In all societies dress is first and foremost a means of communication, conscious and unconscious, but inescapable. Metaphorically a language, dress, like all languages, is constantly subject to change, both in detail and in meaning. In medieval times, the meaning of dress was precise. To ignore its rules could be dangerous, and in some cases, amount almost to blasphemy. Thank goodness we, as modern medieval recreationists, can play in a world where we can dress as we please free of those stringent social class restrictions. We are all nobles, aren't we?
Talk about a great day for fashion! The newly crowned King and Queen of Trimaris, Mittion von Weald and Brigit Caileen of the Moors made quite the spectacular entrance. His Majesty was decked out in the coolest, symbolic laded garb I have ever seen. A white satin undertunic with the Latin cross of the Teutonic order — the white symbolizing purity of spirit. His hose were red, a color for good health as well as royalty. Lions on his red velvet shoes representing the "Lion of Judah" (another name for Christ). His overtunic was of ecclesiastical silk brocade, bearing Christian symbols for Christ: the IHS, the lamb of god (Agnus Dei), a grapevine (the vine of life), the rose (the rose of Jesse's line). Seventeen eagles representing the 12 apostles, 4 archangels and Christ were on the neck and sleeves of the overtunic. And let's talk about that cloak! Depicting St. Michael as the chief angel of battle and the patron saint of the chivalry, he had the flaming sword of justice and vengeance, and the laurel wreath of victory/peace. Did you notice that St. Michael looked like Mittion? Hmmmm? Her Majesty, decked out in a red brocade embroidered with a stylized pomegranate, and trimmed with gold lace from Lucerne, Switzerland (FYI — Lucerne is the home of the Captain of the Papal guard) and with her undertunic of gold shot cotton with a yoke and cuffs of white satin with an ecclesiastical motif of gold cross fleurys, the symbol of both the Holy Mother and sometimes known as the Cross of Lorraine. Their Royal Majesties have an entourage of retainers dressed in Teutonic garb and Her Majesty's personal colors. The Calais Consort was present to sing them in and out of their coronation ceremony. They were dressed in crusader garb as well. Baron Damien von Blauwald — looking as handsome as always (but even more so in that chainmail!) ^mdash; invested Sir Mittion as king by the power vested in him by the Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. The entire court made a fabulous sight! Coronations such as these bring back fond fashion memories of Arlof and Hilary's Celtic/Druidic courts, Benen and Rosabel's Hospitaller reign, Baldar and Asa's fabulous Viking conquering of Trimaris from the sea, and Gregory and Maisie's incredible six months of nothing but cool Irish culture. In my opinion, you guys get the collective cool points of fashion.
Once again I have to say that the coolest thing this kingdom has gotten into right now is the pas d'armes tournaments. I had the privilege of being fought for in the pas d'armes held in Sea March to commemorate their 20th Anniversary. Let me tell you, the weather was overcast, and we got sunburned and heat exhaustion. It rained on and off all day, and we all ended up getting soaked. BUT! The tourney field was alive with courtesy and honor. Countess Honoree looked lovely as usual in her bliaut, wimple and coronet. I have to say, she wears this style elegantly. Lord Thomas Wright of Lancaster looked every inch the English soldier and was granted a Crown's Acclaim for his fabulous contribution to the world of fashion. Duke Llewelyn ap Cadwallader, fighting well and looking even better, was wearing red and gold and a lot of fleur-de-lis trim that night. Maximillian von Weald and Lord Juda I need to comment on, not because they were fashion plates, but because the Ladies' Gallery put forth many challenges before these two gentlemen all day. All of the tasks and requests made of them were taken up and attended to with courtesy and respect for the ladies. Of course, at Court that night, Their Royal Majesties looked wonderful in their red and gold (colors of Sea March!) garb. Constance de Barfleur made these outfits. Thanks for making Trimaris a better-looking place.
Of course, as you read this, you will probably have already enjoyed the glamour and pomp that is Crown Tournament — the flags, the shiny armor, the late period dresses. OH MY! (And yes, Countess Maisie, you look fabulous in that Italian Renaissance gown. It's in the Venetian style, isn't it? You should wear late period more often!) Hey, you know I'll be out there searching the field for the latest fashion for my next column...