Obsolete Fashion: A Ferronière Share of Style


Photo: Louvre Museum

Depicted with a fine brushstroke, the simple headpiece worn by the lady above was all the rage in the 15th century. Known as a ferronière, this delicate adornment was composed of a satin cord or velvet ribbon tied at the back of the head, with a simple precious stone suspended at the center of the wearer’s forehead.

The object derived its name from the above painting, “La Belle Ferronière.” Originally thought to depict the blacksmith’s wife that King Francis I of France was sweet on, the portrait’s subject is now thought to be Lucrezia Crivelli, mistress of Milanese Duke Ludovico Sforza.

The ferronière saw a brief revival in the 19th century, with a slightly more ornate twist –the cord or ribbon was replaced with a fine chain or dainty string of beads– but fell from popularity as hairstyles evolved into forms which rendered the ferronière impractical.

What do you think of the ferronière, friends?

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4 Responses to Obsolete Fashion: A Ferronière Share of Style

  1. Lindsay 08/11/2010 at 6:18 pm #

    It also fell from popularity after it was used to hide syphilitic lesions.

  2. Tess 08/15/2010 at 1:03 pm #

    If I had syphilitic lesions I’d definitely bring it back.

  3. Guyomar 10/17/2010 at 4:01 pm #

    It probably wouldn’t look good on everyone but I I can imagine a few girls who could pull this off. I think it’s pretty.

  4. Devin 03/02/2013 at 8:30 pm #

    Well now people are just getting gems pierced into their faces. No need for a velvet string.

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