Welcome to La Gazza Pazza

SEE YOU AT THE CAROLINA RENAISSANCE FESTIVAL, OCTOBER 1-NOVEMBER 20, IN THE ARTISAN MARKETPLACE ACROSS FROM THE ARCHERY BOOTH.  For something unique and different - high quality garments, handcrafted with love, come visit us...we are well worth the walk!

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We are designers and purveyors of quality historical and theatrical clothing…a small cottage industry making its home in the beautiful Upper Midwest. Our area of specialization encompasses the Viking Age through the era of Elizabeth I, although we enjoy creating costumes for 18th century and Victorian reenactment, fantasy designs, and just about anything else you can imagine.

We are committed to creating clothing that will make our patrons look and feel fabulous! These are not “costumes,” but real garments for real people that will withstand close scrutiny and everyday wear. We stand behind our products and will perform on-site repairs and reasonable exchanges. Best of all, when you purchase one of La Gazza Pazza’s creations, you are supporting New World artisans…no foreign sweatshops, ever! You may find that our prices are slightly higher than the Market by the Wall’s, but the commitment to quality is well worth the modest investment.

Do you have a special event coming up – a wedding, or a chance to reign as King or Queen of a medieval faire? In addition to our off-the-rack production, we love special orders! (Please note that depending on the elaborateness of the design, these may take a little longer in the summer season.) We are up for almost any challenge.

We offer a basic line of shirts, chemises, bodices, skirts, trews, cloaks and other simple garb, but most of our high-end items are one-off. Couple of reasons: (1) each garment is individually crafted, not factory-made; and (2) being a small shop, we can’t afford to buy an entire bolt of red velveteen at one shot! If you contact us with your preferred color/s, we can always scan and email you pictures of currently available fabrics and trims, or find that special item for you.

Recently I visited an email list where a lady lamented that “no one was doing authentic historical designs for the faire trade any more.” Fear not, good lady! While we carry a few fantasy designs, and some historically-inspired ones adapted for comfortable modern daywear in 80-90 degree heat, we love historic costuming research, basing our work on contemporary portraiture and reliable scholarship.

I made my first costume at age ten when my cousins and I gave my mother a classical Greek-themed birthday party – I showed up as Hermes (my cousins were Aphrodite and Poseidon). Later, as an East Coast ballet dancer, teacher and choreographer of modest means, I had to learn the ins and outs of dance costuming: what drapes well, moves well on stage and looks good under stage lighting on a budget. I designed and built classical tutus for my small company. No one else wanted to tackle them. If you have the gumption to do these, you can do just about anything, I figure.

When I retired from teaching due to a chronic knee injury, it made sense to pursue my second love of theatre. In 2002 Washington University in St. Louis awarded me a master’s degree in drama, with a concentration in Elizabethan/Jacobean theatre and costume technology. Since then I have made cotehardies, courtepys, cloaks, doublets, paned trunkhose, Norse tunics, Franciscan habits, wizard robes, Tudor gowns…the list goes on. A line of early 16th-century German men’s and women’s wear – waffenrocs, wams, hosen, and puff-and-slash gowns – will be added soon. I love a challenge!

Please browse our gallery and selections – additional designs coming soon – and feel free to contact us with any questions you might have.