Evening Gown | Zandra Rhodes | c. 1981
Zandra Rhodes is renowned for her romantic and lavishly embellished evening clothes. In The Observer (9 October 1977) she was described as ‘the most original and fearless of British designers, admired for her dedication to doing what she feels’. This innovative creation was part of her Elizabethan Collection shown in Autumn/Winter 1981. The dress can be worn in two ways, with the under-panniers used as a support for the skirt (as in the image) or with the under-panniers removed and the bodice, which has a peplum (an extension), worn outside the skirt. Zandra Rhodes studied 18th-century panniers in the V&A before completing this ‘Renaissance crinoline’.
Gloves | c. 1590
Gloves in the 16th and early 17th centuries were much more than just an accessory to fashionable dress. The wearing or carrying of gloves by either sex was a conspicuous mark of rank and ostentation. They were worn in the hat or belt, as well as carried in the hand. Gloves were popular as gifts and were often given by a young gallant to his favourite mistress. In combat, a glove was thrown down as a gage, or challenge. (v&a museum)
Cloak | c. 1580
Chopines | c. 1590-1610 | Italy
The chopine was a tall clog worn in primarily in Venice from the 15th to the early 17th centuries. While most examples are between three and five inches tall, some specimens of over a foot tall survive. Historical accounts testify to the necessity of the assistance of a pair of ladies maids to walk in the more extreme examples. As can be appreciated from the elaborate and fragile materials, the purpose of the chopine was as much to elevate the lady’s sartorial reputation as to elevate her skirt from the dirt of the streets and to increase her physical prominence. While this single chopine is very typical of the form in design and decoration, the blue color is less commonly seen than red or green. An additional feature of note also found on many other surviving examples is the leather sock lining with incised pattern of concentric squares.