Martial Beauty: Padding and Quilting One’s Way to a Masculine Ideal in 14th Century France
Allow me to tell a tale about the connection between the humble textile foundation of martial harness in the 14th century, called the aketon, and the subsequent popularity of padded, quilted garments occurring in France as a peace-time fashion. The former inspired the latter at a time of social change which was boldly reflected in the clothing people wore. In the unremittin g climate of battle that took hold in France by the middle of that century, steel plate technology took fast steps forward, leading to a new silhouette for the martially inclined man. In turn, bellwether s of style leaped to borrow the look of the armoured man's rounded breast plate by padding their doublets. Shortly thereafter , a new breed of quilted martial surcoat worn over men's martial harness arrived on the scene - the coat-armou r - harkening back to the basis of the padding and quilting craze: the no-nonsens e aketon.