The Costumes of Carnival
Visiting Venice at Carnival is a dress maker’s heaven. Of course there are the cute and whimsical costumes similar to those we see at Halloween in the US. You will see costumes of every genre in Venice. And each year there is a theme, but the classics are always in demand.
For the true Carnevale participant, the costumes are works of art, comprised of.yards of expensive brocade fabric, lace, sequins, velvet and jewels. The end result is a parade of beautifully dressed ladies and gentlemen parading through San Marco Square and taking or taking a trip in a Gondola along the famed Grand Canal.
So if you haven’t been sewing for months, you can still rent one of the elaborate costumes for upwards of 300 Euro a day, not a small sum, but considering the cost in materials and labor often is over 2,000 Euro, it’s not surprising.
We thought we’d visit a Costume Designer and give you a backroom view of what goes on. It is cluttered, piled top to bottom with fabrics, sequins, lace and projects underway. There are mannequins with costumes in various stages of completion.
Because the Venetian Carnevale is classic 17th and 18th Century, the first step is pouring over old books for authentic designs. And then wouldn’t you know that it begins with a sketch?
If they are made for a specific person, there are fittings. If they are made as rentals, there are special made with special sections to expand or make them smaller.
There are period parties held through the city in the grand palaces. Not only must you have the correct dress, but even the wigs must be exacting to the period.
The costumes are much like theatrical production costumes for the opera, such as La Fenice in Venice or La Scala in Milano. No detail is too small. Even the shoes in this costume repeat the same fabric as the dress (top picture).
Here are a couple more in a series of the costumes they were making on our visit. And certainly the mask must match the costume. Here come the glue gun and the feathers and of course, sparkles.
Watching this evolution of the fabric to the royal costume is like watching Cinderella’s tattered clothes turn into a ballgown and her pumpkin into a carriage. It has all the magic of a fairy tale.
Maybe that’s why everyone loves the Carnival in Venice!
Here we have the finished costumes for the royal couple, ready to parade through the square in San Marco (well maybe he needs shoes!) Google