Friday, November 29, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 60e Cahier, 3e Figure

Young Lady watching the favorable child of the galant mystery. She is dressed in a morning Gown, and covered with a Hat à la D'Orvilliers* with a Chignon curled à la Conseilliere.

"It is necessary ... to render justice to the French ladies, and especially to the Parisiennes: sometimes they justify their love for the parure, and the variations that they make them undergo from the motive which makes them adopt this or that fashion. Patriotism rather frequently determines their manner of dressing, and their costume becomes at the same time an homage rendered to (1) the heroes of the day, and a picturesque memorial to the events which give (2) honor to the Nation."

(1) "In 1776 were not hats  à la Henri IV, and caps à la d'Estaing, à la Voltaire, etc. worn."

(2) "In 1778 caps à la Victoire were worn: women coiffed themselves in English casques. Others hoisted onto their heads the Vessel of the Belle-Poule, etc."

SYLVAIN MARECHAL, Notice on the Mores of Paris (Costumes civils actuels ...), 1787

* Louis Guillouet, comte d'Orvilliers (1708 – 1792), an admiral who aided in the American Revolution.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 60e Cahier, 2e Figure

Pretty Woman running to the rendez-vous of Love. She is dressed in a light Gown and coiffed with a morning Baigneuse, etc. etc.

"In the shop of M. Granche are found the following objects:

"Watch-chains, in gold, with beads, faceted, in the steel type, and several jewels of the same work.

" ... Watch cord, necklaces and bracelets in coral and steel.

" ... Cord in American grains and pearls, and others in enamel beads of diverse colors.

"Large childbirth rings, in talisman-engraved stones, and others imitating onyx."

Le Cabinet des Modes, 1786

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 60e Cahier, 1ere Figure

The pretty Mama in the Jardin du Roi, in an Informal morning Gown, with her little child dressed à l'Americaine.

"Women's hanging hair spoils coaches and armchairs, but one loves to see this ornament of their heads floating and caressing their belts; there are no beautiful women without long hair."

SEBASTIEN MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1788

Monday, November 25, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 3e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 6e Figure

Robe de Cour à la Turque, Oriental coiffure with aigrettes and plumes, etc. 

Furnishings made by Rose Bertin, modiste to the Queen, for the Countess d'Ogeras.

"1786, 1st February. - The trimming of a robe à la Turque of pink and black striped velvet, the parements trimmed with a band of white satin, striped with pearls, edged on each side with a pink comet; a pleated ruffle of white blonde; the petticoat of pink satin trimmed with a volant of blonde striped with pearls, edged with a pink comet and black velvet, with the same blonde as on the gown pleated on each side with a barrière of pearls at the top. ... 244 livres.

"A gown edging in bastard blonde. ... 16 livres.

"A pair of little manchettes in 2 rows of pretty tournante blonde with a tulle ground supporting said gown. ... 54 livres."

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

MMA Exhibition: the Interwoven Globe

This week, I was lucky enough to go down to the city (more on that another time) and see a current exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: Interwoven Globe: The Worldwide Textile Trade, 1500 – 1800. It's a very grand show, and I highly recommend visiting it if you're in the area.


While the mounted carpets, bedspreads, and tapestries are magnificent, you (if you're reading this) will most appreciate the opportunity to view some very well-known 18th century gowns - most especially 1995.235a, b, a painted taffeta sacque with knotted silk net parements and volant (the manchettes are also worth a closer look, as they're intricately embroidered); 1993.17a, b, the wildly embroidered Italian casaquin and petticoat; 1992.119.1a–c, a Neoclassical gown, petticoat, and fichu; and 1970.87a, b, that vivid yellow retroussée gown. Many of the garments are displayed in free-standing plexi cases, which means that you can stand closer to them and really get a good look at trim, pattern, seams, etc.

You can view the full list of objects in the exhibition here.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 3e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 5e Figure

 Robe de Cour with its hoop, trimmed as Jacob's Ladder.

"Court dress requires that women, on the presentation days, have uncovered shoulders. This was formerly a handsome spectacle; it has since changed. Ambition nourished women's embonpoint and seemed to augment their youthfulness. Today one would say that this same ambition desiccates them and makes them thinner: the attractions of the court seem to have removed from them the rounded attractions which distinguished their predecessors as is attested in their portraits; but it has been decided, for the last thirty years, that the evidence of full health will be left to the bourgeoise, and that an exhausted or half-dead woman will be offered instead."

SEBASTIEN MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1788

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 3e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 4e Figure

 Robe de Cour à la Française, with its petticoat trimmed in varied garlands.

Memoir of Lacoste, at the Crowned Dauphin, to Mme the Countess d'Arvilly, January 2, 1785.

"The trimming and the bodice of a gown of white crêpe, spangled with silver in faux vermicelli patterns, the parement trimmed with a beautiful garland of two fringes in silver lamé, and a third row of gold in the middle, pinched bouillon-style at the ends, each bouillon held with a flower of blue spangles and green leaves. The manchettes edged with a fine silver fringe and frivolité, and a fine petit pied of blonde. The petticoat of white taffeta covered with white crêpe, striped at the edges with white sequins, edged with oval stones or scattered very thickly in a pattern of faux sequins. The bottom of the petticoat edged with a pleated ruffle of crêpe striped in two rows of fine silver fringe and a third row of fine gold.

"A pleated, pulled-up volant of white crêpe edged with silver sequins at the end, edged at the bottom by a ribbon edged in rich stones and a fine silver fringe held with a garland matching that of the parement in gold and fine silver. ... 1,600 livres."

(Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire de Paris, 1885.)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 3e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 3e Figure

Robe de Cour with its hoop, trimmed with oak leaves in garlands.

To Madame the Countess d'Oyras:

"1786, 1st February. - The trimming of a gown of satined stuff with a ground of King's Eye, satiny white stripes, the drapery trimmed with an embroidered crêpe and bouillons of bare satin in all colors, edged with a pleated ruffle of bastard blonde, on each side a tulle with a chickory border, the top of the bottom of the parement trimmed the same, the manchettes tulle chickories in silhouette, the matching petticoat trimmed with a volant of the same crêpe, embroidered like that of the gown with a blue canète* and a little blonde, the coquille of the same crêpe in bouillons with blue ribbon bows like the draperies on each side of the coquille, a gown edging in bastard blonde ... 388 livres.

"A set of 3 bows of green and violet ribbon edged with a petit pied of blonde ... 18 -

"A gown edging of bastard blonde ... 14 -

"The matching stomacher en barrière ... 6 -"

Dossiers Bertins (Doucet Library)

* Possibly a cane, possibly a duck?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 3e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 2e Figure

Great Oriental Robe de Cour. Coiffure in the African style.

To Madame the Countesse d'Oyeras:

"1786, 1st February. - The trimming of a grand robe française of satin with a white ground striped with blue and white velvet, the drapery edged with a pleated ruffle of tournante blonde, tulle ground with a pattern, bouillons of gauze above the fastenings of blue and white velvet striped ribbons, edged with poppy-colored velvet; between the bouillons, big puffs of the same poppy velvet ribbon in which is a pearl buckle, the bottom of the parement trimmed the same way with a volant of beautiful striped English gauze, edged with a tournante blonde of fond d'Angleterre, the coquille edged with a pleated ruffle of the same bouillons of the same blonde, on the head of said coquille pulled up to the left by a large puff like the draperies, with a pearl buckle ... 388 livres

"A gown edging in tournante blonde ... 15 -

"A set of 3 bows in chiné poppy ribbon, edged with a blonde petit pied ... 18 -

"The matching stomacher en barrière ... 6 -"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

Monday, November 18, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 3e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 1ere Figure

 Robe de Cour with hoop, trimmed with dotted ermine.

To the Marquise de Torre Monsamal:

"1785, 8 March. - 10 ells of spring fabric is gros de Naples with a white ground, spangled with silver and lilac for a wide-hooped gown at 120 livres ... 1,200 livres.

"Two pieces of spangled crêpe embroidered with lilac sequins in medallions for the petticoat at 200 livres ... 400 -

"The trimming of said gown, the drapery bordered with a fringe of silver tassels with a garland of silver and lilac sequins or a pleated ruffle of silver blonde edged with a fringe, a butterfly bow fringed at each corner, the bottom of the parement matching, the manchettes trimmed with fringe, the petticoat in spangled and striped crêpe trimmed with a volant of spangled and satin-striped crêpe edged with a fringe and tatting, a garland in lilac sequins and silver-spangled bows ... 1,080 -

"A gown edging in blonde ... 15 -

"A parure of three bows in spangled silver lamé ribbon ... 60 -

"The matching stomacher en barrière ... 27 -

"A pair of manchettes with three rows of very beautiful blonde of an extraordinary width on a fine tulle ... 216 -

"A chérusque in a matching beautiful blonde ... 120 -

"A shift trimmed with a row of beautiful blonde ... 48 -

"A blonde frill ... 27 -

"A pouf edged with a barrière of lilac sequins, a pleated ruffle of very beautiful blonde, three plumes with lilac tips, blonde gauze and ribbon behind ... 240 -

"A side bouquet of variegated carnations and Spanish jasmine ... 48 -"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

Friday, November 15, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 2e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 6e Figure

Grand Robe à la Reine, Hat à la Milady.

To Madame the Countess d'Ogeras:

"1786, 1st February. - The trimming of a robe française of satin with a white ground, striped golden yellow and brown, the parement in drapery, trimmed with a large bouillon of ribbon matching the gown, mixed with white satin, bows of blue satin ribbon edged with black velvet and crêpe, between the bouillons, the bottom of the parement trimmed in the same way, the petticoat the same, trimmed with a volant of beautiful striped gauze, edged with a beautiful blonde in fond d'Angleterre with a great height, the coquille* of the same bouillons as the gown, with matching scarves, manchettes with chickory leaves of tulle à la silouette. ... 380 livres

"A gown edging in bastard-blonde. ... 14 -

"A set of three bows in blue and black striped ribbon. ... 14 -

"The matching stomacher en barrière. ... 3 -"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

* literally, "shell". Coque is frequently used in later decades to refer to a half bow, a long fold of fabric. Are coquilles smaller coques?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 2e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 5e Figure

Grand Court parure à la Française. 

To the duchess of Wurtemburg:

"1789, 21 February. - Furnished for a robe française ten and a half ells of striped and cannelé white velvet ... 283 l 10 s

"Six ells of white Italian taffeta for the petticoat ... 51 -

"The petticoat of crêpe striped with white ribbon, embroidered with chenille and green branch-work, reed bouquet, and a drapery ... 290 -

"The trimming of said gown, the parements with drapery trimmed with chenille embroidery in reed designs, and pleated blonde lace, a ribbon bow striped with poppy-colored chenille, blonde lace with a bow of pearls holding the drapery, the bottom of the parement trimmed the same with a barrière of pearls, the petticoat trimmed at the bottom with another pearl barrière, edged with a pleated ruffle of blonde lace on each side. ... 350 -

"A robe edging of pleated fine blonde lace. ... 18 -

"A stomacher of white satin embroidered with poppy chenille ... 18 -

"Draped ribbon sleeve bows in poppy chenille with matching parfait contentement ... 15 -

"A kerchief in flat stitch with a very beautiful wide blonde lace, fond d'Alençon, in a bouquet, a pleated ruffle of fine tulle forming a ruff, a four-rowed ruche of pleated black tulle at the head ... 120 -

"A front-piece on the bodice of goffered and pleated gauze, trimmed with a fine, pretty blonde lace ... 27 -

"A pair of triple manchettes of a very beautiful blonde with a great height, fond d'Alençon with bouquets ... 300 -

"A paré turban cap embroidered with reeds,* in chenille and striped ribbon, in poppy chenille, a pleated ruffle of beautiful blonde, matching that of the kerchief, scarves with reeds edged with a beautiful blonde ... 96 -

"A pair of lappets of beautiful blonde fond d'Alençon, rich border positioned behind ... 48 -

"A bouffante of white taffeta trimmed with embroidery ... 120 -

"The sewing ... 24 -

"Total ... 1,760 l 10 s"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

*The structure of this sentence makes me think that roseau may not simply be "reed" but some sort of style of embroidery, as feuillage is both "foliage" and a type of embellishment. But I cannot find any information on what that style would be - for either, actually.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 2e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 4e Figure

 Ordinary Robe de Cour with a négligé Hat.

To the Marquise de Torre Monsanal:

"1785, 8 March. - Summer gown. - 10 ells of dark blue taffeta spangled with silver and precious stones at 120 l. ... 12 sous

"2 ells of crêpe spotted with gold spangles and sequins at ... 130 livres

"Said gown trimmed with drapery, edged with  silver fringe, a silver garland and poppy sequins, embroidered with precious stones, a gerbe* of golden wheat and sequined flowers, a scarf of silver-spangled crêpe edged with fringe, the manchettes edged with fringe, the petticoat trimmed with a volant of spangled crêpe, a ribbon of silver lamé edged with tasseled fringe, a garland of green spangles embroidered with precious stones and a bow in reed leaves embroidered with green sequins edged with flat silver fringe. ... 1,200 -

"A gown edging in pretty blonde lace ... ( )

"A parure of 3 bows in green-spangled and jeweled ribbon edged with blonde lace ... ( )

"The matching stomacher en barrière ... 30 -

"A pair of manchettes in a beautiful blonde lace, extraordinary height ... 144 -

"A chérusque** in a very beautiful blonde lace matching the manchettes ... 120 -

"A pouf with a barrière in precious stones, 4 beautiful plumes and branches of golden wheat and beautiful blonde lace ... 300 -

"A chemise of gauze and blonde lace ... 44 -

"A necklace of ruched white tulle ... 18 -

"A bouquet of pomegranate ... 58 -

"A corset of boned taffeta ... 72 -

"A hoop of white taffeta for the gown ... 96 -"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

*a bundle of flowers, smaller than a bouquet, usually attached to the dress - the term is also used in the 1830s and 1840s

** a lace collarette, named for the Cherusci, a Germanic tribe. I've found some information that the standing lace collar that was part of Napoleonic court dress was called by this name, but I'm not sure that it has the same definition prior to that, as a standing collar was previously called a medicis.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 2e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 3e Figure

Grand Robe de Cour à l'étiquette. 

To Madame the Countess de Sabran:

"For Mme the Marquise de Custine. Presentation Dress; 20 January 1788.

- The furnishing of a full gown, the petticoat of white taffeta, covered with a crêpe spotted with silver sequins, forming a fabric with contrary pleats, the foot of the petticoat trimmed with a large band of green sequins striped with white sequins, bordered at the bottom with a high gold fringe and tatting; three festoons forming shells bordered with a very high fringe of gold and silver tassels, a very beautiful garland in branch-work of green and pearl spangles mixed with gold spangles, with large flowers of blue spangles, the top of the petticoat striped in columns of garlands of green spangles, all a branch-work mixed with pearl: the bottom of the gown of blue satin trimmed with a fringe of gold and silver tassels; a band spotted with spangles, a flat gold fringe with tatting at the top; the grand corps of blue satin trimmed with a stomacher of black velvet embroidered with stones, the edging and shoulder straps matching. Four gold and fine silver gown tassels. The palatine with two rows of pleats of bastard-height blonde lace, fond d'Alençon; a rich garland in the middle; a pair of bracelets of bouillonné silver lamé, a large bouquet of plain blue and white larkspur. ... 3,000 livres"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 2e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 2e Figure

Grand Robe de Cour or of the new etiquette.


Description of gowns furnished by Rose Bertin, modiste to the Queen, for the Countess Gustave de Sparre:


"1787, 12 September. - The furniture and trimming of a grand presentation dress of black fleuret,* the petticoat covered with an embroidered, spangled, bronzed crêpe with very rich sequins, the petticoat bordered with a fringe of tassels in branched-work and sequins, the head of black sequins in festoons, a drapery on the right and on the left of sequined crêpe, edged with the same fringe as on the bottom of the petticoat, ended with beautiful, shining black tassels and attached with sequins, the bottom of the gown of black-spangled crêpe, trimmed with a stomacher en barrière of black sequins and black stone buttons, the veins and epaulettes matching ... 3,000 livres

"4 bows for the bottom of the gown in black-spangled crêpe at 9 l ... 36 -

"A pair of bouillonné bracelets in the same black-spangled crêpe ... 30 -

"A palatine of crêpe hemmed with two rows of pleats ... 18 -

"A second black palatine ... 18 -

"A pair of grand corps sleeves with six rows of hemmed crêpe ... 48 -

"A matching collerette ... 10 -

"A pair of lappets of black crêpe and a little velvet ... 12 -

"A bouquet of beautiful roses of all sizes ... 72 -"

Dossiers Bertin (Doucet Library)

* Filoselle, a type of heavier silk; filoselle is now mainly used as embroidery floss.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 2e Cahier de Grandes Robes d'Etiquette, 1ere Figure

Grand Robe de cérémonie for the Gala. 

Reverences. - "... But there is the Master of the presentation reverences. It is necessary to make the reverences while going backwards, and to adroitly throw aside the train with the heel. It is an exercise that is made going forward several times, before a large mirror, and with the greatest seriousness. Oh my dear Rabelais! see that the master of reverences acts as the king. One takes his hand, and bends in front of him, but one does not drop it. One drops that of the king, when he does not deign to embrace the one presented; which he does most often, for the kings of France are very gallant. They ceremoniously embrace ugliness as well as beauty. Oh truly great complaisance!"

SEBASTIEN MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1788

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 59e Cahier, 6e Figure

 Elegante of the Palais Royal, dressed in a voluptuous négligé, and coiffed with a morning Cap, &c. &c.

"... Women's dress must have a sex. This dress must contrast with ours. A woman must be a woman from head to toe. The more that a woman resembles a man, the more she loses. The significant change in women's dress dates from the fashion of the jockeys and the fury of the little spectacles.

"Is there no remedy, and will it go from bad to worse, until there is a full revolution? What correspondence is there between women's mores and the government? Jockeys, hats, redingotes, and the little theaters have changed the national spirit and taste ...

"I would need to have the sharp brushes of Solomon to describe the ravages which have occasioned from the jockeys and modern dress, and the stock-buying, and the little spectacles. The artist who bastes the little chiffons for their libertinage is a divine man. Finally, it is since the epoch of the jockeys and the infernal game of the stock exchange that women have wanted to change men into vile mechanical slaves of their brazen luxury."

SEBASTIEN MERCIER, Tableau de Paris, 1788

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 59e Cahier, 5e Figure

Young Lady, dressed in a retroussée Circassienne, with Sleeves à l'Espagnole, and coiffed with a Turban of Love.

"No-one can deny that our French Ladies adopt their fashions from Ladies of almost every other kingdom; however, we must admit that there are restitutions that they make to almost all. Didn't they borrow, in the last two years, from Polish women, Englishwomen, the Turks, the Chinese? They borrow today from the Spanish. It is true that what they give back is better than what they take; and even to be exact, they only borrow the names and they give things. When they copy, they revise, they embellish. When they imitate, they create. With a very inventive, very fecund imagination for slavishly focusing on their designs, they seize it, they form it. They become, in a word, the masters of their authors."

Le Magasin des Modes, 10 January 1787

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 59e Cahier, 4e Figure

 Pretty Agnes, coiffed à l'Anglomane, dressed in a Caraco en Veste with revers, &c.

"Our Ladies, after having consumed all their science in infinitely varying their gowns, redingotes, demi-redingotes, etc. etc., have employed the little which remains to them to vary caracos which are nearly the only garments worn today. For that they have begun to compose them of a corset which is worn underneath, and from which the sleeves come out, and a caraco bodice to which they have only given quarter-sleeves, that they trim with manchettes."

Le Magasin des Modes, 10 October 1791

Monday, November 4, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 59e Cahier, 3e Figure

Young Lady in a Caraco à la Flamande,* coiffed with a Turban à la Turque, &c.

"A new fashion that many women have adopted and which doesn't truly suit them is that of curling the hair of young people, in five curls, of which two are above and three below, placed in "pigeon wings": excluding, however, of only curling to the bottom of the ear, they are curled to the bottom of the face, to the bottom of the chin. Their curls are stiffly crinkled, and as applied on their face. They never wear curls that hang down to the kidneys, their hair in the back is braided and pulled up very high like the braids of the Swiss. On this hairstyle they wear a little toquet or a very little cap of plain gauze. This whole ensemble gives them an air of stiffness, a hard air which is not charming ..."

Le Magasin des Modes, 30 August 1787

* Flemish.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Galerie des Modes, 59e Cahier, 2e Figure

Petite Maîtresse of the Palais Royal, dressed in a Robe à la Musulmane,* etc. etc. 

"The public promenades furnish the occasion of displaying on oneself all the luxury and taste to which one is susceptible. There is an assault of parures: the comers and goers pass in review and are judged with all rigor. The beauties of the day, who are sometimes no longer that the next day, go there to enjoy their triumphs. Mounted on their raised chariots, to be seen from far away, they hardly pierce the waves of the piled spectators on their passage. It is there that the Merveilleux of all ages parade their choice and satisfy their pride. But it is not there that the sage of Geneva (Jean-Jacques Rousseau), while on his trip to Paris, bore his steps: such objects had hurt his eyes, friend of Nature, beautiful without rouge; he preferred the boulevards to the north of the Capital ..."

SYLVAIN MARECHAL, Notice on the mores of Paris (Costumes civils actuels ...), 1787

* Muslim. Please note that this looks like a zone-front gown!