If you dressed more lavishly than the landed nobility, and spend fantastic sums to gain recognition, how can anyone help but notice you? That's what the Italians of the Renaissance thought. The competition in dress took a new twist in this period. Once one has enough gowns and surcoats in the finest fabrics, and all your peers have the same, how do you compete? Conspicuous consumption will only take you so far, you can only wear one set of clothes at a time. This is when Western dress took its long trip into fashion and fads. The Italians began to take fabric and cut it and piece it in a complex fashion to fit close to the body, and have a recognizable "cut" that could be adopted and discarded as a "fashion". By combining the intricate cut, piecing and fit usually found in skin-sewn (as in pelts and hides) cultures and applying it to fabric, the Italians acquired the means to make clothing with a planned obsolescence. This meant that clothing could go out of fashion faster than it would wear out. This put anyone, even an aristocrat, without the means to continuously buy new clothing in a place somewhat lower than that of the very rich. From the Mucho Italiano website: http://www.costumes.org/pages/italiRenlinks.htm
SPRING CROWN TOURNEY The award for best overall heraldic display goes to (drum roll please) Hon. Lord Osric of Aragon! He was the mighty wavy man complete with his surcoat, shield, man at arms and banner - all in the same wavy design. What a great heraldic statement - simple, recognizable and no doubt about that it was all about Osric. The best fight of the day belonged to Sir Roland and Sir Kern. First Kern took Roland's legs, then Roland took Kern's shield and was down to a single sword - and Roland lost to that single sword. I am doing no justice to this bout in my writings - but those of us who witnessed it saw how absolutely amazing it was.
Kudos go to both Knights for their amazing combat stint. And congratulations are in order to Count Gaston and Countess Judith on their return trip to the thrones of Trimaris (and soon to be married after all these years!) - and wow, is Gaston's armor REALLY shiny! (Cool sabatons, dude.) Countess Maisie, the COOLEST Countess in Trimaris, was seen wearing a dress! A beauteous red, regal Norman, complete with veil. Ooooh, baby - between that and that magic carpet you were driving, er, flying around on all weekend, you were some hot stuff. And who could not help but notice the lovely Lady Fleur decked out in a gorgeous russet Tudor with the gabled headdress. And later that night, a lovely black and silver wheel farthingale-style late Elizabethan. This lady sure knows what she is doing in late period English dress. Oh yeah - and Lady Genevieve de Mullet Trois, fighting for her husband, Lord Cedric of Dorchester (and he for her), found herself opposite him during the list. She clocked him with one shot during the list. I think Genevieve has been hanging around Sir Elizabeth too much. Have you ever seen them together at an Oldenfeld event? Didya hear about the cake fight with Maisie's birthday cake? Didn't you see Sir Braian run for his life? They're all crazy, I'll tell you. Anyway, back to Crown Tourney. Later that night, Master Sebastian Halyburton was seen wearing a gold houppelande with a standing collar, black boots, black hosen and a spiffy chain of state. He completed the picture of a Burgundian gentleman very well.
IT WAS A RAINY GULF WARS AGAIN...but not so bad as in previous years though. Still, a tornado is a tornado and it did pass by the King's Arrow Ranch that Monday, bringing buckets and buckets of rain with it. By Tuesday, you couldn't even tell it had been wet the previous day. Trimaris' gate to the encampment was, well, very cool thanks to the talented efforts of Earl Gregory Ahearn. He made very hip towers you could climb up into and spy on people coming down the road. I hear a lot of interesting things happened up in those towers. Someone even left goldfish up there. Anyway, besides the wall, there was one other very cool item in Trimaris's encampment. Bytor FitzGerald, the Earl of Waterford and the Duke of Tralee, created a rose garden. Mind you, this is the same Bytor that made an elephant and a rainbow bridge for previous Gulf Wars. This, by far in the ladies' opinions, was the best. There were rose bushes, benches, and a hammock, surrounded by a soft wall of white fabric and lattice. I heard he created it especially for his lady-love, Cherish. (Yeah - but he can still kick your ass as well as be artsy-fartsy.) That first night of its creation, a very cool squiring done by Ser Severin was held within the garden. Later that evening, Sir John Paul played a variety of songs for the small group gathered there. Of course, later on that week, Bytor cooked up some Mississippi hot sausages for the populace and served it alongside some cold beer. Bytor's hospitality was overwhelming. Between that, and Earl Gregory's blender concoctions served up in soup bowls, the Trimarian encampment was the place to be.
There was a lot of fashion happening on the field too! It goes without saying how great the Cerberus unit looked in matching tabards. They were very easy to spot no matter where they were. Sir Erica's Cerberus archery unit wore their tabards edged in yellow with her bear on the back. Talk about a congruent statement. And although her husband, Lord Lorcan, was not clad in a Cerberus tabard, he was decked out in his cool gladiator armor that he accessorized with a period onager. This type of catapult, re-created from a period Roman piece, was seen to shoot with such accuracy that he could hit whatever he wanted at any time. What an Art/Sci entry that could be! Their Highnesses, clad in white tabards with giant blue triskeles, seemed like the only easily recognizable Royal presence on the field during the battles. Of course, the triskeles stood out like a target, but at least they stood out.
ST. GEORGE'S FAIRE! Isn't it just the best? There were a lot of fighters this year, which means there were a lot of groovy helms on exhibit and cool displays of heraldry everywhere you looked. You could not cram more pomp onto that field! My favorite Baron, Damien von Blauwald, looked as regal as ever in his kick-ass German getup, complete with a crest you couldn't help but notice - big, pointy, and adorned with peacock feathers. His lovely wife, Duchess Elspeth, ever the happy lady at his side, wore his heraldry and colors upon the field as well. I hate to use the word cute, but didn't Countess Astrith look cute alongside Lord Tatheg O'Brian? They are just that! Duke Llewelyn fought for Lady Iseult while wearing her colors, her swan (since she is the lady of the Company of the Swan), and her fleurs. Still, you could see his fleurs and chainmail shirt peaking out underneath. Also sporting chainmail was Lord Aethelwulf Omund, and touting a bevy of babes with him in the procession. (Three women?) My favorite crest - and it's yours too, c'mon admit it - belonged to the Honorable Lord Thomas Wright of Lancaster. Not only was it one of two ship crests that day in the list, but his fired weaponry! Anyone remember the guy that built that huge wooden clock at a summer A&S? It's the same guy! (P.S. Delighted to see you finished that amazing crest - and that you out there fighting after your horrible injury at Gulf Wars. Hope you are feeling better about it all.)