Thanks to the Reading Between the Wines gals for hosting me today to celebrate the release of THE EDGE OF THE BLADE!
It’s funny that they asked me to talk about Dasnarian fashion, because I saw a review just today where the reviewer seemed confused about the worldbuilding unpinning some of the Dasnarian fashion trends. A perfect opportunity for me to explain!
For those who’ve not yet read the book – or unfamiliar with the series – the Dasnarian Empire is introduced first in THE TALON OF THE HAWK. The hero of that book, Harlan, is a mercenary from there, along with his army of warriors, the Vervaldr (which translates loosely as “sea-wolves.”) We don’t know much about them at that point except that they are big men, fair-haired, with light eyes.
In the next book, THE PAGES OF THE MIND, more becomes apparent about the Dasnarian Empire – particularly their interference with the Twelve (or Thirteen) Kingdoms – and in THE EDGE OF THE BLADE, our heroine Jepp must go there as a spy.
Most of her time in the Dasnarian capital is spent at the palace. When she arrives, it’s the dead of winter, in a northern climate. Women in the Dasnarian Empire are considered weaker physically and in need of protection – thus they are cloistered and remain indoors almost exclusively. As a result of their lifestyle, the women dress both literally and symbolically in clothes appropriate only for their well-heated and cossetted lives. The noble women wear silk, wrapped in an elaborate length, much like a sari. The silk is imported to the palace from protectorate states. Men, also, wear silk uniforms, an obvious symbol of the might of the Empire which can afford – or afford to take – anything it wishes.
Another emblem of the women’s indoor existence is their lack of footwear, especially for the women of the palace who walk all day on imported silk carpets. They go barefoot, and have developed elaborate foot-jewelry that shows off their wealth.
Color is very important in the Dasnarian culture, especially in the palace where it demonstrates political sympathies. Clothing is also used to intimidate by making people physically uncomfortable, as in the Emperor’s blindingly bright raiment.
I particularly love the scene when the Dasnarian women develop the perfect costume for Jepp – a blend of the two cultures, but also strongly influenced by Jepp’s unique character. I won’t give it away, but that fashion choice foreshadows her future.
What did I forget – what other questions do you all have?