This Halloween season, Trystan is indulging her gothy love of black garb in frock flicks fashion by looking at some of the most fabulous black dresses in historical costume movies and TV shows. Black wasn’t just worn for mourning, after all!
Black clothing was something of a status symbol in the late medieval and early renaissance period because the dyes to make a true, solid black were somewhat expensive and complicated to produce. Wealthy Italian merchants a la the Medicis and upper-class Spanish courtiers were often painted in rich black clothes, and the fashions spread northward to figures like Diane de Poitiers who became renown for dramatic black-and-white gowns. But black clothes have often been worn for somber occasions in Christian cultures. In Elizabeth R (1971), the queen requires her entire court to wear black as mourning in response to the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre. In most screen versions of Mary Queen of Scots’ life, she’s shown wearing the iconic black gown with white ruffs she was painted in during captivity, symbolic of her widowhood.
Here are some of my favorite 16th-century historical frocks in black. What are yours?
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Black-Adder II (1986)
Who loves a black frock with me?