Ok, So when shopping for my son’s birthday wall decor I saw this mask and immediately knew how I was going to style it. I had to have it’s glittery beautiful mask of goodness. The mask was inspiring me to do a more creative shoot. Masquerade Princess Barbie. Yeah, or Ariel which ever you want.
But, did you know there is a whole history to Masquerade balls and such? Did you? Huh? Did ya?
Masquerade has it’s origins in the 14th to 15th century in Europe to celebrate their carnival season. And of course some would argue that it originated in Italy in the 16th century. So, from what I have been reading it is varied, so we shall just go with Europe. Again. I guess, it is really going to go to where you read. From what I am seeing it was mostly Popular in Venice, and was elaborate parties thrown by the Aristocratic society of the time. Although, it was also popular in France.Honestly, this bit is how my brain is processing it and it is all garbled and huh and what?
Masquerade was centered around people having fun, I am sure getting drunk. Royals in France would dress up as woodsmen and when dancing around if they got to close to some torches it would end badly, they would be caught on fire. Their costumes, stupidly, were made of flax and pitch. Which if you did not know, are highly flammable. Elaborate costumes were worn and masks.
In the 16th century, during the Renaissance , The Italian Maschera, it was at that time mostly the upper class that would enjoy the Masquerade. The balls were elaborate and must have been extrodinary. But, by the end of the 18th century, the masked bit of the Masquerade had all but disappeared. Bummer.
The Masks are some of the best bit of the whole thing. The elaborate glittery masks make Masquerade so alluring to me. But, with all the glitz and glamor of masquerade, they were not all without some deaths. King Gustav III of Sweden was assassinated at a Masquerade ball by a disgruntled nobleman. Sometime in 1708 a Swiss count introduced a semi public masquerade ball. All of this extravagance and mingling of the classes kind of had a bit of a mixed reaction by some. The reputation for unseemly behavior, unescorted women and assignations motivated a change of name, to the Venetian ridotto, but as “The Man of Taste” observed in 1733:
In Lent, if masquerades displease the town,
Call ’em Ridottos and they still go down.
There were games at the balls where people had to guess who was behind the mask. Which I saw something of this in Marie Antoinette(the 1930’s version) and if memory serves there was a ball in Amedeus
Masquerade balls did make their way to America, and became popular here in the states. One being held in New York City in 1966. But, The most “famous”ball being in the 1950s and was hailed as the party of the year.That was held in Venice at the Palazzo Labia. Still, I don’t think the balls here are anything compared to what is had in France or Italy. They have the ambiance, they have the history, and we have what we have. Which honestly, I have never been to one and would love to go! Goddess help us if the housewives do a themed Masquerade party. They would either A get it right and it will be epic with fights. Or B, mess it up and still have epic fights. I need to get out more.
The masks themselves came in many different forms.The main types of masks included masks with a stick (which one could hold to keep the mask in front of their face), the head mask, the full-face mask, and the half face mask. The main colors were either black or white. They could be used to represent their speech, you know to voice opinions without fear of judgement. Because no one would know who it was! See? AAHHHH! Anyways, after the base color was chosen, they would then pick out additional decorations applied to the mask.
Maybe one day I will get invited to a ball like that, how fun would that be? That or my anxiety would really do me a mischief.