Thursday, March 20, 2014

Introduction to the Marmotte Carnivale costume

Another post in my series on costuming for the Greater Bay Area Costumers Guild Bal di Carnivale.
Last year I read The Dreamstress's post on "Marmottes and the Savoyarde Style", which said "In the 17th & 18th century peasants from the alpine region of Savoy would train marmots and dance with them as street entertainment." and had some fabulous research on both peasants and noble women dressed in the savoyarde style.
Savoy peasants from Petits métiers, cris de Paris
 (Street vendors of Paris), Claude-Louis Desrais (1746-1816)

She has a hurdy gurdy, he has a box to keep his marmot in.  How cute!
yellow-bellied Marmot from Wikipedia
I adore marmots.  As an ecologist I'm sure the wild ones are cranky and bitey but they are so incredibly adorable I would really love to snuggle them!  My local species is the yellow-bellied marmot, found in the Sierra Nevada and easily observed at Yosemite and Sequoia National Parks.  Occasionally found hitch-hiking to the City.  Many years ago I was at Yosemite hiking in the High Country and we stopped at the Tuolomme Meadow visitors center and I purchased a yellow-bellied marmot plush.  It has been hanging out on my bookshelf ever since, occasionally dressed in medieval hoods and other fine attire.
As soon as the event was announced for the GBACG Bal di Carnivale (tickets still available!) I knew I wanted to dress as a Marmotte.  But I also knew it was a swanky event and I didn't want to be a peasant.  Fortunately Leimomi had a couple paintings of Nobility dressed as marmottes, including one with the actual props of a hurdy-gurdy-playing peasant.

Countess Christina Margareta Törnflycht Augusta, Countess Wrede-Sparre of Sundby (1714-1780) dressed as a marmotte, 1739, Gustaf Lundberg, sold at auction via The Dreamstress
I like the Countess' props, this is probably a hurdy-gurdy and not a box to keep you marmot in. But I prefer a mid-late century costume for this event.  I was thrilled to see this fashionable Savoyarde style on the Dauphine of France.  She doesn't have the propos

Marie-Josèphe of Saxony in the Savoyarde style, 1750-51, Jean-Marc Nattier. Palace of Versailles. via The Dreamstress


  1. Aiee, this is such a great idea! And I love marmots too :)

    1. Lemme tell you about my marmots-as-pets plan... (I mean, you could have them hibernate if you went on vacation and I'm told the ones born in captivity are fairly tame...)