval Clothing (1300 - 1450)

By Nicole Allen and Gregory D. Mele

The Book of Historic Fashion
Paperback, 188 pages £24.50
Published: 2014
ISBN: 9781937439156
Format: 276mm x 214mm
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Subjects: Freelance Academy Press, History, Medieval Studies

The Late Middle Ages (c.1350 - 1500) provides us with many of our stock, childhood images of the 'Middle Ages': the knight in shining armour, the joust, lords and ladies dressed in rich, voluminous robes and elegant dresses. Yet it is a paradox, for at the start of the period, Europe had endured the worst pandemic of recorded history: the Black Death, the climate was rapidly cooling, causing massive crop failures and France and England were locked in the brutal, dynastic struggle of the Hundred Years War. Meanwhile, in the second half of the period, intrepid merchants became the new knighthood of Europe, seeking new wealth in Asia and Africa, and launching what has been called the 'Age of Discovery' while a new interest in Classical culture would give birth to the Renaissance.

All of these elements have long intrigued and inspired writers, researchers and reenactors to take a trip through the looking glass to this lost world. In the Book of Historic Fashion: A Newcomer's Guide to Medieval Clothing (1300 - 1450), authors Allen and Mele provide a visual snap shot of the courtly elegance and common wear of the period. Filled with hundreds of sketches taken from original sources, mechanical drawings and detailed 'layer drawings' demonstrating how the clothing was worn, this entrée both introduces the period and helps newcomers find their way forward in the study of primary and secondary sources. Whether you are a teacher or professor who wants your students to understand what the clothing of the day really looked like, a costume designers working in theater, TV and film looking for visual reference or just new to medieval reenacting who wants guidance on what to wear in order to be appropriately dressed at events, this volume is for you.


Part One: A World in Chaos - the Tumultuous Fourteenth Century

    Period Overview

    Men's Fashions

    The Pen of History: Gaston Phebus and the Book of the Hunt

    Women's Fashions

    The Pen of History: Jean, Duc de Berry

    Headgear, Footwear and Accessories

Part Two: Old Glories Re-Imagined - the Fifteenth Century and the Waning of the Gothic Era

    Period Overview

    Men's Fashions

    The Pen of History: King Rene d'Anjou

    Women's Fashions

    Headgear, Footwear and Accessories

Part Three: Arming Clothes and Military Fashion

    Period Overview

    Arming Clothes

    The Pen of History: How a Man Shall be Armed

Appendix: Fabrics, Furs and Fashions 1300-1450


Nicole Allen graduated with a BS in fashion design - a formal manifestation of what is her lifelong obsession with clothing. She has been involved with various medieval reenactment and communities for over fifteen years. She founded and runs Revival Clothing, a company that provides authentic period fashion primarily to reenactors, and Historica Clothiers, a modern fashion line inspired by historic fashion of all periods.

Gregory Mele was a medieval reenactor for 15 years, until turning his attention in 1999 to focus on the research and reconstruction of Historical European Martial Arts, for which he is internationally known. From 2003 to 2009 he wrote a periodic column for Revival Clothing entitled "From the Pen of History," which gave historical context to the company's clothing lines. In 2014 he returned to the hobby of living history by joining La Compagnia della Rosa nel Sole, a small society which focuses on the experience of an Italo-English mercenary company of the late 14th century.

Publication Details:

 Paperback , 188 pages
 276mm x 214mm

BIC Code:
  HIS037010, SOC005000
 Freelance Academy Press


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