Frederik IV’s robe

Frederik 4th travelled to Italy twice, both times participating in the traditional carnival in Venice. When he came home, he arranged masked balls – and wore this costume pretending to be a servant; the contradiction of a lowly servant’s costume and the luxurious fabrics it was made was the kind of combination which was appreciated. His costumes were made of fabrics he’d bought in Italy. They didn’t have to be very accurate, and often the most spectacular costumes looked like something from the fantasy world of the theater. The conspicuous zig-zag pattern of gold bands, the “wings” at the shoulders, and the matching cap with its turned-up brim were all details taken from a Venetian servant’s costume.

The suit consists of an open jacket of cloth-of-silver, trimmed with rust-red silk velvet and wide gold ribbons. It has a wide skirt attached in deep pleats. Underneath is a long-sleeved vest, which is made of cloth-of-gold and trimmed with silver ribbons and fringes. The knee breeches are made of cloth-of-silver and golden fringe which danced when the King moved.