20 thoughts on “Tulip Fever (2016) Trailer Commentary

  1. Black was a very rich colour in the 17th century — which is why the Puritans never wore it. Over all, the still look very promising. As I understand it, the flow of fashion was from France to the Low Countries to England, with slight modifications. The best marker for the differences is the drums on the table legs: in France, they are slender and graceful; in the Low Countries, much more substantial, and in England in between the two. After the 1640s, the men’s fashions get really awful leading into the extremes of the Restoration, then the longer lines of the Baroque and Rococo.
    Over all, the pics look very promising

      1. Browns, grey, rust, dark green, particularly fond of a shade called ‘murrey,’ which is probably a variation of mulberry, usually in wool or linen. Some more wealthy might go for more opulent fabric, but little ornamentation. Best novel for descriptions is “Mist Over Pendle,” if you can find it. The heroine, raised in a strict Puritan family, finds many ways to circumvent the dress code. Set against the Pendle Witch Trials of 1612.
        At least this was the case with English Puritans; I can’t speak so much for the Continent. But — the Spanish Catholics seemed to like black a lot, reason enough for the Puritans to avoid it.

  2. I like how a lot of scenes look like dutch paintings from the era. Really excited about this film (although Christoph is starting to get type cast as the Bad Old Husband).

    1. Honestly, I find Christoph far more appealing than the guy from One Direction* they have playing the love interest.

      *(A joke. I know he isn’t really from One Direction… though he could have a second career as an impersonator.)

  3. I am excited about the movie. Vermeer is a genius and so is de Keyser in his portraits. I love the period. And it, the era, is more than Athos, Porthos and D’Artagnon in Fashion. The Dutch were a fascinating people and culture in the early 17th century. Their merchanteers sailed everywhere (NY was originally settled by them), brought back the best swag (tulips, coffee, jewels, spices etc.) It – the success and wealth were reflected in the clothes. Check out more portraits of de Keyser, van Dyke, and even Rubens.

    Black, true black was an expensive fabric for the dyes. Check out the Elizabethan portraits of QEI, Leicester, Bess of Hardwick and that vixen, Lettice Countess of Essex. If you were anyone from about 1550-1630, you wore black in your portrait.

  4. I have a colleague/fellow fashion historian and curator who REALLY rates Michael O’Connor and thinks he is probably one of the BEST historical film costumers out there – to the extent that he has said that if Michael O’Connor does something he isn’t familiar with, he assumes that O’Connor must know or have seen something he hasn’t. And these do look like O’Connor has hit the ball out of the park again.

  5. I can hardly wait for this one. I have a 17th century reenactor friend who is of Dutch ancestry and when he was younger, had long red hair. He looked like he walked right off a cigar box.

    One other note about black clothing: black was a “fugitive” color, which meant that it would fade with wear or washing. One of the reasons the 16th century Spanish nobility wore all-black clothing to show that they could afford to have the fabric re-dyed or could throw away the clothing and buy more. Black clothing was a symbol of wealth

  6. I’m very excited for this movie. Thanks for the write-up, and the analysis of the costumes! It looks great so far. My only comment would be that Sophia’s cap (white with the blackwork one underneath) doesn’t seem to have an ear-iron underneath, which is how these caps were kept in place. (at least if it’s the same type as in the painting). But that’s just nit-picking because I like the ear-irons.

  7. I visited the Abegg Stiftung last year. It’s reachable by public transport (train and postbus) from Bern, and the postbus picks up at closing time and also one hour before. It’s only open for a few hours a day, but it’s a major collection of rare and beautiful textiles, and well worth a visit for anybody who can make it. Interpretation is in German, but they can lend you an English-language catalogue to go round with. They also publish a range of books in German on their collections. There’s no cafe, just drinks on a trust basis, but there are picnic tables outside. No photography.

  8. Kendra, so glad you reviewed this. I was an exchange student in northern Belgium in 1972, and had the opportunity to drink in lots of portraiture with these styles, and although I don’t know much about it–or re-creating it–, just love the visuals. Thanks for pointing out the chemise embroidery details and the lace “everythings.” Would you believe I had the opportunity at age 18 to take lace making classes in Bruges? Unfortunately, couldn’t do it due to circumstances, but now I just gnash my teeth thinking about it. Will be sure to see this movie–but in Los Angeles, it could come and go very quickly. Great review! See you at CoCo, I hope.

  9. Just to mention it: the bodice is not a property the Abbeg-Stiftung. It is in the collection of the “Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt” it had been exhibited this summer during the exhibition “Chic!” which goes until 16th october. I don’t know it these textiles will be on permanent display after.

  10. European Baroque Art Historian and amateur seamstress here. Just found your website this month; it is fabulous. However, while I am excited for this film (which I hope is somewhat based on the book TulipoMania), some of the choices of frocks and decor make no sense to me. Very few upper middle class married women in pre1660 Netherlands would have had their portrait painted with a bare neck and visible decollectage — all of the examples you cite are of Elizabeth Stuart, the Winter Queen, so royalty. The worse error is in decor – the use of Titan’s Danae and Cupid for a painting on the wall. NO WAY an erotic 16th C Italian painting (Titan did 5 versions, and they were all in royal collections) would be in an upper middle class Netherlandish house. To compare, Rembrandt’s version, done in 1636, is so much modest. Wish they had selected that one. But, love, love, love Mrs. Steen’s black and gold outfit. So close to many Franz Hals portraits.

    1. Adding a bit more background to the Dutch wearing a lot of black due to our (I’m Dutch) Calvinistic/Protestant beliefs at the time… That is a common misconception. This was the Golden Age for the Netherlands and the rich where a lot less pious than you might think (kinda like the British during Victorian times). Nowadays, fabrics are dyed black with chemicals. That is because true black fabric dye cannot be made with purely natural resources; fabrics just turn out grey. The only way a (kinda) black fabric could be achieved is by using many consecutive sessions of dying the fabric in indigo from the Orient. Since the Dutch had a monopoly in the trade with several Asian countries, wearing black (especially in portraits, where you would wear your Best Outfit) is like a ‘90s rapper wearing all of his bling in a videoclip. In a way, I can also imagine it was a bit of a f* you to the Catholic Spanish, who were pretty much our rivals in trade but that is just speculation on my side.

      1. I believe either the Italians, or the Spanish had a breed of sheep that grew naturally black wool, that was highly prized.
        The process of ‘mordanting’/ fixing natural dyes (what they had to do before the advent of chemical dyes) is mentioned in a book on herbs & their uses, that I have- it has like 4 pages dedicated to herbal dyes; iron was used to darken or ‘sadden’/ dull colours, whereas alum was used to brighten – one of the herbs mentioned to give black, I believe is bearberry- it gives a violet grey with alum, & black with iron- I read that the reason there aren’t many pre-18th century examples of embroidery with black thread & fabric, is because the iron necessary to fix the dye would eventually eat away the fibres- & as others have said, there was also over-dyeing indigo as an option.

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