Masquerade balls are pleasant occasions and have been popular since the 15th century. Marriages or weddings are often celebrated with this kind of celebrations. The contemporary events are more likely inspired by the public events of the 17th century like the Venetian Carnival. Until today, this practice still continues in the form of “Mardi Gras.” However, the popularity of such events has become an inspiration and source of ideas for most private celebrations. Corporate events, proms, and birthdays can have this theme. This can also be a good gimmick for marketing.
Masquerade balls are frequently celebrated in Europe and they eventually reached the United States and people still enjoy these occasions today. The Victorian fashion inspired the dresses and masks used in this ball. So the most people look for their costumes from the Victorian period; however, other parties have their own specific rules such as the type of mask to wear and the era of the dress that should be worn.
When you select a masquerade ball gown, you need to check if the party calls for a particular period dress as themes can vary.
Victorian – is a fashion from the middle to late 18th century. The ball gowns are usually designed with corset and bustle with more elaborate masks that are adorned with gems and feathers.
Edwardian – These are not quite used; but, some of the dresses from the early Edwardian period are comparable to the Victorian ball gowns. The masks are more conservative in both use and form.
Medieval/Gothic – The fashion on this period is inspired by the middle ages. Usually, the costumes are darker with Gothic themes but also have a more stylish form of costumes than a strict replica of outfits. The masks are full faced with some or no decor.
Masks are essentially part of the whole look and costume so one should choose a mask that best suits the ball gown.
Usually, masks are made of papier-mâché which can be personalized to suit one’s personality. There are also ready-made masks that vary in materials ranging from papier-mâché to plastic. There are events where masks are supplied to achieve a more uniform look. It is important to remember that the mask you choose is comfortable and light to wear for several hours.
The different types of masks include:
Stick masks – These are usually half-masks where a stick is held from one side.
Half-masks – These masks cover the nose and forehead. Such masks can be animal themed like birds, butterflies, tigers, cats, etc. Remember that masks that cover the nose, forehead, and cheeks without covering the mouth are also considered to be a full-faced type.
Full-face – These masks cover the face but some have the mouth exposed so that it will not be interfering for eating or drinking. When it is worn with hood, it can have a better effect as the ears and rest of the head are covered.
Head-mask – These are usually formed from papier-mâché and designed to cover the entire head. The material is papier-mâché since plastic is non-breathable and will eventually get hot. It is a great idea to carry a half-mask in place of a mask that covers the entire head.
There are plenty of ready to wear costumes that would fit every shape. Sizes range from small to plus size Victorian ball gowns and masks vary too and will surely go well with the costumes. It is easier to look for Victorian era gowns and stylish gothic gowns than the Edwardian era gowns. Make sure you find a tailor who is quite familiar with the style if you don’t find a costume for yourself.