Art création décoration

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Design of a reticella lace often used at that  epoch.

Design of a reticella lace often used at that  epoch.

The ruff

The ruff appeared towards 1555. It had a size larger and larger. Towards the end of sixteenth century, a metallic support, called "suportasse" or "rebato" was created to hold it up because its sizes were very importante. The "rebato", used in Spain, was made of "archal" thread which made it possible to maintain the ruff with a particular tilt.

The use of starch for the starching of ruffs is a creation imagined by a Dutchman who lived in England towards 1564. The starched tubes of the ruff were straightened thanks to a long round iron. As far back as 1562, an edict required the reduction of the width of ruff to four inches of each side. But it wasn't applied and the ruff had its largest sizes in 1585. The ruffs became so larger that they were called millstones. However, the French wore only a little bit that kind of ruff. In 1586, it was called cartwheel, word which was used by the caricaturists.


The ruff was realized and wore with different ways in each country.


In Flanders, it was worn closed and tall, and called Duttenkragen, name also given at the german ruff. In Spain, it was named "gran gola", often taller in the back than the front and decorated with some laces.It was worn for a great part of seventeenth century up to the first years of eighteenth century, under a small shape the "godilla".


The English wore the ruff like the Spanish but they were more inventive for the shapes. In effect, the ruff could have several superposed and pleated lines with various ways. It was also more decorated. The starched conches were also larger than everywhere else. They were made of a large shell of gauze or crêpe. The conch was worn from the sixteenth century to the beginning of seventeenth century.


In France, the ruff had only one line of tubes, occasionally open on the front and larger than tall. The round spanish ruff was smaller than in the other european countries and realized in a plain material. The ruff named "Medicis" was straightened on the nape of the neck, bordered with a hive and open on the front, like that, it enclosed the face into a fan. The ruff, called "à la confusion" dates from the end of sixteenth century. It took wing under the reign of Henri IV and had several lines of tubes which weren't starched and fell on the shoulders.


In France, the ruff was condemned by a sumptuary law in 1623. It dispeared of the fashion at that moment. In Spain, on the contrary, it still continued to exist for numerous years. A flat collar, very different, took its place rapidly. For the first time, for a long time, the fashion and reason had been becoming allies for more comfort...


 Médicis ruff

Portrait  of Anne de Danemark, Queen of Ecosse, 1605.

Lace ruff

Portrait of Elisabeth I d’Angleterre

History of women’s costume during the Renaissance


Also see into this site :


The ruff

The head-dresses and shoes

The farthingale

The materials



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