Today I will look at the costume of the eastern, or Gallo Speaking part of Gwened or Vannetais. The costume regions also include southern St Brieuc, southwestern St Malo, and small parts of Rennes and Vannes Provinces. This area, along with St Brieuc is considered Middle Brittany.
Bro Sant-Maloù in Breton
Paeï de Saent-Malò in Gallo
Pays de Saint Malo in French
Pays Vannetais in French
Mauron in French
This costume region lies within the Province of St. Malo. It belongs generally to this group. The old coif of this region was a type of catiole, and was called the doubled coif. Here is a photo of this coif.
You can see that the front edge is doubled. The laces that gather the rear of the coif are wrapped around and tied on top. The wide wings were pinned to the top of the coif. It would have been worn with an undercoif with ribbons that passed under the chin and then tied on the side. This coif was abandoned around the turn of the 20th cent. and I have no images of someone wearing it.
The new coif resembles others that we talked about around St Brieuc and Vannetais Gallo. It shrank, but still had the doubled front edge. The wings became vestigial, the undercoif disappeared, but the ribbons were transferred to the coif itself. A second ribbon was tied in a bow and attached to the rear of the coif.
Another coif appeared at the same time, called the round coif, or the 'Marie-Louise'. This is essentially this coif merged with the polka, [see my article on Rennes] which was worn in neighboring areas. There is a gathered fringe of lace on the lower rear of the coif, the ribbon is tied in a flat bow in front of the neck.
Josselin, Ploërmel in French
As you can see, this costume region lies in eastern Gwened, but also southern St Brieuc and St Malo provinces.
Because this is a relatively large area, there are several local traditions. The under coif remained an important feature over most of this area.
A type of capot, here called beguine, was also worn. Lalaisse shows it being worn over the coif and undercoif.
Later on, when the coif diminished, over most of this region the undercoif remained, with ribbons that tied under the chin. A ribbon was often wrapped around the back of the coif, forming a circle around the bun. It happened at times that the undercoif was embroidered on the back, and the coif was made of plain tulle to show the embroidery. The wings were pinned to the back.
Here are some images of various coifs of the area. This first is an embroidered undercoif from Serent.
I have not been able to find much from this region. I did find a note saying that the coif was similar to that of Josselin, but worn without an undercoif. The undercoif, however was not universally worn in the Josselin region. This drawing is showing a somewhat extended rear to the coif.
Here we see a later example made in lace with the proper 'heart shaped' folds in the rear part.
Finally, a version of the gallese coif, with undercoif, from across the river came to be worn in this area. Likely due to the close financial connections the city, via its bridge had with the north side. That is why this is considered to be part of the Rochefort region.
Damgan & Beler
This region along the coast was traditionally Breton speaking, and so technically belongs to Lower Brittany, along with the coast further south, as far as the city of Baule-Escoublac.
Here is an undercoif and coif from Penerv [Penerf in French], which lies on a peninsula southwest of Damgan. Note the heavy embroidery and ruched and piped lace on the undercoif, and the plain coif which lets the embroidery show through. Pinholes on the coif show that the wings were pinned to the top.
This photo shows a mass held in the town of Beler [Billiers in French] around 1900. You can see that the wings of the coif were let down during Church services for the sake of modesty. If you look closely, you can see that there is embroidery on the backs of the coifs.
Here is an old photograph taken in Damgan some time after this, you can see that both the coif and undercoif have diminished.
The rest of the images show the modern costume, from the 20th cent. The wings continue to be pinned to the top of the coif, in contrast to how they are worn further inland.
This is slightly further down the coast, on the other bank of the Villaine. I have found one undoubted photo from this region. You will notice that the wings of the two women are worn differently. The one on the right who lets them hang is unmarried. The one on the left who pins them back is married. Widows let them hang under the chin but pin the two ends together.
Although this region is part of the province of Gwened [Vannes], the costume in most of the region is more similar to that of Naoned [Nantes]. It is considered to be part of Upper Brittany.
Later the front piece and wings diminished, and the elongated rear became the coif, with only a minimum of cloth on the front. Here we see a drawing from the late 1800's. Here we see that the front of the coif is greatly reduced, but it is still pinned to an under coif with ties that pass under the chin and are tied on the side.
Here are two views of a coif from around the turn of the century. Notice the very particular way in which the rear was creased.
The coif was short, pointed at the rear, and kept the ribbon which wrapped around and tied in a bow at the nape of the neck. The heart shaped creases were a major feature of this coif.
A few more images showing the costume of this region. This first image shows the capote, worn for weather and for mourning.