Historical Costumes

At this point, Costume Rental Breuer presents you – in no particular order – a small selection of special gems from the extensive pool: Costumes that have been faithfully imitated, some of them are historical models, from the Middle Ages to the present day. Of course all costumes can be rented. You can make an inquiry via the fundus overview or the contact form.

Middle Ages / Gothic (1200 — 1480)

The married woman walks with her head covered. The hair is hidden under the pointed hennin: a headdress in the shape of a pointed cone, from the top of which falls a long veil. The pointed hood also serves as the basis for a sweeping headdress. Material: New fabrics came to Europe through the Crusades, travel and trade, e.g. linen, fuschia, cloth from Ghent and England, silk from Spain and Venice. Velvet braids are also woven and embroidered.                                                      

Literature: Ronsdorf, Margarete: Late Gothic women’s clothing 1380 – 1490. Opladen 1933. Wilckens, Leonie von: Terminology and typology of late medieval clothing. Krems 1988. The gradual rise of the bourgeoisie is most clearly visible in clothing. Influenced by the Gothic, there is a preference for vertical forms: the height of the body is emphasized and exaggerated. The clothes reveal the lines of the body, whereas previously loose clothing was preferred. The dress is kept tight and hugs the figure: a sophisticated way of drawing attention to the female form. The sleeves are long and widen at the wrists. Pointed shoes are worn with this.

Rococo (1723 — 1774)

The wig is powdered white, the hair on the back of the neck is in a pouch with silk bows. A tricorne hat is worn on the head. Material: silk fabrics (plain or with scattered flowers, tendrils and stripes, additionally decorated with artificial flowers, ruffles and lace borders). The jewelry is made of beads. Small, embroidered silk shoes or slippers with high heels are worn on the feet. The hairstyle is kept “small” and the hair – a coquetry with age – is worn gray or white by young and old. The fan and the so-called pompadour, a pocket bag, are fashionable accessories. Men’s clothing repeats the silhouette of women’s clothing. The skirts (the “justeaucorps”) and waistcoats are lined with oilcloth so that they stand out from the hips – from the middle of the 18th century they become narrower. Underneath you wear the shirt with lace jabot and lace cuffs. In addition, breeches, silk stockings and buckled shoes. Material: silk with gold and silver threads, embroidered with sequins.

Literature: Ruppert, Jacques: Le costume Louis XIV – Louis XV. Paris 1990

Since Louis XIV, French culture and language have been considered exemplary in Europe. Accordingly, French fashion sets the tone. The ladies wear a hoop skirt made of whalebone bones. A bodice is worn over the corset and is laced at the back. The sleeves are tight up to the elbow, then the tips (“engageantes”) come to light. The skirts are attached to the bodice: the lower one (“jupe”) lies on top of the crinoline, the upper one (“manteau”) is usually open at the front.

Directoire / Empire (1790 — 1820)

The French Revolution of 1789 brought a radical change in fashion. As a result of the new conceptions of nature and freedom, there is resistance to corsets, hoop skirts, powder and high heels. It is based on antiquity, especially on the “Greek robe”. A one-piece chemise dress cut like a shirt is typical of this era. With a high waist just below the bust, cinched in the back below the shoulder blades, the skirt falls long and smooth to the floor. A wide neckline and short sleeves complete the picture. Cashmere scarves are wrapped around to protect against the cold.

Flat, high-tied sandals are worn on the feet. The hair is pinned up in the Greek style or shaved to the “Titus head”.

Material: cotton fabrics, printed calico, muslin, cambric.

Literature: Le Bourhis, Katell: The age of Napoleon. Costume from Revolution to Empire, 1789-1815. New York 1989. Gründerzeit / turn of the century (1870 — 1890)

The victory in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870/71 leads to an economic boom in Germany. The name “Gründerzeit” reflects the founding of numerous companies.

In fashion, the female line is determined by the tournure dress: a tightly laced corset with a long, pointed waist. The skirts are draped, meaning the fabrics drape generously across the skirt to gather at the back. The juxtaposition of different types of fabric of the same color is particularly popular and effective.

A small hat decorated with feathers, flowers and ribbons, a cap, is worn as headgear.

Material: velvet, silk, cloth, gauze, batiste, linon, organdy, linen.

The “Roaring Twenties” (1920 — 1929)

After the First World War, in the “Roaring Twenties”, a violent frenzy of pleasure breaks out. The fashion of the 1920s, which is still a household name today, was created in the metropolis of Berlin. The woman of this time, a mixture of vamp and garçonne, emerges before our eyes as a willowy, Charleston-dancing person in a short dress with a long cigarette holder, pearl necklace and bob haircut. The prevailing fashion does not allow women to have breasts, stomachs or hips. The decoration includes colorful glass beads, feathers and chenille embroidery. They wear synthetic silk stockings and low-heeled shoes with straps.

Women who go with the fashion wear short, smooth combed hair – the “bob haircut”. The fact that women’s hairstyles are similar to men’s short haircuts is also a symbolic expression of their emancipation.

Material: The Charleston dresses are made of voile, crepe, silk, satin and taffeta.

Literature: Loschek, Ingrid: Fashion in the 20th Century. 5th edition. Munich 1995. Mundt, Barbara: Metropolises create fashion. Haute Couture of the 1920s. 3rd, change Edition Berlin 1989.

Op Art and Pop Art (60s and 70s)

The conservative post-war era was shaken by the student revolts, which manifested themselves particularly in protests against the Vietnam War. There was also a radical break in fashion, with “jeans” becoming its symbol. These trousers, which also came to Europe with the American soldiers, became the preferred item of clothing for the rebellious youth. The mini skirt presented by Mary Quant in 1965 had a similarly strong effect. Fashion now shows its colors. While the hippie look was essentially inspired by trips to India and Afghanistan, the fashions in the shrill neon light culture of pink and punk then developed in ever faster succession. The “mother” of punk fashion is Vivienne Westwood.

Colored headbands are tied around the long hair. Sandals are worn with hippie fashion, platform shoes or tight-fitting boots that reach over the knee with punk fashion.

Literature: Hennessy, Val: In the Gutter. London/Melbourne/New York: Quartet Books 1978.