Sartorial Elegance at the Medici Court
Vittoria della Rovere’s self-fashioning has thus far focused on her art patronage through portraiture. Like the previous chapter, this chapter will look at the Grand Duchess’s engagement with material culture: her patronage of textiles and fashion as a means of displaying her court’s magnificence. It will do so by an analysis of Vittoria’s commissions from her favourite tailor, Lorenzo Gabbuggiani, whose unpublished two-volume account books (1680–1718) have only just come to light in a Florentine archive. An examination of these accounts reveals that Vittoria was one of Gabbuggiani’s most dedicated clients: over two-thirds of the tailor’s commissions came from the Grand Duchess, her family and her female court. An analysis of these account books will shed light on seventeenth-century artisan workshop practices and techniques such as embroidery and lacemaking, on the period’s design and designers, and on the fabrics and textiles utilized in the creations that Vittoria commissioned for herself or as gifts for her family and ladies-in-waiting in order to fashion their courtly and public image. Through the account book entries I will also be able to reconstruct the structure of the Grand Duchess’s court in the late 1680s and early 1690s, identifying her ladies-in-waiting in the last years of her life. Some of these ladies were singers, for whom Gabbuggiani produced their stage costumes. The Grand Duchess’s interest in musical theatre will thus also be discussed.