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Burial clothes of Cosimo I de’ Medici: Doublet, stockings with codpiece, Cappa Magna cope of the Order of St. Stephen Made in Florence

Author
Manifattura fiorentina
Date
1574
Location
in storage
Inventory
GGC nos. 8726, 8727, 8728

The clothes in which Cosimo I was buried give us a rare and precious insight into the clothing of the sixteenth century. In 1983, the clothes arrived at the Costume Gallery as a bundle of shapeless fabrics and were painstakingly restored by internationally renowned experts over a ten-year period.  While it was possible to reconstruct the doublet, his other items of clothing could only be partly restored.

Cosimo I de’ Medici's rise to power was seen by both the family and the city as a mark of Florence’s return to international prominence; even fashion became an ““instrumentum regni” thanks to the influential potential that clothing demonstrated under the influence of Spanish fashion. With the consolidation of political power beyond the Alps and in Italy, courtly fashion was born, an ostentatious and exhibitionist style that was expressed in carnivals and at the courts with a theatrical and scenographic flair. Masculine fashion was characterized by showy decorations, particularly the cuts of fabric which enabled an interplay of colors thanks to the possibility of overlaying different materials and tones. Military power was another mark of prestige at court and this had to be shown off to the full.

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