Medieval Romani Women like Esmeralda have been long depicted as wearing specific clothing. Long flowing colorful skirts, corsets, low-cut chemise blouse and lots of jewelry. But is this accurate? Did medieval Romani dress this way?  Please keep in my I’m not expert on any of this.

Esmeralda Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Esmeralda exerting some power Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame

To be fair the Romani were a very uncommon subject of medieval art. Art back then was  for the most part was commercial, an artist was hired to paint someone’s portrait so there is a lack of Romani in traditional art history works. And painting is largely how people glean what people in Medieval times wore.

However, there are three works that depict Romani women that even though  they are from the Renaissance gives a slight hint as to what Romani women could have worn and very well what a girl like Esmeralda could have wore.

The Fortune Teller by Caravaggio picture image

The Fortune Teller by Caravaggio

Let’s start with Caravaggio’s Fortune Teller. There is actually two versions of this painting done a year a part. This one is the second version from 1595. In both paintings the women is dress the same.  The Fortune teller in this is identified as a Romani. She is wearing a  high neckline chemise that has a slit in it with a embroidered neckline that ties closed. She also wears a sari-like garment. It has a red broader and ties at the shoulder. Romani are said to have migrated out of India so a sari would make sense that they could have wore this. She also wears a turban-like headdress

The Fortune Teller by Vouet picture image

The Fortune Teller by Vouet

The depiction by Vouet  is similar to Caravaggio but is different. The Romani girl in this wears the sari-like garment but her chemise blouse is lower cut and she seems to wearing corset-like garment. Her sari also has a red boarder and ties at the shoulder. She is not wearing a headdress. This painting was made in response to Caravaggio, so Voulet could have just copied the clothing.

Fortune teller by Boulogne picture image

Fortune teller by Boulogne

Then there Boulogne’s take on Caravaggio’s Romani theme. In this one the Romani girl is still a fortune teller and is wearing a veil like headdress. The headdress is akin to Gina Lollobrigda’s costume in the 1956 version. She doesn’t seem to be wearing a sari either but instead she is wearing an overdress. This also makes sense that a Romani would wear clothing that is more European is style as they were often gifted clothing for their fortune telling.

One thing you might notice is the lack of Jewelry. None of these paintings have the hoop earrings, the coins or anything that fits the cliche look. The pervasive  look for the “Gypsy” is an 1800 century one or even just a myth.

Not that I think film version would ever go this route for Esmeralda’s costume, costume designers seem to hate historical accuracy (I‘m looking at you Colleen Atwood for your designs in Memoirs of a Geisha and what you said in the featurette) but I can’t help but think how different Esmeralda’s dancing would be if she was in the Sari-garment.   And how different she would be perceived. Her low cut blouse and defined waist of a corset couldn’t carry the sensualness, it would all have to be on the actress.

Get Michelangelo Caravaggio (The fortune teller) Art Poster Print

Fleur de Lys is Phoebus’ Fiancee. She is a noble lady and is often overlook by more than a few film versions but done right she can be an interesting and very complex. Fleur-de-Lys is less iconic of a costume than Esmeralda’s as a Renaisaance lady is kind a dime a dozen. But if you want to feel like Fleur-de-Lys there are a few options. Remember unless you’re going custom nothing will look 100% to 1480’s style.

You go either rich colors like reds or go for blues. A few film Fleur-de Lys wear blue. Just remember you’re a rich lady who is the only character to really get a happy ending in the novel.

 

 

Costume Culture by Franco LLC Womens Medieval Blue Princess Halloween Costume picture image

Costume Culture by Franco LLC Womens Medieval Blue Princess Halloween Costume

Costume Culture by Franco LLC Womens Medieval Blue Princess Halloween Costume

 

This one is one of the few blue on I could find.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charades Womens Camelot Renaissance Dress Halloween Costume picture image

Charades Womens Camelot Renaissance Dress Halloween Costume

Charades Womens Camelot Renaissance Dress Halloween Costume

 

I like this color options for Fleur-de-Lys, a dark rich pick which seems to fit her personality very well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Renaissance Maiden Adult Costume picture image

Renaissance Maiden Adult Costume

Renaissance Maiden Adult Costume

The sleeves are very much like sleeves people would have worn in the late medieval period.  This costume is very rich looking.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rubie's Costume Deluxe Milady Of The Castle Renaissance Dress picture image

Rubie’s Costume Deluxe Milady Of The Castle Renaissance Dress

Rubie’s Costume Deluxe Milady Of The Castle Renaissance Dress

This costume has a neckline detail that is very similar to what was fashionable in the 1480’s. Also the fur trim on the cuff is a detail that was on the 1956 Fleur-de-Lys costume.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adult Maiden Of Verona Costume picture image

Adult Maiden Of Verona Costume

Adult Maiden Of Verona Costume

The neckline and waist are very much like the fashion of the 1480’s plus the color, the darkish almost pink color is great for Fleur-de-Lys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

InCharacter Costumes, LLC Maid Marian Dress picture image

InCharacter Costumes, LLC Maid Marian Dress

InCharacter Costumes, LLC Maid Marian Dress

 

This costume has both red and blue. The sleeves are very pretty and feminine. Even though this is a very pretty costume there something dark about it which makes it a good choice for Fleur-de-Lys

Streets In Front of Notre Dame,  1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame    picture image

Streets In Front of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Unlike other versions of The Hunchback of Notre Dame I can tell I’m looking at a set in the 1956 version. The sets are nice and they do their job well but there is no life to them. That maybe the fault of the film’s direction and not entirely the sets themselves.

The upper Set of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame, picture image

The upper Set of Notre Dame, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

Notre Dame itself looks fine. It has a nice sense of age and weathering on it. But you never see the full grandeur of it. You get hints of it in shots of the city but nothing expansive.

Esmeralda's room set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame    picture image

Esmeralda’s room set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

You do get a sense of the narrow poky streets of medieval Paris but with the flat angles of the direction of this movie the sets really just sit in the background and do not get a sense of feeling like I have been transported back in time I feel like I’m looking at decent looking sets.

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) in the bell tower, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame  picture image

Esmeralda (Gina Lollobrigida) in the bell tower, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

I had there been more style to way this film was shot maybe the sets would have stood out more and felt less fake. I feel like the sets were designed for Disney’s Epcot Medieval Paris Experience*” and not a movie.

Interior Set,  1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame picture image

Interior Set, 1956 Hunchback of Notre Dame

 

Next Time – The style of this movie i.e. The Direction

The Famous Sanctuary scene at a flat angle, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

The Famous Sanctuary scene at a flat angle, 1956 Hunchback of Notre dame

 

 

 

 

 

 

(*) This totally should exist

Ok, Technically this First isn’t “Hunchback” related in terms of the story but it’s Medieval so I feel justified in posting it here… on my blog…

It’s a Parody of the “Cool Story Babe, now make me a Sandwich” shirts  except it’s been medievalize. It’s Perfect for Ren Faires!

(Fun Fact – On Zazzle the word “Wench” is PG-13 )