Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Robes à la Levantine, à la Sultane, and à la Reine

Back to your regularly scheduled programming!

I haven't seen many references to any of these, but I thought I should cover them anyway.



The Robe à la Levantine

Robe à la Levantine garnie en hermine, coëffure à la Créole: le juppon et la soubreveste nommées l'Assyrienne; inventé par P.N. Sarrazin Costumier ordinaire de Nosseigneurs les Princes du Sang freres du Roi, et Directeur ordinaire du Sallon des Costumes du Colisée.
Robe à la Levantine trimmed in ermine, coiffure à la Créole: the petticoat and underbodice are called l'Assyrienne; invented by P.N. Sarrazin, costumer in ordinary to their Highnesses the Princes of the Blood, brothers of the King, and director in ordinary of the Salon of the Costumes of the Coliseum.

[Edited 3.17.2013 to add: This specific plate depicts a costume for the theater or a ball, but there is an ordinary version - see my translation of the longer text belonging to this plate here.  The levantine is a short-sleeved gown worn over a long-sleeved undervest.]

The Robe à la Sultane


Grande robe à la Sultane fermée sur le devant du corsage et retroussée en draperie sur le côté avec des noeuds et des glands, elle est à manchon comme les robes à la Circassienne; elle differe en cela de la robe à la Sultane ordinaire, qui est toute ouverte par devant et sans manchon comme une Polonaise, la jupe est coupée, la Coeffure en turban.
Formal robe à la Sultane closed in the front of the bodice and pulled up in drapery on the side with knots and tassels, it has short oversleeves like the robes à la Circassienne; it differs in that respect from the ordinary robe à la Sultane, which is open down the entire front, without oversleeves like a polonaise, the skirt is coupée, the coiffure is in a turban.

[ETA: coupée, I have since found, refers to the fact that the gown and petticoat are two different colors.]

Habit de Sultane qui sert à la Comédie Française dans les Pieces où il y a un rôle propre à ce Costume.
Sultane ensemble which served in the Comédie Française in the plays, which is the proper place for this costume.

So this is a version that would not be worn by a regular fashionable woman - this is just a stage costume.  But you can see some similarities between this and the previous, how this costume was turned into something one could wear to a ball.  The fur and tassels, the amadis sleeves, and that sash and open skirt.

Robe à la Sultane simple telle qu'elle se porte actuellement sans grande parure. Cette robe est dégagée du devant et laisse voir la jupe entiere par derrière elle forme la polonaise détroussé et descend jusqu'à terre comme le Lévite. Coefure Chapeau bonet de Gaze inventé par Mlle Bertin.
Simple robe à la Sultane such as it is actually worn without full jewelry.  This gown is open in front and lets one see the entire skirt from behind.  It is in the form of the undraped polonaise and comes to the floor like the Lévite.  She wears the gauze hat-cap invented by Mlle. Bertin.

I wish we could see the simple back, but the fact that the skirt is described as being in the shape of an undraped polonaise does confirm that the polonaise skirt has a different shape than the anglaise.  When you get down to this most basic form of the style, it seems that the most important elements are the edging going around the skirt and the neck, and the opening down the front (as it says in the first plate).


The Robe à la Reine

I think the robe à la reine is the first of these dresses that I have no preconceptions of - there is nothing I'm trying to prove or disprove.  At this point, this is the only image I can find of such a thing: this grande version has no picture. [Edit: This version can be found here.]


Jeune Dame coeffée à la Dauphine, vetue d'une Robe à la Reine, de taffetas, garnie au Nouveau Desiré, Cet Habillement a été inventé par le Sr. Sarrazin Costumier de Leurs Alt. Rles. Ngrs. les Princes.
Young lady, coiffed à la Dauphine, dressed in a taffeta robe à la reine, trimmed in New Desire [probably the color].  This outfit was invented by Sr. Sarrazin, costumer to their Highnessess the Princes [of the Blood].


To be honest, I'm not sure what to make of it.  Those sleeves are very distinctive, so I think they might be part of the style, and draping of the skirt.  (In this plate, the skirt looks like it's been cut some of the way up, but I don't want to make a definite call on that.)  [ETA: However, it must be remembered that this is a theatrical costume.]

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