And that the medieval world was filled with relatively static and simple styles: men in tights and women in pointy hats.Van Buren’s book proves that fashion was alive and well in the Middle Ages. Plate 1, with images from 1324–26, shows the bulky and basic cut of garments, made in a T shape with the sleeves and body of the same piece. 1335, shows that even in such a short span of time fashion was already on the move: The basic T-shaped cotes and surcots transform into the shorter cote hardy, a garment that utilized the set-in sleeve.
Her first step was simply to locate medieval imagery either firmly dated or datable within a five-year period.
With the help of her research assistant—a young scholar named Roger Wieck who was beginning to make a name for himself in the world of illuminated manuscripts—she pored through every resource she could find, looking at books, catalogs, and traveling the world to visit archives.
But the story is not one of heroic deeds or epic romances. And behind its sartorial history is another story, a fairy tale nearly thirty years in the making, about perseverance, heroic dedication, and the triumph of love.
Once upon a time, Anne van Buren, a scholar of medieval art, received a grant “to support the completion of a book on costume dating in late medieval art, primarily French and Flemish, focusing on illuminated manuscripts, painted panels, and incunabula.” Using only art that was firmly dated or datable to within five years, she aimed to use the fashion portrayed in these artworks to create a timeline that could be used by scholars to date undated art.
In May, she gave three lectures, entitled “The Role of Dress in Society,” “Do They Wear What We See?
” and “The Function of Dress in Art.” Then, unexpectedly, in the fall she passed away.
It has knights and ladies, kings and castles, fantastic and fearsome beasts, pageantry and romance.
It tells a story of two hundred years, drawing the reader into an exciting world that is both familiar and foreign.
By meticulously observing the tiniest details, van Buren decoded each image, discovering the subtle shifts in fashion from year to year and how small nuances can express character and themes.