Iberian style in the Farthingale Era

Iberian styles tend to be more ornate than other European styles. A good example is the mantilla, the ornamental lace-clad tower worn on a lady's head. Since lace was not cheap until the industrial era, a mantilla conveyed the wealth of the lady wearing it, her leisured status, and it was beautiful. Like mantillas, the styles here are both opulent and elegant. Opulence and power are melded with grace and beauty.

In the 1500s, Spanish style could be severe with many garments made of black cloth. The Habsburg dynasty from Austria moved into Spain and Portugal resulting in Iberian styles appearing on very Germanic ladies with pouting Habsburg lips while the Habsburgs exported the saya all over Catholic Europe.

During this era, the Spanish developed a style of their own - the saya. The Web site Saya Española shows several images, many also found here, visualizing the saya. Originally, a saya had these features - 1) a conical skirt, 2) pronounced false sleeves, 3) a cape that became a train in back, and 4) a high ruffed collar that completely hides the neck. The overall appearance is of rigorous formality.


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