helens_daughter (helens_daughter) wrote,

The Heanos

Look up the subject of Minoan fashion and you'll inevitably come across that website/article/comment claiming that the Minoans were the first people to make and wear fitted garments, as evidenced by the tailored open bodice.  I made this mistake, too, when writing Helen's Daughter; there's a scene where Helen fits Hermione with a wedding bodice.

It took the publication of Bernice Jones' book Ariadne's Threads and some further digging into ancient costume to figure out that the Minoans didn't tailor their clothing; what you see in the artwork is an idealized representation.  What the women are actually wearing is a garment called a heanos.

The heanos is a knee-length shift with a deep vee that can be pulled open to reveal the breasts, or closed, depending on the occasion.

In my sewing room I have a half-finished heanos, but I'm not about to photograph myself wearing it.  Nobody wants to see my cholecystectomy scars, really.

This is how it would have looked when worn, as demonstrated by the ladies in the left hand side of the artwork:

You would have wrapped the flounced skirt around the waist of the heanos.  So Minoan women's clothing was much looser and probably more comfortable in the Mediterranean climate than a fitted ensemble would have been.  And a heanos is very simple to make.
Tags: clothes, clothing, fashion, minoans
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