Today, on the second Monday of October, the ever-controversial Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples Day is celebrated. Columbus Day is a holiday celebrating the anniversary of Christopher Columbus’ arrival in the Americas on October 12, 1492. However, the holiday is being reclaimed as Indigenous Peoples Day—a day of solidarity with Native Americans, as well.
Everyone knows the story of Christopher Columbus, a Spanish explorer looking for a passage to Asia for the trade of goods in the late 1400’s. With his three ships, the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria, Columbus set sail and ‘discovered’ America, where he found what he called “Indians”, thinking he found India. But did you know that the Renaissance created such an impact on the European cultural movement that it’s still influencing artisans and designers in present day? So, in praise of Columbus’ “discovery” of the so-called “New World” I’d like to share some modern day looks for brides inspired by what came out of Europe in the mid-fourteenth century and spread to the colonies in the New World.
As far as their makeup goes… European brides and all other fashionable ladies in this era highly valued pallor. An ivory-like complexion was highly desired by the ladies of the age. Bride who weren’t naturally pale used white lead powder to achieve look of the day, white powders such as ground alabaster were also blended on the face to give the appearance of fair skin. Cheeks also remained fair but needed to give off a bit of a glow. Mercury was sometimes added to the white lead powder and rubbed into the cheek area in order to achieve the necessary effect.
Since high, wide foreheads were prized, women often pumiced that area to hide any evidence of tweezed hairlines and to assure that no lines cracked the serenity of their brow. Eyebrows needed to remain light and airy, so they were often tweezed or even cut to make certain that they were not overly prominent. Vermilion was commonly used on the lips, which could either be left natural or tinted to full, highly defined, and luscious red color. Women also practiced putting drops of belladonna, an herb, into their eyes. This would create the desired effect of making their eyes sparkle and make their eyes look wider. Unfortunately, it also led to poisoning and permanently harmed their vision with extended use.
Much like today, luxury and style have often revolved around the bridal gowns worn during the Renaissance era. The brides of the Renaissance era were known for their distinctive and elaborate sense of style. In fact, European cultures were very fashion-conscious, so wedding dresses were appropriately stylized and remarkable because the purpose of clothing in Renaissance times was to make a statement or establish one’s social status.
The Art of Bridal Makeovers by Aradia – Yes! It’s about the love of fashion history and culture, but mostly it’s about today’s bridal beauty.
Credits: Image #1 – The style and cultured elegance of the Renaissance inspired the gorgeous bridal editorial by Benny Horne for Vogue Australia Cara Delevingne is the model gracing the magazine’s October 2013 issue in a look from Dolce & Gabbana.
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