This post provides context for an earlier post on Simone Martini’s representation of luxury garments.
These silk brocades, damask, and lampas weave silk textiles were produced in Siena, Lucca, Venice and other Italian centers during the trecento. Designs were often copied from Islamic textiles, which were highly-coveted in the West and extravagantly cut against the bias, partly because the garment would fall better and partly because the wearer wanted to advertise the fact that s/he could afford such luxuries.
Italian fashions were expensive, but, on the whole, restrained and elegant (Giorgio Armani and Miuccia Prada are the heirs to this legacy). It was in the Burgundian territories, the other great cloth manufacturing center, that conspicuous displays of wealth and waste attained attained the full-on decadence described brilliantly by Johan Huizinga in The Waning of the Middle Ages (1919).