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The Empress's New Clothes: Fashion and Politics in Second Empire France Author(s): Therese Dolan Source: Woman's Art Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Spring - Summer, 1994), pp. 22-28 Published by: Woman's Art, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 10/06/2011 18:00
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Worth expresseddisappointment. ?i . A N E rr < > -E ^ effacement. when Eugenie assumedher imperial being Women were required to wear a position in France. us ron the couturiers. ri rate display as a sign industrial power and political . In these images ar worn more than once. The London journal 0 . 36" c 29P".Clai ^ Bulow Gift.historical. not to mentionthe properformfor officialmourning. Spainand the pannierof 18th-centurelated-by which to critique the Second Empireregime. the distinctive tone.Charles Baudelaireporquickly converted into external yW flourish. ry France. Indeed. __-? ?1 1 brought a dramatic increase in elabo. horsehairundergarment ciation with the empress Eugenie. however. ecovertugadin. to body forth the unity of the figure with complainedof havingto sell a flour mill to meet the costs of proper attire. color and contour. especiallythe crinoline. and her preferNapoleon III's quest to re-establish Paris as the capital of the world ences supposedlyoverruledthose of preachers.. and the taxonomy occasionsproliferated:day and eveningwear of into the necessity for specialized attire for morning. 1978. On February with the royaland imperialcourts of ^ 1.and modem beauty. it meant By Ther e Dolan financial hardship.Fig. the Countessof Teba (1854. and social valwalking. Winte erhc ~Fig. The Em TheEugenie 1. ues. the soldier. . he announced that no one Europe. with implications that reached far beyond any stylistic in the cut and color of a ball gown or a frockcoat.splashymilitary parades. the crinoline was and a herald of progress. would be received at court without Wide skirts were fashionable in uniformor officialcostume. Descended from these From the outset of his reign.but the garmentitself posdressmaking sessed strongmonarchical associations with the past. From the beginning of her reign. Commentaryon fashion duringthe Second Empire (1852-70) multiplied articulatedprofound shifts in political. One invite'e many classes of women.and its assohave proclaimed the crinoline as the triumph of mechanized stiff.' Foreign " throneswishingfor a royalunion also not only the empressbut other heads of state around Europe. natole France once imagined being able to read books published 100 years afterhis death. for others. with the black frock coat purporting demonstrateequality. For the wealthy es refers to the power of fashion. for the countryas well as the city. pompousreceptionsof foreigndignitaries. A week's he discovered the moral attitudes stay thus entailed as many as 28 and the aesthetic values of the dresses-all in the most up-to-date time. and fashion helped set ment was impossibleand a dignified . Eugenie was held up as a trendsetter. Fashion Althoughfemale attire. and learned men. Sensitive to these slights. 1853. male fashion remainedbasiits inflectionsheld a preciselycoded significancefor the 19th-cencally unchangedduringthe Second Empire. Fashionperiodicalsmay to tury audience. Of special interest was the public reactionto the knownas the crinoline. Mr.^ Similarly. She chose Charles Spanish Frederick Worth as her primary 1). *. the imperialcouple designed the crinoline for the leisured upper classes: swift movesought to create an elegant and cultured court. status. of course. gait essentialto keep the voluminous The Second Empire proclaimed skirt in control.or farthingale.Euu. Women invited to the trayed himself thumbing through fashion plates at the beginning of imperial residence at Compiegne his importantessay Le Peintre de understoodthat no dresswas to be la vie modere.traveling. the crinoline was III used fashion to serve again in the 19th century associated Napoleon his political program. she courttrainat specialreceptions.mEjIkcu:m.and bolize the ostentationof the regime.and so forth.and gendernomic. E E l l EE~r P~j [E^ |U~ ^had ~ 10 R LESS S S supremacy. and earned capital was T (T|1 m T T . was met at home with surprised designer. novelists.-1 _ _ . dressing hoped for a French bride.3 Fashion journals chronicled Eugenie's every taste in peace and paraded prosperity. Metropolitan Museumof Art.and glitteringgala performances of new ballets and operas. The popularized the crinoline and was sometimeserroneouslycreditedwith emperor'smarriageto Eugenie. and he became the first of dismayby many dignitarieswho had the male fashion dictators. ular in 16th-century England and moral. Ratherthan novels or histories. he would first search out fashion periodicals since costumes tell more about humanity than do philosophers. of increased . s aier. For Baudelairefashionserved as the contemporary a potent signifierof class. Sumptuousness replaced self- Fashion Ld Politics in Second En )ire France 1-_V _ . Throughout his essay he style. recallingthe employedto construethe empress'sidentityand provideda whole most poprange of signifiers-political. or his rest indulgence. sovereign realms. I ter.~. oil on canvas. The moderationthat marked Louis-Philippe'sJuly Monarchygave way to extravagant stateballs.2 The amount of clothing social milieu.and Mrs. Franz-Xovier Empress (1854). be this opportunity afforded giddy it of the dandy. economic. inventing it.w?uE. came to symvagaries discoursecontainedthe languageand symbolsof class status.

not y^ .. broadenedsilhouette of the crinoVIj BX ^ _ line. Given tle constant _ ^ ~ (1859) traced past sumptuary references in the press to the frivolity edicts againstthe farthingale. . In 1856 dreds of articles and visual send-ups Charles Vernierpublisheda suiteof of the crinoline during the 1850s and caricatures under the title Crinolinomanie with Cham (Amedee de Noe). Strictlaws datingfrom 1835 prohibitedcaricaturists from the imperial couple ! . Honor6 Daumier. and others who assumed power not as a birthright. this juxtapositionof politics ing from 18th-century treatises and petticoats served to weaken the that called panniers corbeilles public perception of her as a strong (hell'sbaskets)." Sepotem 1. The ^ Napoleon's e _* ~.~ nd'enfer and capable authority. in During the first years of her reign predicting 1857 that it would die the satirewas gentle and. Punch reported that of crinolineand delightedin . the first of three during her mighthave been aimedat the Catholic Eug6nie. -.-' deflatingfalse skirts..__L -ARoger ^ when Louis-Napoleon appointed her Crinoline featured a fairy named .^~~ ."7 L'~ KDue to imperial control of the t in France..:> X 4:. the pope. ..k^\.A -7 now she should be credited with . the jackboot served as Louis. Queen Victoria's well-known features are 23 strongly delineated while Eugenie. ~ fashion.5 In "La Belle Alliance" (1855. : S ' .4 ion to demonstrate the cooperation between France and England in the Crimean War.-i?<5 . with particular con..M and gossip.. 1860s. 2. that was not in realide la crinoline au temps passe tv P2unch's intent. But the tone became 1858playParis . it was implied. His admo?Wi l aa .. .Philippe Busoniwageda long campaign the Crinoline. open criticismof Jpress /1 mg. on occasion. She proved an premier" ("firstflounce").. of ' ..6 It served as a gauge of British attitudes on political and. social issues. Affairs of fashion.wide and net makers but of ministers of state. of BrynMawi r Cc 1994 WOMAN'S ARTJOURNALSPRING/SUMMER more properly affairs of state.S. . .. for 1 -"2 *course. ..5 : elry. caused the emperor's cousin. neophyteto self-willed. .and Daumieras contributors. ~iil depicting directly. 1855. her domain than .'k i^! been confinedto personalmemoirs i3> . Ptunch published hun. tempt for Louis-Napoleon. Founded in 1841.. . lithograph. . de Beauvoir's increasingly barbed around 1859. She was called Queen of Fashion. Jean Marcelin. her elaborately detailed dress.. providedamplematerial N caricaturists. The death of Prince Albert in 1861 caused the editors to cease attacks on Victoria. quotof fashion. Fig.~ . Italian \War. but a strong antifeminist \ ' ^ ~t :::.engraving. empty.. as Barker observed. "advancedrapidlyfrom ' .false any insultto the throne . 3).^ ^^s ^^S^_Epingle..Felix Nadar. and Imperatrice de la student and. 4 f" emperor saw an opportunity in the regency to educate Eugenie to a task she might someday have to assume if he predeceased and the imperial her prince was not of age.'0 However. and coiffure.r-7 pokedfun at the traffic jamscaused 4 'disdain for the French moved 'i . " who declaredhimself the regent in his absence during the A. off like the celebrated frog that burst from overinflating itself. jew.: satirical trademark... "La Belle iber Alliance. Fig._docile -. .. symbolic of Eugenie." In 1859 it was widelyreportedthat position himself. thus Punch swiftly initiated a satirical the campaign lampooning and used fashEmpress's hairstyle. ' Benjamin Disraeli. Courtesy allege Library.*"^ 2 enemy .. who coveted the _^H9!. . Eugenie and her politicalinfluence .. were n Fig. . l in partial profile. Honore Daumier bias combined with long-standing . argu:X "i?. ~.Fig. Goddess of the Bustles. Comtesse de la CharlesBertall. seems defined by . Punch aimed its strongest satire at the French and the papacy.1 . Punch.*. known for reign.^. Albertde la Fizeliere'sHistoire Although seemingly signaling support for the empress. 2). and ^^SH Bfalse being a great stateswomanas well as a glory-all thatexaggerates _?aJ^~~~ ' fashion plate and praised for assisting itself and which was sym-.!--.inflates at a council not of milliners and bonbolized in the crinoline.~ mentative mistress. with frequent reference to Eugenie's influence in spreading the fashion. ~her piety and papist sentiments. Prince Napoleon. { ^^ with the emperor seems to have .N. 3. just as the poire came to symbolize LouisPhilippeduringthe JulyMonarchy. 7 .' v to hot-airballoons Eugenie to the center as a target for 9. against crinolinein L'lllustration. of the time (1855. Eug6nie's nitions such as "FollowChrist. jthem the popular ~ their satire.. flattering.." regency. Le Be1llo1 (1855)..' The that had 103 flouncesof tulle.. .was regardedas a threat to public security.' w _ by the crinolines and compared . to sneer derisively that the government had been Eugenie wore a white satin frock entrusted to a fashion plate.

Punch. "A rt. >tion. 4) Eugenie . Peter. with the help of stones. Punch noted her influ/ b _ ence in political affairs with an /"-"E fragile Italian unity. In "A Friendly Visit" (1860. : / / /Eugenie.dy Visit. needed ^ .Kx. ^IRevolution Always of Some x5 ^ Wthwarted by Eugenie's interference./ grant infidelities. Fig. Committedto keeping ." St. subti' death of her sister in September tied "A Young Lady's Idea of the Use of Crinoline. while the governess. points to her motherHf^ close to physical and emotional country Spain in an evident alluA month's rest in sion to her grand design to collapse.. policies. Eugenie continued rule. worked feverishly to change July ' to sit on the Council of decision to sanction Napoleonon's ' t Ministers and engage in comi t !the union. ment in this issue receivedunfaInstead of farewell shouts of~ '.'2 Even after the i legitimist who believed in the : ' /j 3 'm right of the Bourbon Dynasty to emperor's return from Italy in of 1859. French troops in Rome to safeamid cries of "Ouree! Vive la i France! Vive la Crinoline!"'3 guard the pope's lands against ' seizure. a great statesman and the architect of adopted from Garibaldi.>. 5. nowaempressis our enemy and wvorks with the priests..Eug6niefoundher cause Eugenie's return to health marked a renewal of political -. and Victoria share a cup of tea. redraw the face of Europe. "Vive l'Imperatrice!" Punch vorable notice from England's /^ t'. Continuedoccupaoptic of fashion. Evacuation of -gL. in particular: "The emperor is ess barricades were erected by men weakening visibly and the engiraving. 4' 3 v ardently papist and a scientious resolve and political --I 1 't | ."Decen er 15.. . 5 to the fact that Eugenie !t /from claimed Kingdom of Italy. . assumed her regency with con.'~ Rome and dishonor the . 5). like an open endorsement of the ^ As in "La Belle Alliance..-----SU who bears an obviouslikenessto opposed. ^ I powers. Fig.." it is reactionarygovernment of the of who dominates papacyand riskedthe isolation Eugenie 7 France from Italianand British with most attention 1:1j Victoria. "The Modern plex political negotiations with ' . "TheModernGovern i. engraving. as tantamount to treason after Felice 0 . article entitled "There Is a i :. Punch. :~s marchon Rome in August1862.\ Napoleon's support and felt _ ?'.. of Eugenie more publicly involved in govcourse. iS France for the newly proI." the skirt has 1860. looked with>-:-."'1 March of 1861 Sardinia annexed the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and all of the pope's territory with the exception of the Patrimony of England perceived Eugenie's proclamation of "Rome or Death. Punch could. combined with the been transformed into a map of emperor's support of revolution '1tK in Italy to which she was firmly Europe. brought her pEugenie. Not subject to censorbecame increased as ship laws. to of her visit was seen through the >G. ' ~ ~ . by strengthened the ItalianpatriN GeneralGuiseppeGaribaldi's involvement that increased draX Aot fh . sought recognition Historical evidence testifies j e --i!. . 4.. ~. pooning the empress with her The major issue of French enormous skirts and presumed for power. There is only one-- women in general and Eugenie small difference: formerly the Fig. these troops would allow Viictor opinion regarding their political -.-nbe Fig.acquire French flag. ture from England took place Hubner. indulge fully in lamernmental affairs. . Again.'" In a telling 1861 ' i illustration. TheI Governess" (1861.' -' astuteness. His comment leaves no Kind in Paris"and commented: -~ "Paris is still essentially the city doubt about his perception of "''' j1 N of barricades. Baron Earl Cowleyand Austria's reported that Eug6nie's depar?.. These diplomacy in 1862 centered appetite -' attacks were a way to denigrate around the garrison of French the French and voice public in wotroops Rome. not to mention his fla. . Italian unity.'" Camille Cavour.' Victor Emmanuel. If I had her in my hands I would teach her well days they are erected by women in the shape of crinolines. fearful of the al years. . the perception King of Sardinia. on the other hand. Scotland and a brief visit to References to "petticoat governQueen Victoria provided a short ment" and "despotism of dress" respite. 1861."'4 In what women are good for and with what they should meddle..Emmanuel. ! the Austrians and Italians." February2.weaken __ng. . 1860. K :. Eugenie'sclose involvegiven to her mammoth skirt. matically during the next sever.

Dear to her the frock of the priest. non. 1862. The "tyranny" of fashion could not be more explicit.""'The firestorm in France over Eugenie's influence quickly found its way to England when Punch." shows Eugenie's bonnet sprouting a Roman helmet while she lifts her skirt to reveal a crinoline emblazoned with tactical ploys for preserving the French presence in Rome (1863.-la force d'EUGENIE. folks confessed 'Twas hard to say what she loved best.. "Mother Pope's Petticoat Paean. Edouard Thouvenel. Fig. knew that she proved to be his most formidable opponent.. and those of your son and the country at large. Now the Church had the foremost place. Eugenie as Omphale. 7).22 The mock epic "Hercules and Omphale" (1862. a full-page illustration bearing their likenesses and their names in cryptic showed Eug6nie hypnotizing her husband Louis with a bobbin dangling from a scepter topped by a papal tiara. Dear was the robe of the dear modiste. you will appreciate the following: M. Fig. "Laforce du genie? Eh. His plan for the gradual withdrawal of troops in return for a pledge from Italy to honor papal territorial rights earned her wrath. The accompanaing doggerel read: Poised was her majesty's heart between Ecclesiastes and Crinoline. Now she kneltfor the barbarous Latin. . but Thouvenel." contemptuously chided Eugenie for her loyalty to Rome. felt that the best defense was to disparage Eug6nie as an innocuous fashion plate. though he tried to dismiss Eugenie as a lightweight. or inflate her Crinoline."24 The accompanying illustration. The tiara itself became an effective crinoline in a lampoon of Eugenie accompanying an article suggesting that clergymen wear the female skirt (1862. The dismissal earned the emperor a stinging rebuke from Jean Fialin. echoing the sentiments of the British government. A satirical letter to Garibaldi complains about the interference of "a female who shall remain nameless" and wishes that she "were forced to keep her breath to cool her potage. "The National Crinoline. DROUYN DE LHUYS into the Ministerial chair vacated by M. Orsini's 1858 assassination attempt on the imperial couple. engraving. Fig. the queen of Lydia who bought Hercules as a slave. engraving.' Lest a reader miss the many not-so-subtle references to the French imperial couple. THOUVENEL?"asked DE MORNYof PERSIGNY. But I only compromise my future. WOMAN'S ARTJOURNALSPRING/SUMMER 1994 . A further unillustrated article. who scolded: "You allow yourself to be ruled by your wife just as I do. Punch. 7. 1862. and he was replaced by Drouyn de Lhuys. France's foreign minister. Punch.whereas you sacrifice your own interests. 8). Now o'er the sweetest thing in satin. openly credited her with causing his removal: Parlez-vous Franfais? "What has lifted If so. November 8. found himself in constant confrontation with the empress over the occupation of Rome. Mumbler or milliner.tCk 7"-~~ 404~rr" 74J-i ~- e~~s-MONKB4l? Fig. Public opinion may have played a role in Napoleon's decision to change ministers.'" In the next several months Punch waged an unyielding campaign against the empress. 6. "Hercules and Omphale. Fig. Now she was allfor ribbons and lace.2' while a doggerel verse in another article. 6) portrays Napoleon as a once-powerful monarch now cowering beneath his wife's yoke." November 1. in an unillustrated riddle." denigrates the papacy's reliance on female influence. all under the rubric of dress. "Fashionable Intelligence. Duke of Persigny. wavers between her attraction to politics and her love of fashion." Punch.

2 The height of Eug6nie'spolitical influence occurred in 1862. she wished to connect her personalimage with what she perceivedto be the politicalastutenessandpersonalcourageof the beheadedqueen. warned: "Marie-Antoinette under the name of 'The Austrian Woman'. But that hergarb will matchher mien.canezous. when she workeddiligentlyto influencethe emperor'sItalianpolicy. latter causingPunchto remark wittily: "Wepresumethis is a bonnet An to be worn when the lady has entirelylost her head.By manipulating signs of fashion. and wooden sabots contrastsmarkedly with the figure of Eug6nie in a heavilyflounced gown.Austrian with French royalistallusions.. All faces are covered.Fashion's HighPriestess Nowprostratein a swoon.Perhapsthis is the reasonshe did not succeedin captivating Augustus. while the men make soup and take administer care of the chores..observed: Theample. let the 'Spanish woman'takeheed. Withpeace. Comtesse de her Mercy-Argenteau.indeed."30 In an effort to decrease Austrianinfluence in Venetia.she'llcometo. No longerdictateschangeof dress At everychangeof moon.however." that her clothingand the impressionshe createdwould reflect ing well on Franceand stimulatethe economy.. Andthenresumeher reign.Lamballe. plain dress. Even at the time of the Franco-Prussian War. she was painted by Winterhalterin Early 8 . Flugel observed in The Psychology of Clothes that the extension of the human figure. kneeling. Her fictionof identityaligned well with the costume of past female monarchs.Francehavingbeen In war severelyschooled. The Britishpress respondedto this with denigrationaimed more at the impudence of a woman assertinginfluence and abettingthe pope than at the ineffectiveness of the emperor. Napoleon is not Louis XIV.The play takesplace on an imaginary islandwhere all the roles are reversed: the women wage war and and renderjustice..""enraged. in of Eugenie'sadaptation a style Marie-Antoinette dressand decor reflected her effort to link her imperial reign with the court of Louis XVI. at the Tuilerieswith furnitureand precious objects belonging to of and Marie-Antoinette orderedthe restoration the Petit Trianon.25 France's ignominious defeat at the hands of the Prussianscould now be traced in the changedattitudetowarddressin "TheFaintof Fashion": In Paris. with her armsgraspedaroundher young son dressed for military service. Punch reported on "some valuableWar-News"before detailing every aspect of her clothing as she walked in her garden. complained to Cavour: "Only a small coterie of the empresswill be invited (to Fontainebleau). High fashion. From the beginningof her marriage. Two shipwrecked art students wash up on shore and convince the men to return to their former ways and with dress and millinery. In of lieu of an aristocracy blood. influencedthe revival Eugenie'simitationof Marie-Antoinette of the 18th-century fichus.the emperor'sinfluentialcousin. A figurerepresentingFranceweeps as Eugenie embraces the PrinceImperial. The princess labeled Eugenie a frivolous fashion-mongerinterested at solely in clothes and dismissedher as "Marie-Antoinette the Bal Mabille.she soughtto establishan aristocracy of spiritthroughfashionemulation. Marie-Antoinette. After Eugenie's exile in England.34 Eugenie in her enormous skirts and possessing strong dynastic with past female monarchs..alsoprovideda meansfor her to expressher identithe ficationwith Marie-Antoinette.and the followingyear she organizedan expositionat the Trianondedicated to the beheadedqueen. king of the Two Sicilies. the depiction of Eugenie is sustainedthroughallusionto fashion.even was submoodsof "conto dividedinto tonalrangescorresponding Prussian and "icy. due primarilyto the clothes one wears. cease their silly preoccupation the idea of a strongfemale in a crinolinedgown runningthe government caused more than a little consternation in the public mind. one would think himself at the Trianon! Fortunately.and Pekiato commemorate and tles and the military. After the birth of the 18th-century Prince Imperial. In the periods of history where woman was all powerful you find the crinoline. 9). The invention of aniline dyes allowedthe productionof new colors. Eugenie soughtto associShe decoratedher apartments ate herselfwith 18th-century style. Eugenie's adoption of Marie-Antoinetteas her historical model stemmed from a desire to link the imperialreign of the Second Empire with her legitimistideas of continuityand succession. Becauseit doth to reasonstand.and mantillas. Her sway she will resume. in her reign. and the Watteau."33 Charles Cogniard's1862 play La Reine Crinoline (probablya can pun on "le regne crinoline").seemed dangerously associations pow- Retrenchment costume. is unconsciouslyattributedto the body that wears them.Solferino. Her nation's War Bill will demand dress as the Queen Consort. of Whoknows.even ridiculously ampleskirthas alwayscoincidedwith the greatest power of woman. By sober taste be ruled?26 politics and fashionbecame indelibly ugenie notwithstanding." "ill.which often were given batnamessuch as Magenta.the Eugenie had daredto transgress codifiedboundariesof the to assume negotiationswhen her husbandequivocatedon family importantissues such as the unificationof Italy.31Her involvelanguageweighted ment in Thouvenel'sdismissalfanned the flames of hatredin the circle of PrincessMathilde. She surroundedherself with clerics and legitimistsupporters of FrancisII. in 1854. The suffering of the empress and other mothers in France is portrayed through dress in the poignant illustration"Two Mothers"(1870. one colorpopularin the late 1860s. Clearly. On my word of honor. Red blouses were baptizedGaribaldis.. Perhapsan era mayensue Of vestureneat and plain. recalling daysat Eug6nie'scourt. which is where the blame truly rested. she (mis)construed her own image as a female to von PrinceRichard Metternich."28 1857 articleon Eug6nieand her influenceon the crinolinecrazecarried a vignette not of contemporary but of 18th-century dress. to the point where Count Vimercante. In 1866 she appearedat a masked ball in a costumecopied from anotherVigee-Lebrun portrait.especially the crinoline.leavingthe costumesto communicate the message. military attache. The upright figure of France in a peasant coif. Bonnetswere namedTrianon.Bismarck brown. Eugenie negotiatedwith ambassador France." Eugenie justified her love of believto dressby referring her clothesas her "political wardrobe.Eugenie sat againfor Winterhalter a composiin tion reminiscent of Vig6e-Lebrun's 1787 portrait of MarieAntoinetteand her children. easily be read as a thinlyveiled satire on the emperor's weakness in subjugatinghimself to his wife'spoliticalmaneuvering."27 tent. I dare say had Cleopatra no crinoline. a reporter from became unpopular Mathilde'ssalon. allied during the Second Empire."32while the count of Viel-Castel. Fig.

T. Daumier had fun with the fashionable demimondainestryingto their crinolines into undersizedcarriages.. line Nutic... More serious was the associaof the courtwith the corruption of the courtesan world..:. Even though remained above Eugenie her Sreproach. husband. The content of fashion allowed an exclusiveness based on who belonged to le monde. v aboundedon its evils. ruption. sought to imitate these fashions . The crinoline fashion servedas a standard a barrier.'}_~'l /B " Fig. . constant pursuit of pleasure increasingly obliterated the line between the court and the demimonde..the official newspaper. condemning the confusion as an attack on the moral fabric of France. . Was this an open attack on the court.. whose concem for fashionoccupies the first several scenes of the second act of slow movements was obviously tinction once belonged to blood- erful next to the diminutive pro-1! file of her too-often vacillating i style. few othbut ers found humor in the debauched morals of Second Empire France.3 Clearly. The largeamountof material connoted the economic security of the womenwho wore it... If aristocraticdislines and court privilege. The bloated display of wealth and the i .-?_'/ :> thus abetted infanticide.I Crino . i---. the lore of the empress's new clothes received . Eugenie'spromotionof 18th-century style in dress. then take off his chamberlain's and walk on the gold.. The growing economy and newly acquired wealth of the' SecondEmpireseemed to be mirrored in the expandingsilhouette of women'sdresses. Its unwieldywidth that necessitated a measuredgait and more suited to leisure than labor. he was clearly alluding to a court mired in cor- the play. _.~.. Punch. b/' . ./ .. 9. "--' . Social pi. .'"" When Zola pictured the empress at the races ardently cheering a horse named for the most notori-' r. and ambience enabled ladies of wealth and fashion toll mark themselves off from the lower class as had the court of Marie-Antoinette. originallyidentified with fromthe privilegeand segregation lower classes.TI...'fl' 1 ^i i i. faced financial ruin. ^\ Ii 9.j ^women i /' ."i~ the financialburden of clothinga fashionable woman." imperial reignthatmodeled itself on her fashionsand furnishingsprovedto be no less outwardly self-indulgent. fashion of the demimonde. Zola noted this in Nana . ! ... Punch.- -~ "squeeze < . The ostentation of the crinolined dress furnisheda femininecode of economin ic and socialrivalry an industrialized societybasedon male competition and success. "Two Mothers.--:: ~ .>~~ . 1863.. who railed againstthe financialruin broughtto the poorerclasseswho indulgedin mindlessextravagances be in to Fig..? 4 >! frequent attentionin the press at S ' home and abroad. . He strongly denounced lil p A ! : 'wS: .llfe. Those who . and the decorations. (1880) when he described a Second Empire society gathering "in which great names and great shamesjostle togetherin the same fierce quest of enjoyment. It was no secret that Eugenieservedas a modelfor the beautifulHelene. lline concealment of pregnancy.." AugLust. Nana discovered that the best way to disparage Count Muffatwas to debase him "in the officialdignityof his costume. The effects of the crinolineon French society earned a diatribein the senate in 1865 by 80-yearold Andr6Dupin.. The crinoline served as a distinct register of a social level devoted to parading economic power and prestige.. ly on the empress? It is difficult say.-------- : "...3 Dupin's tirade proved too strong to be printed in Le Moniteur. and ' =to .. . _ . pamphletwith a slightlytoneddown version sold brisklyat 2000 per day.. 1870.." outfit forcinghim to jump and spit.. ^I K 1 . satirizing the moresof the time. the eagles.. ~Anecdotes ^ i ' ~. ' ous fictional courtesan of the Second Empire.." "The n grav February 7._ .... Henri Meilhacand LudovicHalevyburlesqued Second Empiresocietyin a libretto to Jacques Offenbach's La Belle Helene. If Marie-Antoinettein her pannier could proclaim "Let them eat the cake.. The crinoalso purportedly promoted C-jfl _. ... 1994 WOMAN'S ARTJOURNALSPRING/SUMMER . it now rested on more overt symbols of wealth. and more specifical- who aped the baroque . and off a moneyed circle marking affluent enough to indulge in its excesses and all but preventing the workingclasses from enjoying its vogue. reformers contested that the crinoline caused a decline in the marriagerate due to the fear of .. fur-' nishings... engraving.. \ 1 . However.tion . 1: ik ^pa g. . 20. 8.. n111~ng9.:'. husband was a noto- k rious philanderer who openly flaunted his mistresses.

Flugel. 1862). By constantlyreducingher to a fashionplate she could thus be associatedwith the paper-dollfigureswith their vacuous poses and innocuous gestures. 1926). The Second Empire (Westport. Tricolora la Victoria.Worth: Fatherof HauteCouture(New York: Holmes & Meier. Ibid. 33.. 198. 5. 9. "Politics Petticoats." Punch(October25. 195.33. Gooch." Punch(November12. The transition occurred with Louis-Napoleon's foreign policy decision to assist Piedmontese minister Camille Cavour in forcing the Austriansout of northernItalyin 1859. 16. 1870).A Historyof Punch(London: Collins.247. 24. Comtesse Louise de Mercy-Argenteau. J. 18.and foundthe comparison and textual constructionof Eugenie and her associationwith the crinolinedemonstratea campaign waged againstentrenchedpriviof to lege.233.and knew as much about precious stonesas an old Jewishcourtier. The seeming innocuousness of the marginalized realm of fashiondiscourseactuallyreinforced the strategy to malign the empress. 77.Freedom the Press-L'Association Mensuelleof vs. Second Empire republicansrememberedher better as MadameDeficit. "Herculesand Omphale. Her father.and Diane Sarachman Temple University their editorial Del Ramers TylerSchoolof Artfortheirassistance reproductions. Eugenie (1826-1920) came from an aristocratic lineage. 30.1956).. Princess Mathilde (New York: Scribner's. Barker. See Nancy Nichols Barker. 34. with her odious.Notespour servira l'Histoirede la guerrede 1870 P.77. 14.48. 25. 1861). 167. The imperialcouple was spared.1957).when she assumedthe regencyfor the third Prussian and finaltime. 15. 12. Histoirede la crinolineau tempspasse (Paris: A.and decorativeaspectsof dress underminedher status as a competent regent and political adviser. Albertde la Fiziere. 3. The Last Love of an Emperor(New York:Doubleday. The constant attentionto her as a dictatorof stylewent beyondthe notionof her as a mere trendsetter uncoveredsignificant and information regarding her political and cultural status in Second Empire society." and Punch(January 1860). Barker. Ibid. "TheWayof the ImperialWind. DistaffDiplomacy.37. DistaffDiplomacy. "Adieu the Empress. Union Jacka la Eugenie. Her motherhad served as camerera mayor to Queen Isabella and Eugenie as maid of honor. See "Apesof the Boudoir. Barker. association contingent. as Eugenie may have idolized Marie-Antoinette the foreignqueen who intervenedheroically Frenchpoliticsand set a high tone of in fashion that was the envy of Europe.Nana (New York:Modem Library.36. Partypamphleteersdelightedin her wastrelwith an immoderate love of fine portraying as a frivolous clothes and an insatiableappetite for luxury. 7. 175. 464.Philadelphia. "Mother PetticoatPaean.Page.: Greenwood.94.1976). francais?" 21. I NOTES I thankGretchen Slykeof the University Vermont Barbara of van of and Day for and comments. Joanna Richardson. DistaffDiplomacy. 79. n.1960).1859)." Punch(November1.ThePsychology Clothes(London:Hogarth. AlfredDarimon. Maximedu Camp with anti-Semitism his recollection: "I in combined antifeminism don't believe she ever had a seriousidea about anything. See Diane De Marly.provideda symbolicvocabulary that offered visual and verbal codes by which to critiquethe empress from a varietyof politicaland social viewpointsduringa period of strictcontrolof the press. however.but 200 spectators died or were woundedin the attempt. 29. 26. Worth simplifiedhis dress line with the empress'sapproval:thefete imperialwas over. Eugenie'srole as an arbiterof fashionmust be seen in the context of her role as a generatorof value and meaning. 1977). G.105.1952). Quoted in G. 37. 20. Barker. "TheFaintof Fashion.83. "Sketching Empress. AfterNapoleon'sdefeat at in Sadowain 1866 and the executionof Maximilian Mexicoin 1867. Pope's 23. Philippon Louis-Philippe 11. Price. 1969). and power in Second Empire France.1880). DistaffDiplomacy. "Fashionable Punch(October25. Henriette Vanier." to Punch(December22. P.was a grandeeof Spain with kinshipto great ducal families. "Parlez-vous Punch(October25. Therese Dolan is Associate Professor of Art History at Temple University. the attemptedto assassinate 14." an Punch(November5.My Memoires(London: Eveleigh Nash. The fashionsystemand the politicalsystemgeneratedsuch different sets of meaningsthat their strongassociation with one person were boundto collide. Punch(November9. Punch(January 1857). Italianrevolutionary. Frivoliteset luttes des classes1830-1870(Paris:Armand Colindate. 198. 28. Aubry. DistaffDiplomacy." 22.but she excelled with her dressmaker. class. of 35. DistaffDiplomacy. R. 6. 167.C. 1855). Conn. 36."Punch(February 1863). the empire was clearlyin decline. 27.47.La mode et ses metiers. 10. 1862). PrincessCarolineMurat.32. Eugenie'spoliticalinfluence. with the nationaland historicalillusionsand allusions they promoted.203-04. ironically. Michael and ArianeBatterbury. Barker. Ibid.39-40.96. See "FrenchShawlsfor 1855. 1862). It also speakspowerfully a displacement male angerfor woman'spowerat a time when an important emperorfailedto lead his countryadequately. 1860). G. 17. 28. 168.59.the count of Teba.Eug6niewas less so in the final years of the empire. never engaged in serious activity. 1870).42-43. Eugenie began to distance herself from foreign affairsin 1866 and intervened little in policy making until the outbreak of the FrancoWarin 1870. Barker. politicalidealsof an increasingly republican Fashion. 38. 236. 17. of with 1. Distaff Diplomacy: The Empress Eugenie and the of ForeignPolicyof the SecondEmpire(Austin:University Texas. 8. Never trulypopularin France.d. Fashion: The Mirrorof History (New York:GreenwichHouse. 1862). 0 . 19. The visual ornamented excesses. and a liberalphase from 1859 to 1870. 1990). especiallythe crinoline. Emile Zola."38 deliberate Her of construction an aestheticized and historicized self ultimatelyconflicted with the France. The image historyof Eugenie and the crinoline constituted a forceful statement about gender. 4.77. Althoughnot of royal birth.22. because of opposition to his Italianpolicy. 31. Felice Orsini. 2. See EdwinBechtel. Eugenie's identity on duringthe SecondEmpirewas constructed genderas well as on elements of socialstyle.1960). Eugenie's constant with the frivolous. 180-81.105. 13.Zolaunderstood well the powerof dressto conferstatusand signify classpowerduringthe imperialregime. Intelligence. The popularityof the crinolinewaned after 1865 and with it. thus aidingthe driveto unite Italyand threatening the pope'stemporalcontrolof Rome. (NewYork:Grolier Club. (Paris: Ollendorff. The SecondEmpirecan be dividedinto an authoritarian phaselasting from 1852 to 1859. emperoron his way to the opera on January 1858. 32. reached beyond consumerismand led to a critiqueof Eugenie'spoliticalideology. 191. 1910).)." Punch(June1854)."Punch(August25.the importance these aristocratic of associations of dress.