Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 13e Cahier, 3e Figure

Young Lady coiffed à la Dauphine, dressed in a taffeta Robe à la Reine, trimmed au Nouveau Désiré.  This Dress was invented by Signore SARRAZIN, costumer to their Royal Highnesses the Princes. (1778)

Robe à la Reine: this gown has the double advantage of being able to be worn trailing or pulled up, at the will of the people who are wearing it and at the moment they choose; two drawstrings, placed on two sides, indicated by two bows, and trimmed with two tassels, create this effect; in pulling one tassel, the gown lifts, as it is in the Drawing; in pulling the other, it descends and becomes hanging; this change is made in an instant.


The trim, called au nouveau désiré* because it was devised during the pregnancy of a majestic Princess, consists of two bands of spotted ermine, crossing in a mosaic form.  One can, in the summer, replace the ermine with bands of gauze, also spotted, or streaked taffeta.

The first sleeves are open in the back like dalmatics; they hang over the second sleeves, cut en canon and trimmed with a sable band for winter, or ruched gauze for summer.

The petticoat, without a volant or flounce, must be made to the ordinary height of a volant with a color matching the second sleeves; the rest must match the gown.  The point where the two parts unite serves to hold a band matching that of the second sleeves; a trim matching that of the gown around the bottom of the petticoat.

The shape in the back is indicated by gold braid, with a tassel at the center.  The manchettes are round, topped with a row of pearls and accompanied with a puffed undersleeve.

Hair à la Dauphine: two curls on the side, two curls en crochet,* holding a dolphin's tail; this hairstyle is surmounted with a pinched ribbon placed en barriere, holding a diamond rose and crossed by a row of pearls.  The chignon is in a knight's cross, from which escapes a curl à la Sultaine which descends to the throat, where it ends.

* "to the new desire"
** from the architectural sense, in which a crochet was a motif of a scroll, curled at one end

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 13e Cahier, 2e Figure

Robe à la Versailloise of grey gros de Naples,* trimmed with plain muslin, white tassels, the petticoat of a soft green through which one sees the flounce, ribbons of soft green, wearing a hat.  The parasol is of a very soft blue-violet. (1778)

Robe à la Versailloise: it is from Versailles that these Gowns appeared for the first time.  The name of the place where they were born has become their proper name: they are as comfortable as they are agreeable, and unite elegance and simplicity; the front is nearly the same as those of the polonaises, but the back is scalloped at the bottom in three falls of drapery, trimmed with a very high flounce with a head of a different color.

The sides of the waist are trimmed with two ribbon cockade bows, where the tassels and pearl strands escape; the falls of drapery must be indicated by bows or tassels.

The petticoat is very pleated in the back and only has trimming in the front.  The sabot cuffs entirely cover the sleeves, their lower ends having little manchettes or bonshommes; the head of the sabot cuffs must match that of the flounce, and be trimmed with several rows of pearls.

Hair in a racine droite; two curls on the ear; the chignon unattached, held in by a ribbon bow at the back; rose hat, composed of a simple, box-pleated papillon forming the brim, a string of pearls interlaced with bouquets, serving as a band around the crown of the high-backed hat.

* a heavy silk with a dull finish





Monday, October 29, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 13e Cahier, 1e Figure

This Circassienne of a new taste is of sulphur-colored gauze, the trim of soft lilac gauze; the great flounce and the band which covers the trim are of the same gauze as the gown, the base of the sabot cuffs as well; there are only bands of trim in tuyaux which are lilac, lilac ribbons, the same are in the headdress. (1778)

 Circassienne fastened in front until the bottom of the waist, with extended wings; the bodice of these robes must be very fine and with gorgerette of the same material, trimmed in a ruched band, each ruche held with a row of perles en coque;* the ruched band is accompanied on each side with a little band that is pleated in tuyaux of a different color.


These gowns are not pulled up in the front; their wings are lifted only in the back, like polonaises, with tassels or bows interlaced with pearls.  Very simple sabot cuffs, held in at the ends with two barriers of pearls, and trimmed with a little band matching that of the gown.

Volant of medium height, having at the head a trim matching that of the circassienne, and above the volant a band matching the other little bands, with a length of pearls in the center.

Pearl necklace; contentement matching the gown, placed on a trim which descends in a straight line to the waist after having encircled the gorgerette, also with a row of perles en coques in the center.

Hair in a racine droite or shortened herisson with three curls over the ear; loose chignon; Italian gauze pouf, having a row of pearls for the papillon, below a ribbon like the little trims of the gown with a bouquet on the left.

* coque-de-perle, a type of  false pearl made from the shell of  an Indian snail, carved to reveal the nacre and filled with a cement to bolster the walls.


Sunday, October 28, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 12e Cahier, 6e Figure

Young lady in a taffeta caraco, coiffed in a demi-cap; this dress derives from Nantes, in Brittany, where the Bourgesoises of the town wore it to the passage of M. the Duke d'Aiguillon in 1768. (1778)

It is said at the bottom of this Print that the caraco derives from Nantes in Brittany, where the bourgeoises wore it at the passage of M. the Duke d'Aiguillon, in 1768.  This revelation is not exact: the caraco is older, but it was only in 1768 that respectable women appeared in public dressed in caracos, and this fashion overall had the greatest favor among the ladies of Nantes, where it was kept for many years.

Anyway, the caraco shown in the Print is not that which was worn in 1768; it is a polonaise caraco, and its introduction was not until 1772.  The scrupulous exactitude that is required for everything regarding fashion has not permitted passing under silence the two errors escaping from the impression of the Print.

The polonaise caracos, as one has remarked, has no pleats in the back, and in the front the ends are rounded; the one in the Print is low-cut or en gorgerette, and entirely fastened in the front, different from négligée polonaise caracos, which only fasten at the waist or under the contentement.

The trim is formed with a band of gathered gauze; the volant in matching gauze, headed with a double-pouf trim, also of gauze; sabot cuffs with two heads, ruched and very high; the point of the little vest descends very low.

Medium creole cap: the papillon is in one piece of Italian gauze, doubled and pleated on the sides, surmounted by a bouillonné ribbon placed as a bandeau in the same color as the contentement; a kerchief whose ends are thrown out in the back, taking the place of lappets, envelops the rest of the cap.

Hair in a chien couchant with two curls, a hanging one with nageoires; the phisionomie raised; the brush going out of the tempérament.

One must not omit the Tronchin cane,* also known as a high rod, which since 1770 has taken such favor among people of the fair sex.  The cane is always incompatible with the grande parure, and always characterizes demi-négligé dress.

* Probably so called after Théodore Tronchin (1709-1781), a Swiss doctor who advocated for inoculation and hygiene, and against bloodletting and purging.


Saturday, October 27, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 12e Cahier, 5e Figure

Young lady in a solid Polonaise of Buras, trimmed with a band of the same stuff, in 1778. (1778)

Jean-Jacques Rousseau, citizen of Geneva, after having strongly declaimed against the swaddling of infants and the normal manner of dressing them, at last had the satisfaction of making converts: children were raised and dressed following the method he had indicated; but the simplicity he tried to introduce into men's and women's dress did not have the same success. It was not until 1778, sometime after the death of that celebrated Philosopher, that people hazarded to make gowns along the principals of that Author, and it was with the polonaises that they made this attempt; they were known by the name of "Jean-Jacques" polonaises: the one which the Figure represents is of that type.

Buras cloth is used for the trimming, an unpleated band of the same material placed en barriere, the sleeves folded up in the peasant style, without trim, showing the little linen bonshommes; the volant of the petticoat is also of matching material and without pleats.

These polonaises, the same as the current polonaises or "frock-coat" polonaises, fasten under the contentement, have little wings, and are spread on the sides, leaving the little scalloped vest uncovered on the bottom, and without trimming.

It would not do, with these gowns, to adopt a too-elegant coiffure: that of the Figure is composed of a medium cap with peasant-style lappets, of Italian gauze, positioned mostly in the back; the coque is high and separate, with two curls falling very low, and on the cap a large but pincé solid-colored ribbon.

 A bouffante of goffered filet lace around the neck, and holding in the front a gold alliance.*

The shoe must be very simple, and in accordance with the rest of the outfit.

* An engagement ring


Friday, October 26, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 12e Cahier, 4e Figure

Genteel and poetic abbé, reading with enthusiasm a piece of verse that he composed. (1778)

The costume of what one calls an Abbé has singularly changed since the beginning of the eighteenth century; one should not at any time be surprised by this change and imagine that the young Abbés of our time are different than those of the past; it will be easy to demonstrate that their costume has sustained diverse modifications in each century; that in all eras these innovations have excited lively protests, and that at bottom, the difference in costume makes the men neither better nor more dangerous.

But this discussion is not our subject, and we are driving too far; one is only only meant to sketch the costume of a genteel and poetic abbé, reading with enthusiasm a piece of verse that he has composed.

His short cassock with very narrow sleeves is fastened on a very little cravat: his vest is open at the top, leaving visible what abbés are advised to have shirts with jabots; about the manchettes, their adoption is a little more ancient; they have succeeded the little bands of bluish linen known under the name "d'amadis", and which were placed at the ends of the sleeves.

I do not speak of the ring which the tiny little abé wears on his index finger; it is true that a fancy has been taken by some little Abbés to wear a ring on their finger to distinguish the pastoral ring and indicate that they have neither a bishopric nor an abbey, but this fashion having had little credit, it is useless to consider it too long.

The coiffure of this young poet is a demi-Greek with two circular curls, the favori folding in front of the ear; he has a glossy and arched skullcap on the back of the head, called calotte au reverbere;* it is of a very beautiful black scale, or at least coconut; sheepskin caps, or even moroccan ones, are almost out of place except among the very low clergy or in the provinces.

* "reflective skullcap"


Thursday, October 25, 2012

What, not a fashion plate?

So, the most exciting thing is that I'm going to be at Dress University again in 2013, but this time I'm going to stay in the hotel and go to events, and I'm also planning to teach - one class on patterning historic clothing, and one on the 1920s.  I'm so keyed up for it that I'm already working on the Powerpoint presentation for the latter; the former is going to take some more thought before I start writing anything, since a lot of what I do I worked out through practice, and I'm not used to describing how it works.
I am looking for a roommate!  If there's anyone else doing the same, please comment so we can get in touch.

Since I'm still at the stage where by the time I've finished making something I can see how Wrong it is and all the things I would need to do to fix it, I don't have many choices for things to wear.  (Seriously, I've made a sacque, three pairs of stays, a ca. 1890 dress, three or four corsets, a gown, a jacket, my thesis project, and a Tudor kirtle - and just ask me how many of those I want to put back on my body.)  And nothing I've ever done has been formal, anyway.  So my plans (which I fully expect to fall through in some way) are:

Saturday evening, Royal Court Dinner: 1920s court dress
Sunday morning, Let Them Eat Crepes: demi-polonaise
Sunday afternoon, Mad Tea Party: maybe a teagown or like a dress for a tea dance?
Sunday evening, Tiaras and Jampagne: court dress again (maybe with train removed)

1920s day dress for whichever day I have the 1920s class, and my thesis dress for the other

The demi-polonaise is my piece for the curtain-along, and it's almost finished - I just need to hem it.  It could use some trim, and I think I'll get some batiste/muslin/gauze when I get whatever other fabric I need.  More on the other outfits I'm planning later!

Galerie des Modes, 12e Cahier, 2e Figure


THE DISTRACTED WOMAN.  This woman, after being entirely dressed, remembers that she has not washed her feet, and is brought a basin by her chambermaid.  Her Gown is of wine-grey Gourgouran* trimmed with the same, the ribbon around the trim is sky blue, tied at intervals with little flowers.  The chambermaid is in a caraco of pale Buras. (1778)

In the preceding Figure we presented the toilette of the head; here is offered the toilette of the opposite extremity.  Better late than never: this is an old proverb of which the distracted woman makes a very good use, but it is always more agreeable not to be distracted and to occupy oneself with each thing in its own time.


Her gown is only remarkable for its trim, formed with a large band of gathered and ruched gauze, of which the center is covered with a bouillonné ribbon, attached with flower-knots.

The sleeves of the gown are lost under very high sabot cuffs, gathered bands, and similarly masked in the center with a bouillonné ribbon; the petticoat is trimmed with a large volant, covered on top with a ribbon matching that of the trim.

Hair in a shortened herisson, with two curls lying under a bunch of "flowers", matching those which hold the ribbon on the trim; the brush is on the front of the coque: "hill" cap; the gauze of the bonnet is pleated à gouleau, as is the papillon; two Italian gauze lappets, hanging in the back; two narrow ribbons placed en barriere, as paths to defend the height of the hill.

The lady's maid is in a caraco of solid-colored buras, trimmed with the same material; apron of white linen, very full; medium cap, with a curl on the ear; ribbon wrapped around it, held by a pearl pin; ruched lappets.


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 12e Cahier, 3e Figure


THE DELIGHTS OF THE BOIS DE BOULOGNE.  Gown of solid-colored taffeta in a soft color, trimmed with the same material.  The suit has a yellowish ground, dotted, with white vest and breeches. (1778)

Open and low-cut petite robe, leaving the compere uncovered, topped with a parfait contentement; trim matching the stuff of the dress in ruched bands; volant slightly raised, with a head caught in bouillons; gauze kerchief, untucked to let the two "children of love" take the fresh air.

Négligée coiffure, in chien couchant, with two curls; the brush is in the coque; pouf cap of Italian gauze; solid papillon, separated with a flower garland.  A large ribbon in a bow, with two hanging points, occupies the back of the coiffure.

The other Figure represents a young man in beverlet, with coupé collar; the ground is yellowish stuff, with large black and white spots; vest with open bavaroises,* leaving the top of the jabot visible; drop-front breeches, matching the material of the vest; a cord on each thigh.

Jacquet** hat, furred on the outside, with a gold cord around it coming in the front and ending with an oval button.  Two finger curls, in the style of Clerval.

This young man holds over his arm the mantelet with flared points of his amiable company, and toys with her Chinese paper fan; on the other arm one perceives the end of a cane or a stick with a Manheim golden apple, with a hair cord ending in tassels.

Shoes à la d'Artois with large square buckles, covering the coup-de-pied entirely.

* lapels
 ** possibly relating to a backgammon-like game


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 12e Cahier, 1e Figure


Young Lady getting a new hairstyle; she is in a peignoir and her gauze petticoat of very soft yellow.  The Hairdresser is in a slightly powdered red vest, black breeches, and grey silk stockings. (1778)

The moments devoted to the toilette are regarded as moments of idleness.  It is ordinarily the time when Ladies choose to glance on passing pamphlets- children of leisure, caprice, or need.

The fashion of filling the entr'actes or intermissions of the toilette with reading was introduced first in the homes of the Ladies of quality.  It very quickly gained excessive favor.  Peddlers and booksellers became useful men, and the most superficial pamphlets were able to boast that they had enjoyed at least a few minutes of existence.


All of a sudden this fashion felt a rather singular revolution: the frivolous works were put away.  A pretty woman was believed to wrong her charms if she had not read some treatise on the sciences and the arts: Physics, above all; Chemistry and Natural History had the greatest vogue.  This fashion of wit was succeeded by the fashion of reasoning: one only spoke of morality and metaphysics.  Poor human reason saw itself led to the Tribunal of the fair sex, and the philosophical torch illuminated Ladies' toilettes.  Its monotonous light was very proper to make their graces shine; one pretended that the torch, in the hands of the eighteenth century, was only a dangerous phosphorous.  It perpetuated itself in the home of some virtuous women, but in the homes of other women, the God of foolishness, with one of the bells of Folly, was a pleasure to extinguish.  Since this time, the sheets of periodicals have shared, through the approved pamphlets, the lost moments of Ladies' toilettes.


The little-mistresses of the middle class, great imitators, were advised to adopt the fashion of pamphlets at the toilette.  This fashion has even become so general, so universal, that a woman who does not read must always have her toilette scattered with pamphlets, to make readings to her admirers or lackeys that might come up.

It would perhaps not be too far from the truth, that falling in this last class, the middle class is what is represented in this Print.  The indifference she shows, or the book that she only holds between her hands for looks, or that which it contains only inspires boredom and sleep.

Anyway, this little bourgeoise seems to have enough coquetry to make use of a peignoir à coulisse, which she pulls up on the arms in the form of a pelisse or mantelet with flared points; her petticoat, also pulled up with art, is of a plain stuff, with a volant with a simple heading and box pleats.  Her hair is combed in a racine droit, the tip curved, with four curls on each side.

About the hairdresser: he is shown in the costume of his station.  "Lost greek" front hair, two finger curls, a cadogan queue; the rest of his accoutrement is easily guessed.

He holds a brush of swan feathers full of red powder, which he shakes on the head of this little middle-class mistress; to the end that, which nature made brown, she seems in unison with blondes, conforming to the received dress.



Monday, October 22, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 11e Cahier, 6e Figure

Ball dress, the bodice and petticoat pulled up with tassels, the sides of the same color: the underpetticoat* is another color.  The sleeves are covered with a poufed trim with pearls; the trim of the underskirt is decorated with a flower garland; all the trims are a light gauze.  Very large coiffure with plumes. (1778)

Ball dress.  The bodice and petticoat are of the same stuff and color.  This petticoat is pulled up with tassels on the sides, a little in back, and on the front unevenly through the pockets: it allows, as it were, the discovery of a second petticoat of a different color, trimmed with a volant of striped gauze, headed with a flower garland, with barrieres of flowers and sequins.  Little apron of gauze matching the volant, trimmed around the edges.  The body has a top-rounded bib, showing graceful contours.  Sleeves with large gauze sabot cuffs, trimmed in poufs, with pearls, flowers, and sequins.

Coiffure in a "nascent tuft", caressed by a pearl garland moving from right to left and becoming lost under the flower garland, forming a triangle surrounded by a ribbon head-band.

Panache of several raised and wobbly leaves on an aigrette of three straight feathers.  Braided chignon, with four curls à l'Anglaise on each side; the favori tilted in front of the ear.  A row of pearls for a necklace.  Double bow on the shoulder, and a bouquet on the left.  The Printer has placed it on the right side to keep from hiding the Figure.

Shoes with low heels, the coup-de-pied* free, embroidered with sequins.  Round rosettes, with a large sequin in the center.

* The use of "corsage", "juppon", and "jupe de dessous" imply that this outfit is made of a separate bodice and petticoats, like court dress.
** Literally "kick", possibly the toe?



Sunday, October 21, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 11e Cahier, 5e Figure

Young middle class woman dressed in a Polonaise with an embroidered Indian muslin apron.  She is wearing a half-négligée cap called "the Queen's Lever". (1778)

Coupé polonaise: this gowns are made like ordinary polonaises; they are only different in the petticoat, which must be without a volant or trim, but a vast apron serves as a veil and entirely covers the front.  A large flounce or demi-volant ornaments the apron, the head of which is hidden under the wings of the polonaise.

In the Print, the polonaise is trimmed with Indian gauze with bouquets on it: the apron is of the same stuff, and two cords of hair and gold hang from the top of the belt with their charms.

A conti, a type of very short little mantelet, envelops the shoulders without reaching to the chest; the goffered filet lace bouffante is placed as a stole; a ribbon in a simple knot in place of the contentement; the necklace is two rows of pearls, the second row as the "slave".

Half-négligée cap, called "the Queen's Lever",with a black brush on the left; papillon in gouleau, trimmed with a gathered band on two sides, and a roll above.  The whole is finished by a fichu placed as a pouf, with the two ends serving as lappets.

Hair in chien couchant, with the phisionomie to taste and two very large curls hanging on the first row of the necklace: the favori allowing the sight of the ears.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 11e Cahier, 4e Figure


Young Woman in genteel undress, coiffed in an English Hat, carrying a cane parasol, and walking with her dog. (1778)

The polonaise caraco is distinguished in front because it has no pleats, and because the bottom is rounded: such is what is presented in the Drawing.

It is trimmed with gauze in "bouquets" and in bands across; the bands serving as a frame: the volant matches this trim.  It is headed with a roll of gauze, supported with ribbon bows, with another ribbon winding around the roll.

The sleeves are ended by very high sabot cuffs, trimmed with two rows of pipes.

For a necklace, a puff of goffered filet lace, held in with a gold pin; the two ends descending over the chest, which they split into two hemispheres, and being lost under the contentement.

Egyptian hat, or bouillonné handkerchief pouf; the ruffle of black blonde lace, surmounted by a ribbon matching the color of the caraco; a hanging plume coming out of the pouf; a double heron aigrette escaping from the left side.  Hair au chien couchant, with two stylish large buckles, with the second resting on the shoulder.

Shoes with tapered quartiers, with quare bows; ebony parasol cane for shelter from the Sun's rays.



Friday, October 19, 2012

Galerie des Modes, 11e Cahier, 3e Figure

Little Mother at a Meeting in the Champs Elysées, in a Caraco with a petticoat trimmed with striped muslin and a flowered Indian muslin apron.  She is coiffed with a Henri IV hat trimmed with pearls with tassels. (1778)

The costume this Print offers breathes a tone of voluptuousness which it is difficult to defend; so it is selected of the beauties that Solomon called proper quivers to receive all sorts of arrows.

This costume is composed of four principal pieces, which are described here.

1. On a chien couchant hairstyle, with two stylish falling curls, is placed a Henri IV hat, trimmed with all that belongs with that style: the crown, the brims, and the panache are black.

2. Very short Summer Caraco, leaving the entire chest uncovered; the caraco is trimmed with gauze in large stripes across it.

3. Petticoat covered for two-thirds of its height with a volant of Indian muslin with large stripes, similar to the trimming.

It is caracos that cause petticoats to be surrounded with vast volants: they once had demi-volants, or a front flounce; there was even a time that one wore a false petticoat under gowns, called for this reason an apron, or a trompette.

The first volant was only a rather narrow band attached to the bottom of the petticoat at the two ends.  It only then captivated the upper edge, and for a long time it stayed in that state of modesty.  But caracos having lost their length, one is advised to fill the void they leave on the petticoat by making the volant higher.  The fashion of polonaises and pulled-up gowns achieved the extent of the empire of volants: of all the trim, they became an essential part of dress, and they are the most agreeable and varied trim.

Caracos and polonaises also require aprons; they ordinarily fill the whole space which one finds between the waist and the volant; sometimes, as in the Print, they cover the entire front of the petticoat.  The former are trimmed around their edges, but the others have no trimming unless the petticoat does.  Indian muslin, linen, and filet lace, plain or embroidered, are the stuff which have the exclusive privilege of composing them.

4. The mantelet seems, at first glance, to remove a part of the grace of the elegant costume, but this is not the effect in this case.  This part of dress, with regard to the parure, may be compared to shadow in a painting: that which produces illusion is very removed from destroying it.

It is therefore with reason that this Beauty is enveloped in a vast mantelet à coulisse with flared points; with it, she has nothing to fear about her very beautiful chest staying unnoticed; the flared points are very favorable to the plump waist, which needs to be hidden under a vast but light drapery.