Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 37e Cahier, 4e Figure

Manner of wearing informal mourning.  Vest of white silk embroidered with black, under a black coat of silk or wool.  Stockings of white silk.  Fringed linen. (1781)

The Galerie des Modes gave this plate of a mourning outfit and the one reproduced as number 162 on the occasion of the death of Marie-Thérèse of Austria, mother of Marie Antoinette, on the 29th of November 1780.  Regarding this court mourning dress:

"There is a book which will teach you when to put on black stones or diamonds, to wear caps of black étamine* or a gauze kerchief.  It will then tell you in what manner one cuts a mourning whose days are irregular.  You will learn in this useful book that one wears black for the larger part of it, and that if the mourning, for example, is for fifteen days, black is worn for eight days and white for the following seven.

"In Paris one wears mourning for one's parents, for monarchs, princes and princesses of Europe; mourning is never worn for a friend.

"You want to be saddened at the death of a sovereign; the public papers will tell you that mourning is suspended, and that you may only legitimately put off the liveries of sadness in three weeks, following a pink ball which throws off this epoch of crêpe, flat lappets, hanging coiffures.  But on the day indicated by the weekly paper, everyone is in black, and a multitude of people which have no other dress are thus very satisfied.

"When the whole court is in black, only the king is in violet."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, edit. 1783

* A light fabric, often used for straining liquids.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 37e Cahier, 3e Figure

Black polonaise or informal gown that can be worn in Grand mourning.  The muff is of black plumes according to etiquette.  Grey pelisse edged with swansdown. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1521.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

How's Your Weekend?

Yesterday evening, I went on an unusual date to "Expo 1920s", a program put on by undergraduates at the Russell Sage's Women's Studies Center and the Rensselaer County Historical Society.  (Visiting that campus in Troy makes me almost wish I'd gone to a private college!  SO BEAUTIFUL.)

I had no idea what to expect, as there were only very short blurbs online giving basic information.  When we came in it was just starting, taking the form of a kind of runway show, with a student talking from the perspective of a woman from the 1920s to introduce objects (dresses on mannequins, hats on stands, a gramophone, a toaster, etc.), which were wheeled down the aisle to the strains of popular period music.  After the show was over, the three students who'd worked on the project sat on the stage with the curator of the RCHS and took questions.  It was an enjoyable way to spend the evening, although I would have liked it if there had been more discussion of the gradual changes through the 1900s and 1910s, rather than the slightly simplified "transition ... from the Victorian era to the Flapper era" (text from the program), as though the years in between didn't have their own identities.

Afterward, we walked around to look at the objects more closely, and I spoke to the curator - I'm pretty sure I know of the local places that have 18th century clothing in their collections, since it's rare, but I'm trying to gauge where to go for early 19th century dress once I finish up with this first book.  Of course, I took some halfway decent shots of the three dresses:

RCHS 1961.98
The cut of this dress is slightly similar to one from the Great, Strange, and Rarely Seen exhibition, with those long satin panels down the front and a frothy underdress.   Dating to about 1922, I think, because of the fussiness (several layers of closures) and the waist being placed at the high hip.

RCHS 1984.20.44
When it was being taken down the runway I thought this was just your average gorgeous beaded dress, but with a confusing silhouette (the hip fullness indicates the earlier half of the decade, but that length couldn't be earlier than late 1925) but once I got closer I noticed the messy alteration at the waistline.  The original seamstress from 1923 or 1924 was very skilled, but whoever took it up was nowhere near as good.  The bottom of the dress is beaded in a scalloped pattern and used the selvage, so it had to be raised in the middle, disrupting the beading.

RCHS 1977.74.3The program states that this was worn by the donor's sister for her coming-out, but not what year - I'd guess 1928/29, based on the use of the bias and the emphasis on the hips.


In unrelated news, it suddenly occurred to me that it would be a good idea to run a series of posts on my Tumblr analyzing the applied trim on dresses from the 1810s and 1820s.  I expect Tumblr will be less than enthusiastic about the lengthy ramblings building up in my queue, but if you're interested in sewing pretty gowns from this era you might want to follow along.  Zooming in lets you see all kinds of details, and I think my explanations are detailed enough to help someone reproduce them.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 37e Cahier, 2e Figure

Grand Court Mourning, full pleureuse and cravat, wool stockings, épée and black buckles, crêpe on the Hat and the épée. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1520.  A pleureuse is a strip of white cloth worn on the sleeve to signify mourning.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 37e Cahier, 1ere Figure

Full Court mourning, adjusted, with tied Coiffure.  According to etiquette the gown is of Raz de S. Maur, trimmed with Gauze in drapery tied with ribbons on a ground of bouillonné crêpe. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1519.

According to Louis Harmouth's Dictionary of Textiles (1920):

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 6e Figure

Duchess occupying one of the first places in the Queen's household.  She is dressed in un habit de Cour on the Grand panier. The front of the Petticoat is trimmed with Gauze, Blonde, and Festoons of flowers attached at intervals with bows of Ribbons, from which hang tassels. (1781)

"The court dress or grand habit consists of closed stays, fully boned, and a gown skirt; the stays are covered with the same fabric as the bottom of the gown, the seamstress makes the petticoat, and the marchande des modes adds the pompoms* and trimmings to it.

"The day that a lady is presented at court, her stays, the bottom of her gown, and her petticoat must be black, but all the trimmings are in mesh lace: all the forearms, except the top around the point of the shoulder where the black of the sleeve is seen, is surrounded by two manchettes of white lace, one above the other to the elbow; under the manchette on the bottom is placed a black bracelet of pompoms; all around the top of the stays is a tour de gorge of white lace, on which one wears a narrow black palatine,** trimmed with pompoms, which descends from the collar, and which covers the front of the stays to the waist.  The petticoat and the stays are also trimmed with pompoms made in mesh or black lace.

"The next time she is presented, she wears a dress similar to the first, except that all that was black is changed into a colored or gold fabric.  This is the grand habit for court ceremony."

Dictionary of the Abbé JAUBERT, t. III, p. 91 (1773)
* possibly tassels
** a type of fur tippet

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 5e Figure

Duke and Peer, decorated with Orders of the King, occupying one of the first places at Court.  He is dressed in an embroidered summer suit. (1781)

This costume is a suit à la française, in the fashion of the season.  About the "orders of the king", they are: first the order of St. Esprit, consisting of a gold cross with eight points, flaming with green enamel in the middle of and topped en coeur with a silver dove, and is worn on the left side of the suit, at the same time as a wide sky-blue moiré ribbon passes over the right shoulder under the left arm, in the form of a baldric.

The second order is that of St. Louis, intended to reward military merit without the distinction of birth.  it consists of a cross with eight points, enameled with white, edged with gold, holding in the middle the image of St. Louis and suspended, for knights, from the buttonhole of the suit by a red ribbon.

At the end of the ancien régime, the peerage contained forty-nine members: five princes of the blood, six ecclesiastic peers, and thirty-eight "dukes and peers".

[This description was not original to the plate.]

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 4e Figure

The children of M. le Comte d'Artois, to wit, Monseigneur le Duc d'Angoulême, eldest Son, Monseigneur le Duc de Berri and Mademoiselle, accompanied by their Governesses, one of which holds in her arms the Duc de Berri, youngest of the three. (1781)

Although it is not necessary to accord a grand iconographic value to this plate, it is interesting to recall what the destiny was of the children whose portraits Le Clerc gave here.

The oldest of the boys, the duc d'Angoulême, born in 1775, after having emigrated, was the grand admiral of France, commanded the Spanish expedition of 1823 and just when his father, King Charles X, abdicated in 1830, he renounced himself as dauphin, his rights to the crown.  He took the name of comte de Marne and died in 1844, seven years before his wife, Marie-Thérèse-Charlotte, daughter of Louis XVI.

The smallest, the duc de Berry, born in 1778, also emigrated, returning to France in 1814, married Caroline of Naples, sister of the king of Spain, and was assassinated by Louvel on February 13, 1820, when exiting the Opera.  His posthumous son, duc de Bordeaux then comte de Chambord, found himself the last male representative of the elder branch of the Bourbons.

About Mademoiselle, she lived only a few more years.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 3e Figure

Madame, only Daughter of the King, on the knees of her Governess. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1515.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 2e Figure

Marie Antoinette, Archduchess of Austria, Sister of the Emperor, Queen of France, wearing her royal Dress.

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1513.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 36e Cahier, 1ere Figure

Louis XVI, King of France and Navarre, wearing his royal dress, leaning on his Sceptre. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1511.  According to the writing at the top of the plate, and to the reprinted Galerie des Modes, this is the first cahier of the third volume, which seems to conflict with the bound second volume at Bunka Gakuen; I don't really know which to go with.  The fact that these are plates of royalty does imply that they're at the beginning of a volume, so there's that.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 35e Cahier, 6e Figure

Circassienne trimmed with Gauze en pouf, the Coiffure un Hérisson girded with a two-colored Ribbon with a Rosette on the left side. (1781)

This plate was not in the reprint of Galerie des Modes available from Bunka Gakuen; I found it in the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1510.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 35e Cahier, 5e Figure

 Redingote with three collars, crossed in front, called Lévite Redingote. (1781)

The popinjay à l'anglaise. - "It is today a ton among the youth to copy the English in their dress.  The son of a financier, a young man said to be of family [?], the boy merchant wear the long, narrow suit, hat on the head, heavy stockings, puffy cravat, gloves, short and badine hair.  However, none of them have seen England, or heard an English word.

"All that is very well, because this costume requires unity and propriety.  But when you come to reason with this self-styled Englishman, at the first word you recognize him as an ignorant Parisian.  He says that he must go to Jamaica, but he does not know where Jamaica is situated; he confuses the East Indies with the continent of America.  He dresses like an inhabitant of the city of London, works the high head, gives himself the airs of a republican, but beware of entering into a serious conversation with him, for you will not find more light in his head than in that of a court usher at the Châtelet de Paris.

"Return, my young scatterbrain, return to your french dress; put on lace, that your vest may be adorned; put braid on your suit; make your coiffure à l'oiseau royal; wear a little hat under your arm, two watches with their fob charms, it is not enough to take a people's dress, to get their spirit and character.  Return to your national costume, it becomes you: it is in this livery that you must speak without saying anything, rave agreeably on everything, and flaunt the graces of your profound ignorance."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, ed. 1785

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 35e Cahier, 4e Figure

Circassienne with bands of another color, edged with muslin.  The coiffure is a cap à la Créche belted with a double row of ribbon with a bow on top of the Phisionomie. (1780)

False hair - You see the head of this beautiful woman, if remarkable for the edifice of her coiffure and her long hanging hair; you admire its color, its form, its shape and elegance ... Ah well! they do not belong to her ...

"However, she boasts of her foreign hair.  She exposes herself to receive the injurious principles that they could still conceal.  In effect, one makes use of necklaces and bracelets of braided hair: the experience decided that it was necessary to abandon them because of the sores that they produce.

"But women would rather endure inconvenient itches than abandon their coiffures.  They calm the vivacity of these itches by using a grattoir ...

"Independently of false hair, there is used in this coiffure an enormous cushion, stuffed with horsehair, and a forest of long pins seven or eight inches long, and whose sharp points rest on the skin.  A quantity of powder and pomade which use aromatics in their compositions and which soon contract acridity, irritate the nerves.  The insensitive sweat of the head is stopped, and it cannot be in this part of the body, with the greatest danger ...

"During sleep, one compresses together the false hair, and the pins, and these strange and colored substances with the aid of a triple bandeau ...

"On the rest, the art of the wigmaker, in the use of this artificial hair managed at the highest point of perfection and the wig or tower imitates today the natural hair, to be mistaken from near and far."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, édit. de 1783

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 35e Cahier, 3e Figure

 Little Master en Chenille.  Frock coat of a fashionable color.  Silk vest with a border of silk embroidery in diverse colors, the Buttons of the Frock in fashionable silver.  He is coiffed with a Hat à la Pensilvanie. (1780)

"See an elegant man come in.  It is necessary first that his trinkets, by a pretty tinkling, announce his arrival.

"His coiffure is still an essential thing.  One knows the name and address of the female and male hairdressers who distinguish themselves with their skill, and a well-coiffed woman doesn't lack for throwing glances of superiority on every ill-dressed head.

"Who is that man? says this woman of character, the most capable of illuminating her era and nation.  And why this disdainful air?  Because his hair is badly curled.

"These well-indoctrinated young people only become angry at trifles.  They stamp their feet, they curse, they rant only when their horses are two minutes late; then fury cuts their words.

"They are instructed then to know how to get en chenille,* and the variations of the short breeches, of the cravat and pantaloon.  Thus they run in the morning, that is to say at noon, going to visit women who require an air of nonchalance, who painted the portrait of your rings, your snuffboxes, your bracelets?  When sulking, this dress is kept on in the evening, and everybody is warned that one will not sup in town."

- Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, éd. de 1783

* "Déshabillé that young people put on in the morning and which consists of a rateen or coutil frock coat, a black or white taffeta cravat, hair in a queue or pulled up with a comb, long breeches known under the name of pantaloons, or artistically worked brodequins." (CARACCIOLI, Dictionnaire critique, 1776)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 35e Cahier, 2e Figure

This figure is dressed in a Lévite fitted à l'Anglaise with little pleats around the waist.  The Coiffure is a coiffure à l'enfance. (1780)

"The farthingales of our mothers, their slashed and flounced fabrics, their ridiculous epaulettes, their pregnant minds[?], this multitude of sleeves of which some resembled veritable poultices[?], all have disappeared, except the excessive height of their coiffures: ridicule could not correct this recent custom: but this defect is tempered by taste and grace which reside in the structure of the elegant edifice.  Women, all things considered, are better set-up today than they have ever been: their outfits unite lightness, decency, coolness, and grace.  These gowns of a light fabric renew themselves more often then gowns which shine with gold and silver; they follow, as it were, the nuances of the flowers of various seasons.  They need only the hand of our marchandes de modes to change them with a so prodigious diversity of gauze, linen, and ribbons."

- Sebastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, édit. 1783

Monday, April 8, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 35e Cahier, 1ere Figure

[The 34th book was apparently coiffures, and was not included in the reprint.]

White gown of plain Muslin trimmed with very fine muslin; the Petticoat of striped and flowered Indian muslin lined with colored taffeta which can be seen through [the muslin].  Simple fashionable hat on a coiffure à l'enfance. (1780)

"I saw hats in my youth which had very large brims; and when they were turned up, they resembled umbrellas; sometimes they were pulled up, sometimes the brims were reduced by using gances.  They were then given the form of a boat.  Today the round and bare form seems to be dominant; for the hat is a Proteus which takes all the shapes that one wants to give it.

"Ask our women who, after so many attempts, have definitively adopted the English hat, despite their antipathy for England; I counsel them to keep them, to ornament them with pearls, diamonds, plumes, cords, ribbons, tassels, buttons, flowers; that the poets in their language should attach stars and comets to them; that women wear them in red, green, black, grey, yellow; but that they keep the English hat; homely women as well as beauties may wear them.

"We have therefore neither pygmy hats nor colossal hats; ladies had raised their coiffures ridiculously, at the moment that men had sported little hats; now that men have augmented them and rounded the volume, coiffures have lowered prodigiously."

- Sebastien MERCIER, Tableaux de Paris, éd. de 1783

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Thank You and Some Progress

Thank you to everyone for commenting on my post about hoop skirts!  There are so very many statements out there, both from the period in a satirical or curmudgeonly vein and from secondary sources that don't take the biases of their primary sources into account.  And unlike other pervasive myths I've looked into or seen other people look into, there aren't many period sources that can be used to discredit it.  You can find a little black dress from before Chanel or an article on the benefits of a brown complexion from 1901 or descriptions of Andalusian fan language in a travelogue, but people did not tend to publish what the actual experience of wearing a hoop skirt was like.  I can research the actual proportions of fashionable and ordinary skirts from period images, but they don't tell me how quickly people tend to get used to the size, how often they generally knock things off tables, if it really is hideously difficult to go through a doorway or down a staircase, etc., giving me a starting point for study and probably more in-depth conversations through email.

This weekend, I've been working on getting together a wearable mockup of a Regency corset - machine-sewn for speed, I'll take a pattern of it when I'm sure they fit properly and make another set by hand - and now I'm getting out the scrap sheet to make a quick mockup (for a wearable mockup) of the 1840s corset in Waugh, or for this corset at Winterthur (leaning towards the latter as doing the gussets in he Regency mockup was pretty painful).  Let's get both of the corsets out of the way!  I want to start making outerwear, especially as I've had some fabric set by for a ca. 1840 dress for a long time.

My most recent Etsy item is also my favorite.  The frill/tucker can fill in a lower neckline or just hold the ruffled collar for a higher one.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 33e Cahier, 6e Figure

Young Lady in a robe à la Polonaise trimmed with gauze, escorting a child in a matelot with turned up sleeves. (1780)

One knows that the industry of women's dress was divided between three principal groups: the staymaker, which we call corsetiers, which make equally court gowns, camisoles, children's jacquettes and fourreaux; the marchandes de mode who sew and mount caps, trim gowns with ribbons, flounces, etc.; and finally the seamstresses.  The Dictionary of the Abbé Jaubert (1773) thus enumerates these different phases of the making of a gown; the seamstress first cuts the back, composed of two pieces, then the fronts, the petticoat, the sleeves, manchettes, and trims.  Then she assembles them, after having basted the lining, if appropriate, in sewing the fronts to the back, then the sleeves between the backs and fronts, then the manchettes to the sleeves, finally the trim.  Finally she assembles the pieces of the petticoat, she edges them on the bottom, pleats them, edges them at the top, making the pockets, trimming it finally "with the same trim as the gown".

In terms of the stays, it is furnished to the tailor: if it is covered with a "ladder of ribbons" (as was fashionable in the time of the Pompadour, for example) it is the marchande de modes who intervenes; if to the contrary it is hidden by a "compère" (a type of false vest with buttons), it is the seamstress who will have the privilege.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

A Question for the Living Historians and Re-enactors

You probably all know by now that I love to do research and write (but mostly do research), and lately I've been working on turning that blog post, Fashion vs. Feminism, into an article, with citations and five times as much text and things. You probably also know that I haven't made very many ensembles, and that I haven't experientially explored many different eras (by which I mean my only full outfits that I've worn have been from the eighteenth century).  So I need a little bit of help.

When it comes to the cage crinoline/hoop-skirt, there is only so much satires, fashion plates, and photographs can tell me.  There are a lot of accounts out there of the regular use of corsetry, but I don't find many regarding skirt supports.  I'm hoping that some of you ladies can answer a few questions:

- Did figuring out how to sit down take a lot of practice, and does it take you much effort to control the hoop when you do?

- Do you find that you have much trouble with it in the wind, or with unexpected movements in general?  When wearing it for an extended period of time, how is your sense of place - do you tend to lose track of its "footprint" or knock it into things?

- Doors and staircases: difficult or simple?  Any special maneuvers necessary?

Galerie des Modes, 33e Cahier, 5e Figure

Lévite simple vue par derrière, coeffure negligée ou grand bonnet à la paysanne avec des barbes.

Simple lévite seen from the back; negligée coiffure, or large cap à la paysanne with lappets. (1780)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1495.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 33e Cahier, 4e Figure

Polonaise seen from the back, it is of taffeta trimmed with gauze.  Her coiffure is a medium cap with a very simple gauze lappet. (1780)

[Note: the text that goes with this plate, and most (if not all) of the rest in this volume, is not original to Galerie des Modes - it has been extracted from another source by the compiler of the full-color version reprinted after the fact.  Others have simply been written by the compiler.]

Gown trims are an essential object to an outfit, but what must without a doubt interest is changing them with ease, whether relatively to the design or because it is the part of the gown which suffers the most by usage.  The Demoiselle Saint-Quentin has conceived of making trims which may be basted on the gown: they are of gauze, of a new and agreeable design, and are sold by the ell; they can be over-all a very convenient thing for polonaises.

- La Feuille sans titre [the Paper Without a Title], 16 June 1777.

(100 followers!  Thank you all, lovely people!)

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 33e Cahier, 3e Figure

Young woman in a robe à la Polonaise with a fashionable large, white mantelet ; she is coiffed with a parasol hat, trimmed with folded blond lace around it, and surmounted by a bouquet of plumes. (1780)

Walking time has arrived.  It sufficed, to correct the abandon of the preceding toilette, to throw one of these fashionable white mantelets, whose flared points fall almost to the bottom of the petticoat, over the shoulders, such that one seems as dressed as in an ordinary polonaise.*  This mantelet is simply decorated with a gauze trim.

To complete the illusion of a full toilette, on a coiffure of two fashionable curls, one of which is falling very low on the neck, a light parasol [hat] is posed which is surmounted by a bouquet of plumes that surround a flood of bouillonné ribbons; those end in bows which fall behind at the point or edge of the hat, pulled up, uncovering the chignon.  A cord necklace holding a medallion and two tassels at the end, which brush the parfait contentement, impeach the whiteness of the chest.

Cane in the hand: it is a custom that the fashion of high heels has rendered useful to women; this woman, who with good reason prefers low heels, has however retained the cane which rests in her left hand, while the little curly-haired dog, gussied up, occupies the right, and that also distracts the mind and the eyes of the beauty.

* So this is a demi-polonaise.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 33e Cahier, 2e Figure

Young Miss studying music; she is dressed in a caraco juste à la Polonaise.  Her coiffure is a milkmaid cap. (1780)

The first toilette of this young beauty is finished.  Pending the time of her usual morning walk, she goes to assure herself that her voice has lost nothing of its agreeableness and her fingers none of their suppleness.  She hopes also that the new air that she is undertaking to decipher will be soon interrupted by a certain awaited visit.  Also, she has particularly ensured the agreeableness of her négligé dress.  She has thrown over her shoulders one of these rounded caracos which fasten only at the middle of the waist; a wide gauze kerchief trimmed with the same, forming a too audaciously décolletée "gorgerette", always serves decency and coquetry.

To this so simple toilette a coiffure without finish is added; a slightly raised coque, supported on the sides with a fashionable curl, very low, and surmounted by a medium cap with rounded lappets, à la paysanne, across which is put a wide ribbon.

All is cool in this tableau: the coolness of a pure voice soon adds to that of her complexion and to that of the outfit of the young musician.