Friday, May 31, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 41e Cahier bis, 2e Figure

Chemise à la Reine with bound sleeves, the neckline trimmed with a frill, Marlborough Hat wrapped with a wide ribbon striped in black and color. (1784)

"Chemises" belonged to the category of simple and comfortable dress which was in vogue from about 1781 overall due to Marie Antoinette.

At the time, one said that an upper-body garment was made en chemise when "the beginning of the sleeves ended in two pieces which were added" (Dictionary of the abbé Jaubert, 1778).  One frequently finds in the notes of Mlle Bertin mentions such as "a piece en chemise of Italian gauze", "a fichu-chemise* of Italian gauze", etc.  On the date of the appearance of the "chemises à la reine", Bachaumont fixes it for us in writing about the portraits of the Queen and Madame, by Vigée-Lebrun, shown in 1783: "The two princesses are en chemise, a costume invented recently for women."

And he added, "Many people have found it inappropriate that these august personages are offered to the public in a garment reserved for the interior of their palace."

BACHAUMONT, Secret Memoirs, account of the Salon, August 1783

* chemisette

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 41e Cahier (bis), 1ere Figure

Négligé of a young Lady of quality, her gown is a type of chemise of thin silk stuff, round gauze cap, frilled kerchief and apron of muslin.  The child is dressed in a frock coat over his matelot. (1784)

"In the tenderest infancy, one inculcates, so to speak, women's love for vanity and lightness!  Everyone contributes to this: the papa, the mama, the nursemaid, and family friends; the dancing master who educates the young girl has precedence over the reading master, who must inspire in her the fear of God and love of her future duties.  The marchande des modes and the seamstress are beings whose importance she will evaluate before hearing of the existence of the shape which nourishes her and of the weaver who dresses her ...

"We deign to regard with reflection these marionettes that are seen in our promenades, to prelude with silliness the errors of the rest of their lives.  The little gentleman, in a cloth suit, and the little lady, coiffed in the manner of the great ladies, copying, under the auspices of a stupid nursemaid, the originals that they will be one day.  All the grimaces and the affectation of the petit maître are gathered together in the little gentleman.  He is applauded, caressed, admired in proportion to the contortions he makes.  The little lady receives a compliment for each simper which she advises herself to make and if her precocious address give her some power over the little husband, it augurs, with a stupid surprise, the interesting role that she will play in Society."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1783

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis 2), 6e Figure

Young Lady as seductive Shepherdess, in a galant Hat posed on a Peasant Cap and crowned with a Globe Ribbon, in the moment where by the means of her Lorgnette, she follows something in the Air, launched by her Lover, whose Portrait is worn on her Arm. (1784)

Lorgnettes - "There are false appearances in fashion, hence the lorgnettes hidden in the hat, in the fan, that one uses to look at everything.  For excellent eyes hide their perfection through using a useless instrument and which most often announce affectation.  Is it not one of these which is put in the beauty's hand, this glass which intercepts the ray of the mirror of the soul, of the home of love, and who raises to it this feature so delicate, so tender, that art and caprice mar and disfigure it?

"What does the expression of this eloquent organ become, when one can only perceive it through a crystal which tires it?  While the lorgnette is in the hand of hauteur and disdain, coquetry gives to the eyes of our pretty women near-convulsive movements which disfigure the most handsome faces.

"The mania for lorgnettes did great harm to very beautiful eyes, and women, regardless of the weakness of their sight, should rather renounce seeing faraway objects, than disfigure thus their gaze to those surrounding them."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1783.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis 2), 5e Figure

Lady in solitary daydream, with Muslin Gown and Petticoat trimmed with striped Blonde, spotted Gauze Mantelet, large Kerchief of plain Blonde, coiffed with a Bastienne surmounted with a Plumed Hat, watching, over her Fan, the Object of her reflections. (1784)

"Never have women dressed themselves with such simplicity.  No more rich gowns, no more trim on the gowns, no more three-row manchettes.  A straw hat with a ribbon, a plain handkerchief on the neck, an apron at home: no more curls, hérisson,* these follies of coiffure, no more cul-de-Paris,** gores, no more flounces ..."

The little Tableau de Paris, 1783

* This has come up frequently, but I never translate it.  Hérisson translates to "hedgehog", and it's used in reference to the very constructed, tall hairstyles of the 1770s - not the teased puffs of the 1780s.

** Probably bum rolls/hip pads.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis 2), 4e Figure

 Pretty Woman in contemplation, dressed in a solid white Gown and a Petticoat trimmed with striped Muslin, with a spotted Gauze Mantelet with a large Fichu Collar.  The Hat knotted with a Marlborough Ribbon.*  She holds her open Snuffbox and thinks of nothing that doesn't serve her. (1784)

 Snuffboxes. - "Fashions are exhausted in the area of trinkets, of the type that if on passed in review all the snuffboxes (that are now called boxes) which have been worked for thirty years, one would see that it is no longer possible to imagine anything in this part.  Those in raised enamel, the others in flat enamel, those in guilloché gold, and trimmed with diamonds and precious stones, those in chased vermeil or porcelain, or in scales, offer to the eye all sorts of designs and varieties.

"The little masters do not fail to have their boxes enriched with a portrait of some woman who never existed, but whose beauty is so ravishing that they are charmed to suggest that this is the adorable object of their passion.  Nyser** takes out his box at every instant and forgets to close it, by premeditated distractions, one is persuaded, to show an admirable miniature, and that he is a lucky man and that his mistress is the most beautiful woman in Paris."

CARACCIOLI, Critical, picturesque, and sententious dictionary (1768)

* A song was written about John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough, after his military victories, which was supposedly sung by the Dauphin's nurse.  It was then said to be picked up by Marie Antoinette, making it instantly popular among the haut monde, which then led to various fashions being labeled à la Marlborough.

** Evidently a generic name meant to indicate a stereotypical fashionable man?

Sunday, May 26, 2013

How's Your Weekend (Redux)

Picasa/Blogger's pictures have finally started working again, allowing me to refill my buffer of fashion plates (I was down to only about six) and to put the pictures into the How's Your Weekend post!  It's much more interesting with them in.

In related news, I've spent this weekend working hard on my own 1920s presentation, More Than Just Flappers, to be given at Clermont in late June.  Right now it's just about finished, technically speaking, but I need to start actually running it to get it down and check the time.  I of course want to be dressed appropriately, so I've ordered a nice indigo-ish cotton twill for a dress and white rayon for some underthings, and I've made a kind of draped muslin for a dress.  Starting with the pattern above - from Cut of Women's Clothes, originally from The Ladies' Tailor (The Tailor & Cutter), 1921 - I'm adding in two gathered side insets as in the design in the lower left of the page below from McCall's Magazine, also 1921.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis 2), 3e Figure

 Young Person in indolent négligée with a simple Fourreau d'Agnes, amadis sleeves, triple Kerchief, Ribbon Necklace, and Globe Cap; having an air of braving the heat of the Sun as much as the fires of Love. (1784)

Globe Cap. - "The aerostatic discoveries did not fail to furnish a number of ingenious names for fashions.  The Galerie des Modes alone provides much evidence of this.  In addition to this plate, which dates to 1784, others from the same year show the globe ribbon (pl. 176), the globe hat (pl. 188), the hat à la Montgolfier (pl. 190), the demi-balloon hat (pl. 197), the hat à la Blanchard (pl. 199), the Globe cap (pl. 202).  Furthermore, the twelfth and thirteenth books of coiffures, for [1785], show the aerostatic balloon hats worn in 1783, à la inflammable air, au flying globe, au Robert's globe, etc.

"To be precise, note that the first attempt of the Montgolfier brothers was on the 5th of June [1783]; that of Robert was on the 1st of December in the same year and that of Blanchard in January 1785."


We tend to use the term "fourreau" in relation to the vertical pleats used on the back of a gown, but I find that it appears most frequently in period texts as the name for a child's back-closing gown.  The uses with adult clothing are mostly ambiguous, but in this case it's clearly in reference to a woman's gown with no front opening in the skirt.  It's possible that the bodice fastens in the back, like the children's garment, but this could also be a front-closing gown with an apron-front skirt.

"Agnes" is a character from Moliere's School for Wives, an innocent young girl brought up in a convent, so this dress might be intended to evoke charming simplicity.  I haven't found any other likely Agnes to have lent her name to the gown, but perhaps I will come across one while researching something else in the future.

This version of the plate is from the MFA Boston, 44.1567.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis 2), 2e Figure

Lady, a sincere and faithful friend, with a Gown and Petticoat à l'Anglo-Americaine,* edged elegantly with a different fabric, fitted sleeves, Ribbon bow and tour-de-gorge à la Gabrielle d'Etrées,** playing with her Dog while waiting for better. (1784)

"One could advance, without fear of being contradicted, that it is hardly usual today for women to wear the full parure than for men to wear suits à la française ...

"Women no longer wear the full hoops which gave them an immense breadth, or those gowns with trains that trail for an ell on the ground: in the poorest parures, even wool suits are simplified (we make an exception for court suits which never vary and which can only remind us still of the suits of our fathers).  Everything is changed, women are no longer coiffed en cheveux: they wear hats or caps.  Their throats and necks are no longer uncovered.  No more the 'false rump'; they hardly wear little coudes† with pockets to give a certain fullness.  All apply today to have a svelte and nimble waist.  All that has been conserved of the former look are the stays, to narrow the waist, and the grand trimmings of the gown."

Le Cabinet des modes, 15 May 1786‡

* Americans of the former English colonies
** Gabrielle d'Estrées (1573-1599) was a mistress of Henri IV.  Apart from the famous nipple-pinching portrait, she was usually painted with a fashionable while ruff, which the tour-de-gorge is presumably supposed to resemble.
† literally "elbows", probably referring to a very small hip roll or tournure
‡ Originally this was "1876", but from the text it sounds like there is an error in the printing.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis 2), 1ere Figure

Lady in beautiful Morning dress, with white and trimmed Gown and Petticoat, silk Muff, spotted Gauze Mantelet, Coiffed over a half-Baigneuse with a demi-Globe hat and thinking of the end of the Day, to that which occupies the Night. (1784)

"On the method by which women draped their mantelets, the Journal de Paris of February 12 1781 reports a curious anecdote, which it took from the Morning Chronicle.  A French gentleman had written to the editor of the latter newspaper that at a ball, in London, he had found on land 'a woman's cloak, of black taffeta, lined with the same and edged with lace.'  And he added maliciously: 'measuring, carefully, the length between the top of the cloak, in the back, and the pleats or horizontal crumpling formed around the bottom of the waist, by the force of the cloak when the person tightens it in the French manner to elevate her stature and when she gathers the whole upper part at the hips while the lower part, trimmed with lace, falls and floats with softness over a rounded and strongly pronounced croupe*, there is not a single admirer who hadn't decided, as I made it, that the bust being soaring, the person is tall and well made ..."

* a cul, a bouffante, a bum roll

Monday, May 20, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 39e Cahier (bis), 6e Figure*

* There are two 39e Cahier (bis)es.  The first one is five coiffure plates and a fashion plate, the second is all dress.  I'm sorry, I'm confused too.

Lady dressed in a very elegant grand Domino to go to a masked Ball. (1784?)

This domino differs very little from that of plate 86, to which we return for the explanation of the successive forms of this fancy dress for its variations for masques.

We note, however, the difference in hairstyles; the use of felt hats, positioned on the lower and lower coiffures, extend even to ball toilettes.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 34e Cahier bis, 6e Figure

Simple robe à la sultane, such as is actually worn without a grand parure.  This gown is open in front and allows the whole petticoat to be seen; in the back it has the form of an untied polonaise and descends almost to the ground like the Lévite.  Hat coiffure with a cap of Gauze invented by Mlle Bertin. (1782)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1525.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 34e Cahier bis, 5e Figure

Young Lady performing a dance; she is dressed in a Carmelite* morning Lévite, the Trim of the same fabric, the Collar gathered muslin with a large hem, petticoat of pale pink silk trimmed with the same, white Belt with colored fringe. (1782)

Dance. - "One dances no more at the Opera ball; one no longer runs there; one only looks for confusion there: one walks on one's feet; one is smothered: here is the great pleasure: but no contre-danses.

"Dancing is so perfected today that it is necessary to dance with a marked superiority to participate.  When Marcel, his head supported on one of his hands, wrote: What things in a minuet! did he himself anticipate that soon it would no longer be permitted to dance for one's own pleasure, that the man of the world would become an actor in a bal paré,** and that he would dance for applause?"

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, ed. 1785

* The Carmelites are a Catholic order dating back to the 13th century, who traditionally wear brown.
** I'm not quite sure how to translate this one - I know that paré frequently means "dressed" in the sense of "fully-dressed" or "dressed to be seen". The women in the print below are dressed well, but not in robes parées

Le Bal Paré, Antoine Jean Duclos, 1774; MMA 33.56.33

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 34e Cahier bis, 4e Figure

Morning robe à l'Anglaise with amadis sleeves, coupé petticoat with a large volant of muslin, kerchief with double row of trimming.  This woman is coiffed with a hat of long-haired Vicuna with a ribbon around it. (1782)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1547.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Actual Sewing!

So, I spent the past week engaged in making a Regency day dress for myself.  Fastest thing I've ever fully put together!  Albany's TulipFest is not really intended as a costumed event, but the Empire State Costumers (join us!) can turn any party into a dress-up party.

(I'm the second from the right.)

To start, I used the pattern I took from an evening dress in the Albany Institute's collection (combined with some Janet Arnold sleeves) and striped cotton from Renaissance Fabrics.  As usual with extant pieces, I am not quite as dainty, so I knew I would have to enlarge it.  Unfortunately, I chose to widen it from the center front, which made the straps set at the wrong angle and there were just all sorts of issues.  Think I'll definitely take another go at it, raising the waistline and fitting it better, but for now I need to move on.


Next up: I'll be doing a talk at Clermont on women's fashion in the 1920s in June, and I would really like to be dressed up for that.  My dilemma is that I can't tell if it'd be better to do a very plain ca. 1923 day dress, long and straight, with a pattern in my size - or to shatter expectations with what fashion/pattern magazines would refer to as "an afternoon dress with a bouffant skirt".  The bouffant dress would probably be more flattering to me than the straight one, but I'm concerned that it would go beyond "whoa, I didn't think the 1920s included things like that!" to "why is she wearing a '50s cocktail dress?" to an audience.  Thoughts?

 Union Hotel stereograph, ca. 1875; NYPL MFY Dennis Coll 91-F149 g91f149_025f

After that on the list: this year is the Saratoga Racetrack's 150th anniversary.  There are several military reenactment events on the official calendar, and maybe I'll visit them, but I think it would be lovely to
have an 1873 picnic at some point.  I do have a couple of 1860s patterns of my own, but nothing this late, so I'll likely use the ca. 1871 Janet Arnold pattern with the day bodice (probably including the neckline fill-in because I always seem to have a very hard time keeping chemises from showing there).  I'd love to make it out of lawn, along these lines.

Advertisement from Every Saturday, March 18, 1871; NYPL PC COSTU-Cor 818149

Of course, what does this mean?  NEW UNDERGARMENTS NEEDED.  I am a big fan of corsetry for its controversy and aesthetic appeal, but I have to admit that I really, really dislike sewing it.  Fitting is not my specialty, and in a corset the fit is the most important aspect.  I also have a bad track record for finishing corsets, although in this case the lack of straps and gussets means there is a better chance that I could Do This and move on to the bustle.

Galerie des Modes, 34e Cahier bis, 3e Figure

Robe à l'Anglaise, rétroussé to give ease in dancing. (1782)

"In 1768, in its December issue, the Courrier de la Mode recommended as particularly favorable for balls, "English dress", with fitted sleeves, sabot cuffs trimmed with gauze, with a gauze apron without a bib* and bows on the shoes: such is still the costume of our dancer who has simply replaced the 'little English hat trimmed with flowers with a postilion**' with a tuft of plumes, an aigrette, and a bouquet."

* Bibbed aprons being mainly a Continental style.
** I believe this means a turned-up brim in the back.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 34e Cahier bis, 2e Figure

I don't entirely understand this section, nor the next - the 34th, 38th, and 39th books are listed as having second versions that fit in, date-wise, after the 40th.  But as they are here, I will still show them.  (Except the ones which I can't find anywhere, such as the first in this section.)

Full robe a la Sultane, closed in the front of the bodice and pulled up in drapery on the side with bows and tassels; it has mancherons* like the Circassiennes; it differs from the ordinary robe a la sultane, which is open in front and without mancherons* like a Polonaise, the petticoat is coupé, the Coiffure is a turban. (1782)

"There was a very appreciated gown trimming in the winter, of fur bands.  But outside of cloaks and mantelets (see plates 25, 59, 70, for example), they could hardly be applied on the surface of court gowns (plate 46).  The preference was for marten, black fox; squirrel, beaver; ermine had as much success, and in 1768, for the half-mourning imposed for the death of the queen, the Courrier de la Mode taught that one used ermine skins 'colored with large and small stripes and in other patterns for different tastes'."

*Technically, the text says "manchon", which is a muff, so I believe this is a typo.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 40e Cahier, 6e Figure

Deshabille a l'Anglaise of taffeta, trimmed flat with a band of gauze edged with a gauze frill; the Camisole is made with basques, edged in the same manner, as is the turned-down collar.  The Coiffure is a peasant cap. (1782)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1543.  There is a duplicate in green, 44.1544.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 40e Cahier, 5e Figure

Robe a l'Anglaise, amadis sleeves, the waist tightened with a Levite belt, the petticoat worn over a bouffante. (1782)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1542.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 40e Cahier, 4e Figure

Levite of pink satin trimmed with piping and white lozenges, the Trim of the petticoat is in drapery with Lozenges, the Scarf worn as a baldric, the Coiffure is a crested Pouf belted with a doubled narrow ribbon and adorned with flowers. (1782)

 Gloves. - "Gloves did not cease to be an indispensable accessory of the toilette. Abbe Jaubert, in his Dictionnaire, notes (1773) that "one wears them in all seasons and women above all can hardly do without them."  He enumerates the types of leather from which they are made: chamois, goat, sheep, lamb, suede, deer, elk, etc. and which never hinders the industry of silk, thread, wool, or cotton gloves, that are done as a trade,* nor that of gloves of velvet, satin, taffeta, linen, and other fabrics.

"The types of gloves are as varied as their materials.  There are the furred, the glazed, the perfumed; there are also embroidered ones, where the junction of the fingers, the perimeter of the neck of the thumb, the edge of the top and nearly all the seams are embroidered with thread, silk, gold, or silver."

* I believe this refers to knitted gloves, probably made on knitting machines.  "Thread" is often used in English sources to mean linen yarn, eg. "thread stockings".

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 40e Cahier, 3e Figure

New robe a l'Anglaise trimmed with Gauze and Blonde lace, with a garland of flowers which covers the middle of the trim.  Belt of white taffeta whose ends are trimmed with blonde lace.  Coiffure a la Vestale. (1782)

The use of ribbons of flowers for trimming the hair did not cease to be in favor during the whole eighteenth century.  They were also frequently used to trim caps.  In 1769 the Courrier de la Mode noted its success; it recommended, in place of ribbons, the use of garlands of flowers of one or two colors mounted very close together.  One thus uses overall Italian flowers or those of Toulouse, made of fine, gummed cloth "which imitated nature to fool oneself".  The little ones were the most sought-after.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 40e Cahier, 2e Figure

Robe à l'Anglaise trimmed with brocaded Gauze; the trimming is flat, edged with a Gauze frill. (1782)

The transition from the grand, hooped gowns of the reign of Louis XV to the supple and fitted owns which marked the end of the reign of Louis XVI is grasped very exactly.  This evolution was begun over a long period of time and around 1768, the editor of Courrier de la Mode could write:

"Women have succeeded from the grand paniers to simple elbows[?]*, have renounced multiple flounces; the tight gown trimmed with straight parements showing the elegance of their waist; all the too-awkward ornaments ...

"In general, there is in the manner of dressing today something more picturesque and less stiff than in that of other times; we make each day some steps toward beautiful simplicity.  No true taste in the parure without this noble simplicity and without an analogy between a parure and the part of the body to which it is destined."

Le Courrier de la Mode, April 1768

* Probably a figurative term for pocket hoops.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 40e Cahier, 1ere Figure

[The 38th and 39th books are coiffures, and are not in the Bunka Gakuen text.  I believe I will come back again and do all of the hat/hairstyle plates after I finish with the dress plates.]

Adjusted lévite, trained like the robes à l'Anglaise.  Coiffure a large round hat on a toque that is low in front, a single curl in front and four hanging on the Chignon. (1782)

"Merchants put up on their signs English shops.  The lemonade sellers, on the windows of their cafés, announce their punch in the English language.  London redingotes, with their triple collars and their capes which envelop the little masters.  Little boys have their hair round, flat, and without powder.  The father is seen exiting his hotel, dressed in thick wool, trotting in English fashion, the back curved.  It has been a long time that women have been coiffed with elegant hats, whose fashion came to us from the banks of the Thames.  Those racetracks established at Vincennes recall those at Newmarket.  Finally, we have scenes from Shakespeare which, put into verse by M. Ducis, made the greatest effect.

"Thus we no longer fear our enemies.  Here we are familiar with the forms that we rejected with hauteur and disdain thirty years ago.  But have we taken what was best?  Does it not remain to us to adopt every other thing than punch, jockeys, and the scenes of the great Shakespeare?"

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, edit. 1783

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 37e Cahier, 6e Figure

Pelisse lévite with cuffs and Collar trimmed with ermine, the petticoat of spotted white Satin, the muff of the same trimmed with bands of ermine, and the Belt also of ermine, the Pouf surmounted with batiste flowers and plumes.  This Gown was worn by a Lady of quality during the Mourning for M. Thérèse of Austria, mother of the Emperor and the Queen of France. (1781)

This plate is from the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, 44.1524.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 37e Cahier, 5e Figure

Grey second mourning suit lined with black, edged with a black gance, the white vest embroidered with black, fringed manchettes. (1781)

"One knows a point called the precise time that it is necessary to grieve for the loss of a father and mother, grandfather and grandmother, husband and wife, brother and sister.  Not only the term is calculated, but also the graduated expression of sadness; all the nuances are laid down and engraved, that is, printed.  Mourning has three nearly equal periods.  One knows that women may or may not wear diamonds; when men may wear the épée and silver buckles, or have bronze shoes and buckles.  The sadness decreases with the color of dress: batiste manchettes, wool stockings, wool suit, silk suit, embroidered manchettes, trimmed narrowly, tears more or less abundant!  Even the coaches have black harnesses suring the first months, and then they are whitened during the next six weeks.  Mourning, for men and horses, lightens in a progressive march, and who has his laws."

Sébastien MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, edit. 1783