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French fashion

Fashion has been an important industry and cultural export of France since the seventeenth century, and modern "haute couture" originated in Paris in the 1860s. Today, Paris, along with London, Milan, and New York City, is considered one of the world's fashion capitals, and the city is home or headquarters to many of the premier fashion houses. Historically, many of the world's top designers and fashion houses have been French, including Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Louis Vuitton, Lanvin, Chlo, Herms, Guy Laroche, Yves Saint Laurent, and shoe designer Christian Louboutin.

History Seventeenth century

The association of France with fashion and style (French: la mode) dates largely to the reign of Louis XIV when the luxury goods industries in France came increasingly under royal control and the French royal court became, arguably, the arbiter of taste and style in Europe. The rise in prominence of French fashion was linked to the creation of the fashion press in the early 1670s (due in large part to Jean Donneau de Vis) which transformed the fashion industry by marketing designs to a broad public outside the French court and by popularizing notions such as the fashion "season" and changing styles.

Belle epoque
France renewed its dominance of the high fashion (French: couture or haute couture) industry in the years 1860-1960 through the establishing of the great couturier houses, the fashion press (Vogue was founded in 1892) and fashion shows. The first modern

Parisian couturier house is generally considered the work of the Englishman Charles Frederick Worth who dominated the industry from 1858-1895. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, the industry expanded through such Parisian fashion houses as the house of Jacques Doucet (founded in 1871), Jeanne Paquin (founded in 1891; she was the first woman to open her own fashion house), the Callot Soeurs (founded 1895 and operated by four sisters), Paul Poiret (founded in 1903), Madeleine Vionnet (founded in 1912), Chanel (founded by Coco Chanel, it first came to prominence in 1925), Elsa Schiaparelli (founded in 1927) and Balenciaga (founded by the Spaniard Cristobal Balenciaga in 1937).

World War II
Many fashion houses closed during occupation of Paris during World War II, including the Maison Vionnet and the Maison Chanel. Germany, meanwhile, was taking possession of over half of what France produced, including high fashion, and was also considering relocating French haute couture to the cities of Berlin and Vienna, neither of which had any significant tradition of fashion. The archives of the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture were seized, most consequentially the client list. Jews were excluded from the fashion industry. Due to the difficult times, the number of models in shows was limited to seventy-five, evening wear was shortened and day wear was much lighter, made using substitute materials whenever possible. From 1940 onward, no more than thirteen feet (four meters) of cloth was permitted to be used for a coat and a little over three feet (one meter) was all that allowed for a blouse. No belt could be over one and a half inches (four centimeters) wide. Among young men in the War Years the zazou suit became popular.

In spite of the fact that so many fashion houses closed down or moved away during the war, several new houses remained open, including Jacques Fath, Maggy Rouff, Marcel Rochas, Jeanne Lafaurie, Nina Ricci, and Madeleine Vramant. During the Occupation, the only true way for a woman to flaunt her extravagance and add to color to a drab outfit was to wear a hat. In this period, hats were often made of scraps of material that would have otherwise been thrown away, sometimes incorporating butter muslin, bits of paper, and wood shavings. Among the most innovative milliners of the time were Pauline Adam, Simone Naudet, Rose Valois, and Le Monnier.

Post-war fashion returned to prominence through Christian Dior's famous "New Look" in 1947: the collection contained dresses with tiny waists, majestic busts, and full skirts swelling out beneath small bodices, in a manner very similar to the style of the Belle poque. The extravagant use of fabric and the feminine elegance of the designs appealed greatly to a post-war clientle. Other important houses of the period included Pierre Balmain and Hubert de Givenchy (opened in 1952). The fashion magazine Elle was founded in 1945. In 1952, Coco Chanel herself returned to Paris In the 1960s, "high fashion" came under criticism from France's youth culture (including the y-ys) who turning increasing to London and to casual styles. In 1966, the designer Yves Saint Laurent broke with established high fashion norms by launching a prt--porter ("ready to wear") line and expanding French fashion into mass manufacturing and marketing (member houses of the Chambre Syndicale were forbidden to use even sewing machines). Further innovations were carried out by Paco Rabanne and Pierre Cardin. In post-1968 France, youth culture would continue to gravitate away from the "sociopolitically suspect" luxury clothing

industry, preferring instead a more "hippy" look (termed baba cool in French). With a greater focus on marketing and manufacturing, new trends were established by Sonia Rykiel, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana, Jean-Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix in the 1970s and 80s. The 1990s saw a conglomeration of many French couture houses under luxury giants and multinationals. Since the 1960s, France's fashion industry has come under increasing competition from London, New York, Milan and Tokyo. Nevertheless, many foreign designers still seek to make their careers in France: Karl Lagerfeld (German) at Chanel, John Galliano (British) at Dior, Paulo Melim Andersson (Swedish) at Chloe, Stefano Pilati (Italian) at Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs American at Louis Vuitton, Kenzo Takada (Japan) and Alexander McQueen (English) at Givenchy (until 2001).

Legal status
The expression Haute couture is, in France, a legally protected name, guaranteeing certain quality standards. French couture is regulated by an industry governing body, the Fdration franaise de la couture, du prt--porter des couturiers et des crateurs de mode created in 1973, which itself consists of the Chambre Syndicale de la mode masculine (men's fashion), the Chambre syndicale du prt--porter des couturiers et des crateurs de mode (ready-to-wear) and the Chambre syndicale de la haute couture (high fashion), the latter having been created in 1868. The Federation also has a fashion school, the Ecole de la chambre syndicale de la couture parisienne (created in 1928).

Fashion weeks
The Paris Fashion week takes place twice a year after the London Fashion Week and before Milan Fashion Week. Dates are

determined by the French Fashion Federation. Currently, the Fashion Week is held in the Carrousel du Louvre.

Since the seventeenth century, the headquarters for fashion houses have been traditionally situated in the quarter around the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor. Since the 1980s, the Avenue Montaigne has, to some extent, overtaken the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honor in high fashion as well as accessories. Other areas, such as Le Marais, a traditional Jewish quarter, have also included the clothing industry.

French Influence on Early C19th Fashion Bonaparte's Influence on Fashion 1804

Napoleon Bonaparte was crowned Emperor in 1804 and was keen to make France a leader of fashion and innovator of design and craft skills. During the French Revolution the French textile industry had suffered and unlike in England, use of textile machinery had been non existent. Emperor Napoleon stopped the import of English textiles and he revived the Valenciennes lace industry so that fine fabrics like tulle and batiste could be made there. To make women buy more material he forbade them to wear the same dress more than once to court. Ladies dresses had extra fabric gathered into the back and trains were seen again for evening. Bonaparte also had fireplaces at the Tuileries blocked up so that ladies would wear more clothing.

Bonaparte was following a long tradition of promoting the French economy through fashion. Empress Josephine was a great fashion leader. She was an ideal model for the slender fashions of the day. Many of her Regency fashion dresses were designed by Leroy. Bonaparte did not ignore men's rle in the revival of the textile economy and he enforced male military officials to wear white satin breeches on formal occasions. Above Left - Josephine in Full Regalia. Right - Post French Revolution simplified dress - Full skirt raised waist Empire dresses from the late 1790s. Louis XIV promoted fashion in an earlier era he sent fashion dolls to European courts.

The Empire Dress Style 1800

The high waisted graceful styles of early 19th century are known as the Empire style. The Empire dress which evolved in the late 1790s began as a chemise shift gathered under the breasts and at the neck. By 1799 the empire line silhouette shown left was well established and is the line we associate with dress of the early 1800s. The costume history plate of 1800 shown right, is a good example of how the fullness of the muslin shift dress was first drawn together under the bustline with a girdle. The volume in the skirt is still great and bears a relationship with fuller skirts of the 1790s shown above. Named after The First Empire, by 1800 the gown silhouette had a very dcollet low square neckline as seen right, a short

narrow backed bodice attached to a separate skirt. Left - Dress of 1799 Le Journal Des Dames et Des Modes 1799 Frequently the small neat puff sleeves barely capped the shoulder. They were pulled back by the narrow cut of the bodice and this restricted arm movement to a certain daintiness.

The Chemisette
Regency dress in the period 1800-1820 was based on classical principles of flowing Grecian robes. For modesty until 1810 a tucker or simple chemisette (a side opening half blouse) filled the bare neckline by day. Right - Chemisettes like these with side fastenings were worn under low necked gowns as a modesty filler. The lady of 1799 at the turn of the 19th century wears a chemisette and her coiffure (hair) is bound by a fichu cap. From Les Journal Des Dames et Des Modes 1799.

Underwear of 1800
The soft muslin dresses of 1800 clung to the body highlighting the natural body outline so stays were unpopular unless the figure demanded them. These Empire fashions at the turn of the century were often little more than sheer nightgowns. The practical solution to the discomfort of lighter clothing was to simply adopt the warm undergarment called pantaloons and already worn by men.

Flesh Toned Pantaloons


The pantaloons were made of light stockinet in a flesh toned nude colour and reached all the way to the ankles or to just below the knee. This is why Empire women often appear to be wearing no underwear when seen in paintings of the era. The flesh tone pantaloons acted in just the same way under clothes as they do today when a woman wears a flesh toned bra and briefs under white or pastel trousers and top. . Later it became fashionable to wear a white or pastel slippery silk satin slip over the stays making the dress silhouette quite smooth. To support extra skirt fullness a small bustle pad lifted the dress back.

Fabrics for the Empire Line Dress

The fabric for Empire line dresses was usually fine white lawn, muslin or batiste. Although muslins were less costly than silks, good white work embroidered lawn fabrics still cost money. Muslin also laundered better than silks, but the white muslins still needed a great deal of attention to keep them looking pristine clean. Regular wearing of white gowns was a sign of social status as white soiled so easily. White gowns generally were kept for evening and in the day pastel or coloured robes were thought more suitable.

In winter heavier velvets, cottons, linens, fine wools and silks were used and sometimes extra warmth came from flannel petticoats or full under slip dresses.

Decoration That Helps Identify and Date Dresses 18001825

The classical decoration was inspired by images of Grecian ladies from original Greek art. To help you date costumes in prints, paintings and productions it is useful to understand that the classical line was debased by other types of decoration dependant on fashion influences. For example Napoleon's expeditions to the east and items brought back by him and other soldiers created interest in Egyptian ornamentation.

Classical Grecian Decoration on Dress 1800-1803

Between 1800 and 1803 classical ornament used geometric shapes. Greek key patterns decorated borders and garment hems, sleeve bands and shawls. All the embroidery was initially delicate and light, faithfully following the classical influence, but eventually the embroidery became coarsely executed.

Egyptian Ornament on Classical Dress 1804-1807

One of the problems of such simple classical silhouettes was their very simplicity. This soon led to boredom and decorative innovation as the restraint of staying pure to plain classical robes was too much for some. Between 1804 and 1807 the classical robes developed an eastern exotic feel with Etruscan and Egyptian decoration with

woven or embroidered borders on fabric lengths and on stoles. The eastern patterns first appeared from gifts Napoleon gave to his Empress Josephine after his visits to Egypt. Soon everyone copied the items. Empress Josephine was an icon and fashion leader of her time. This empire line muslin gown shown right and from 1807 has an appropriate border. The border is emphasised on the coordinating shawl, complete with tassels.

European and Military Influence in Decoration 1808

A la Mameluke Sleeves After 1808 Spanish ornament featured on robes and appeared as slashed areas and tiered sleeves. When sleeves covered the hand they were called la mamelouk. Image examples here illustrate this extra long sleeve length.The Napoleonic Wars meant that a soldier's uniform had high visibility and military style details featured on clothing for both sexes. Frogging, braids, cords, velvet and other trims lent a topical jaunty dashing air to many a garment, especially outdoor wear.Peasant influence from European dress was particularly applied to the name of coats, cloaks and mantles such as the Witzchoura redingote an empire cloak of Russian origin. The most usual coat in the Regency era was the Pelisse coat.


The Pelisse 1800-1850

The Pelisse can be a confusing term because there were several forms over a 50 year period. The first form of pelisse worn from 1800 to 1810 was an empire line coat like garment to the hip or knee. After 1810 it was worn full length and was a warmer longer sleeved coat than the Spencer, but often made of the same materials. It was usually fur trimmed, straight in cut, belted at a high waist like the gown and sported a broad cape like collar an influence of military styles. The colours for pelisses were golden brown, dark green and blue. The Pelisse was normally worn over pale gowns which were visible as it was worn open at the front. From 1818 onwards women wore a coat dress variation called a pelisse-robe. It could be suitable for indoors or outdoors and was essentially a sturdy front fastening carriage, walking or day dress.


The Gothic Influence 1811

By 1811 in Britain, influence of the Middle Ages, termed Gothic crept into dress styles debasing the pure classical lines. The bodice gained more shaping and could be panelled. It was not cut as tight and narrow as in the first decade of the century, so it made the shoulder line broader and the dress more comfortable to wear. The flowing medieval touches soon broadened to include Tudor and Elizabethan times with ruffed and Vandyke triangular pointed decoration and cross over bodices. In England copious trimmings on skirts were all the rage from flounces and padded rolls to pleated, fanned and tucked trims. Left - Elaborate mock Tudorbethan touches, sleeves, slashes and Vandyke point hems. Embellishment was according to the latest fashion which sometimes took its own course due to the hostilities between France and Britain. By 1820 the dress had lost all classical form and took on a pure Gothic line which lasted until Queen Victoria's accession.

Variations in Fashion Between France and England 1808-1814

In wartime between 1808 and 1814 the female waistline lengthened in England. English ladies really had little idea of what was happening to Paris fashion.

Skirt Style 1815

When visitors from Britain returned to France after the 1814 peace treaty they were amazed that fashions were so different.

In Paris waists were worn very much higher than in those of Regency England and skirt hems were wider, more A-line, padded and decorated.British fashion soon followed the French lead after the French ridiculed the English dresses in cartoons making them appear very ugly with bulbous tulip round waisted skirts and solid corsetry. fig- Shorter flared styles of 1813 Pelisse Coat and Regency Dress 1814 (Ackermann's Repository).

Rise and Fall of the Waistline 1815-1825

In 1815 with the Napoleonic wars over, Britain began to follow French fashion trends for wearing a high waistline. The waistline reached its peak height in 1816-17 when the line fell directly under the breasts. Almost as soon as the waist had risen, 1818 fashion plates began to show the waistline dropping and tightening. It continued to drop annually by an inch, until by 1825 it was at last in its normal position.

Skirt Styles, 1818, 1819, 1822


Left - Regency Gown - Iris blue dress 1818.Centre - Regency Gown - Blue semi opaque sleeved dress 1819.Right - Regency Dress - Sea green gown 1822.


French designer had to follow the whims of his clients and drop the dress waists and widen the skirts. It seems that French ladies soon preferred the English style. Anglomania began to sweep France. After 1820 as the neat slim waist emerged, corsets were worn again by all women. The narrower buckle belted day waist or sash wrapped evening waist was balanced by widening skirts which were often horsehair padded and frilled to make them stand away from the legs. By 1824-5 the wider skirts were balanced by a wider shoulder line with a leg of lamb sleeve often known as a gigot sleeve as seen in the central pink dress.


This had begun as a short sleeve which had been covered over by a transparent or semi opaque sleeve as the pastel pink evening dress shows, and eventually such sheer sleeves became a solid fabric. The semi opaque sleeve was the forerunner of all manner of fancy sleeve styles setting the scene for more romantic dress styles of the 1830s. Above Right - Green dress 1825 showing how the waist is at last at its natural position.

Earl Spencer and the Short Spencer Jacket 1795

The Spencer was a short top coat without tails worn by men during the 1790s as an extra covering over the tailed coat. It had long sleeves and was frequently decorated with military frogging. Its originator is thought to be Earl Spencer who singed the tails of his coat when standing beside a fire. He then had the tails trimmed off and started a fashion. A female version was soon adopted by gentlewomen who at the time were wearing the thin light muslin dresses of the 1790s. The Spencer was worn as a cardigan or shrug is worn today. It

was a short form of jacket to just above waist level cut on identical lines to the dress. Right - A Lady Wearing a Spencer to read. A Spencer was perfect to keep chills away.Left - A very cropped short high waisted Regency Spencer of 1817.

Regency Spencers
The Spencer was worn both indoors and outdoors and for eveningwear and was made of silk or a wool material known as kerseymere. When it was worn as an indoor evening Spencer it was called a canezou. Spencers stayed in fashion for about 20 years whilst the waistline remained high. This lemon Regency Spencer is from a fashion plate of 1818. This Spencer also has Gothic and military overtones with its decorative work. Areas of Spencers back and front were decorated with braids and cording. Italian quilting was popular as it created a raised surface pattern. When the waist slowly began its drop on dresses so did the waist of the Spencer as in this illustration of the cerise Spencer circa 1820.

Military Touches
As the fashion for military touches persisted, many Pelisses and Spencers were covered in decorative braids, tassels, frogging and cords, as a result their wearers looked like members of the Hussars. In time, a short jacket similar to a decorated Spencer was called a Hussar jacket.

The Redingote 1818


The Redingote was worn from 1818 onwards initially indoors in cold weather, worn open whilst revealing the dress beneath. Its name derives from the 18th century version of a riding coat. It was used in place of a loose cloak and as it developed a series of shoulder capes it became very suitable for travel. As dresses widened so the Redingote widened. Redingotes were usually trimmed with fur and mostly made of heavy dark cloth.

1800-1825 is it Late Georgian, Regency or Both?

The period 1800-1837 is part of the Georgian era. George III, insane after 1811, lived on until 1820. His son the Prince Regent, George, already a cause celebre acted as Regent for nine years of the King's madness and then reigned himself from 18201830. Because of the influence of the Georgian Prince Regent, this is known as The Regency Period, or the Regency fashion era. Because of some overlap due to the acknowledged prominence of the Prince in court consider the Regency era to being in 1807

The Peak of the Romantic Era 1825-1835

The neo-Gothic influence in fashion history dress fashions was at its peak during the Romantic Era between 1825 and 1835. The romantic spirit in fashionable dress lasted until the late 1840s.

After the Napoleonic wars became a memory, French fashion was dominated by a new wave of Anglomania. The British writings of Sir Walter Scott and Lord Byron helped popularise a thirst for a more


romantic image. There was a snobbish attraction on the continent for all things English, cultivated and refined. Many of the attitudes toward the 'Art Of Dress' had been codified by Beau Brummell in his relationship with the Prince Regent. The rules and refinements of manners set at that time were built on and developed by the middle classes of Europe who sought to gentrify themselves. Left - Picture of the overweight Prince Regent.

The Fashion Silhouette The Romantic Skirt Silhouette

Until 1820 dress waists had been round, but in 1828 the bodice waistline took on a V-pointed form. Even so it was the late 1830s before every lady sported the fashion for long pointed bodices. Evidence in museums suggests that real women were still wearing and making dresses with a slightly raised waistlines well into the 1830s despite the low waist illustrations of fashion plates.

Beret Sleeves
Beret sleeves were cut from a circle. There was an opening in the centre for the arm and this was gathered and bound into a band. The outer circle was gathered and set into the armhole. Sometimes a sheer oversleeve of silk embroidered shimmering gauze covered the beret puff. Generally the beret sleeve was worn for evening. The arms and dcolletage along with the highly desirable and visible sloped shoulders left some women feeling quite undressed and exposed. So gauze sleeves became very


fashionable by the mid 1820s and were worn until the sleeves subsided to new styles.

The Gigot or Gigot De Mouton Sleeve 1825-1833

The sleeves of the Romantic Era are the main feature and were built on an inverted triangle bodice. The bodice dcolletage was so exposed by the pull of the wide sleeves that it really showed off the chest, throat and the sloping shoulders.The full length gigot or leg of lamb sleeve or the gigot de mouton known as the leg of mutton sleeve, was first seen in 1824. The long sleeve pattern was cut on the true cross of the fabric. It was rounded at the top, increasing to greater size. Left - Romantic gigot sleeves C1826 After 1825 the decade saw sleeves billow to huge proportions by 1833. They came to typify the look we now associate with the costume of the Romantic Era.By the mid 1830s the enlarged top cap was sagging with its own enormity. There was so much material that the fullness initially held up with inner stiff buckram support or 'crin' horsehair fabric began to flop. The buckram was replaced with either whalebone hoops in a cotton cover or feather filled pads. When by 1835 the supports stopped being effective the sagged fabric volume collapsed down the arm and merged into a new sleeve fashion.

After 1836 a New Slim Sleeve

Over a few years after 1836 the Romantic sleeve fullness inevitably worked its way down the sleeve giving a much tighter top arm and more fullness at the elbow. Next the elbow fullness


dropped to the wrist and excess material was gathered into a rouleau or band creating a new sleeve shape. By 1840 early Victorian day sleeves could be quite slim fitting. By 1845 the shoulder line of dresses showed that a new fashion era was in the making. Tight sleeves were set into a low small armscye restricting women's arm movements and increasing the demure mannerisms we associate with Victorian women.

Large romantic wide hats, ornately trimmed with feathers, loops of ribbons and bows complemented the wide shoulder lines of the 1830s. For evening many married ladies liked to wear gauzy silk, satin and velvet exotic turbans or berets especially on one side of the head. The turbans they twisted up from scarves, but as a fashion they were dead by the 1840s. Bonnets were virtually interchangeable with hats, so little difference was seen between the types. Loose uncut ribbon ties were a feature of the bonnets and by 1828 both bonnets and hats were quite vast affairs. Coal scuttle bonnet styles with deep crowns accommodated the high Apollo knot coiffure and were a great feature of the Romantic Era.

Pelerine Collars 1830

Pelerine collars came in several variations. Their similarity was that each covered the very wide shoulders and could aid modesty. The first style was a fine white collar embroidered or lace trimmed and which looked like a cape. The pelerine grew wider as it spread over the increasing shoulder line of gigot sleeves. It accentuated the shoulder width and made the waist of


the 1830s look very small and was a popular feature of dress in the Romantic period. The width of the lace pelerine reached about 31 inches when at its widest fashion and the pelerines were sometimes attached to a chemisette which was a sleeveless side opened blouse fastened at the waist. Another name for this item was a tulle canezou.

Fichu Pelerine
In the second version if the lace pelerine had long front ends, it was called a fichu-pelerine. These ends could be crossed at the front waist and tied at the back waist. Another later mid 19th century variation was a fashionable long fronted little shoulder short backed cape mostly made of velvet or wool, trimmed with fur and worn as an outdoor garment.

The Wider Skirt Hemline 1820-1835

Skirts were a source of endless variation. Skirts were gored into panels between 1820 an 1828, so that width could be added to hemlines whilst keeping the waist clear of bulk. They were first stiffened with horsehair about 1815 and gradually padding adding was added. The padding backed the lower six inches of the skirt. Decoration of stuffed rouleau tubes, Italian quilting and flounces and frills were added to push out the skirt hem width in an architectural way. It also shortened the dress to reveal the ankle at the same time. Women's fashions took on a pert cheeky air. When all forms of decoration had been exhausted just the padded hems remained by about 1828. Gores disappeared at

the same time and from then on skirts were made from straight panels of dress material pleated and gathered to waistbands. The silhouette changed and lost its overall puffiness by 1835. The skirts began to get rounder and more bell like, setting the scene for the Victorian Era.

The Underwear
With the return of the waist women had to wear stays. Once again they returned to tight lacing to make the waist look narrow and pinched in to balance the wide skirts and wide shoulder line. Stays were made from cloth layers that had whalebone inserted in channels. Corsets were intended to emphasise the natural curves rather than create a false silhouette. Little gussets at the hips allowed for roundness rather than trying to flatten the line. Small shoulder straps were made detachable and the wearer could wear the stays with more revealing necklines. Over the stays women wore a chemise and a waist petticoat. As the skirt expanded the robust linen or cotton petticoats increased in number. They supported crisp firm silk or woollen materials and in summer or indoors cotton chintzes and muslins.

The Pelisse Robe and Pelisse Mantle 1818-1845

By 1831 the pelisse robe fashionable since 1818 was worn almost as a house dress. After 1848 this day coat-dress was called a redingote as fashion writers had called it for many years.As a dress the pelisse robe was supplanted by the pelisse mantle in the 1830s. Sleeves on the pelisse robe were too big to wear under coats so shawls and cloaks were more practical. The

pelisse mantle was the ideal answer during the Romantic Era. It was an interlined warm deep cloak and was the most used outer garment in chilly weather remaining fashionable until 1845. Left- Romantic Era white redingote 1826

Women's hair between 1825 an 1845 was elaborate and ingenious. The most modish hair fashion was the 'Apollo Knot', a striking style tending to lean to one side. Another lesser style was the 'Madonna' coiffure with the centre parted and built up with ringlets at crown and sides. Some even thought this style too elaborate, even when it was mostly worn for evening.

Apollo Knot Hairstyle so typical of the Romantic period.

There are many fashion plates and paintings that show both these styles because they were so typical of the age.

Dating Dresses in the Romantic Era

Compared to eras where the dating of dresses can be confusing the Romantic Era has quite definite periods of style variations that make it fairly easy to date garments to within a few years. Occasionally students confuse the period 1892-1896 fashions because of the similar fashion for leg of mutton sleeves. They are similar, but if you look really closely you will see they are not at all alike. As I have suggested elsewhere on the site always look at the hairstyles and headwear of the wearer of the garment. Hairstyles and hair ornamentation give a very definite feel of an era.


The frizzed and curled hairstyles of the Naughty Nineties are quite different from the demure centre hair partings, coiled Apollo top knots and ringlet loops of the Romantic Era.

Early Victorian Fashion Overview

This is an overview of fashion history of the early Victorian era and can be read in line with other related topics. Much fuller details of petticoats styles are given in Crinolines and Bustles. Movements like the Rational Dress Reform Society and the Aesthetic Dress Movement highlight positive and negative reactions to industrial and technical applications happening in Victorian society. In terms of Victorian fashion history this also brought changes in women's position and dress. You'll also find other relevant information in sections like Jewellery, Make up, Shopping in the Past, Chambre Syndicale, What's in a Name as well as the social effects on Victorians, Victorian Recreations, A Woman's Place in the 19th Century, Victorian Homelife Changes, The Seaside and Fashion Dolls.

Dating Victorian Costume

Queen Victoria reigned from 1837 to 1901 and was succeeded by her 60 year old son Edward the Prince of Wales. At the start of the Victorian era most fashions lasted about a decade, but mass communications and mass production both improved so much that by 1901 the history of fashion was moving in a yearly cycle. Illustrations of Victorian clothes of the last 20 years of the C19th can be dated to within a year or two. Looking at the section on Crinolines, Bustles and S Bends Corsets would help those new to costume to understand the subtle changes in dress and hairstyles and how to spot the changes from a fashion history

point of view. For theatrical and re-enactment work there are clear distinctions in dress in every Victorian decade.

The Early Victorian Silhouette 1837-56

The look of demure prim gentility was emphasized by the loss of the great hats in 1835 for bonnets. Great hats had given a flirtatious air to clothes and their replacement by bonnets changed the whole character of day dresses. Lavishly trimmed bonnets stayed in fashion for half a century and weren't worn much after 1890. In 1836 Gigot sleeves collapsed abruptly and so costume began to develop the sentimental 'early Victorian look' we associate with Queen Victoria's early rule. Prim sentimentality was emphasized by the popular ringlet hairstyle. Left - The early sentimental Victorian look often used to depict ladies of the era, c1838 By 1840 the collapsed sleeve was much narrower, but still retained a restrictive seam line on the dropped shoulder. The early Victorian tight fitting pointed bodice was much longer and had a very small tight fitting waist. All the boned bodice seam lines and trims were directional to emphasize the small waists. The boning also helped stop the bodice from horizontal creasing. Right - Slimmer fitting sleeves of plainer, more streamlined early Victorian dresses of 1838. By 1845 the boned bodice was even more elongated into a V shape and the shoulder sleeve seam line drooped even more. This meant that an early Victorian woman's arm movements were restricted. The limited range of arm

movements increased the appearance of demure vulnerability and helplessness we so often associate with Victorian femme fatales. Softer more demure plain colours and small delicate dimity patterns helped to add a neat ladylike quality to gowns. A Victorian woman could also emphasize modesty by wearing freshly laundered detachable white collars and false undersleeves called engageantes. Both were often made of delicate whitework and gave an air of refinement and daintiness. After being absent for a decade the cashmere shawl was brought back into fashion about 1840. Because the new version was larger it acted as an outer wrap and when folded in half and draped over the shoulders would reach almost to ground level in some cases. Cartridge pleats were used at first to draw up the skirt fabric in 1841, but after 1846 flat pleating the fabric gave more overall hemline width. To make the skirts appear wider, extra flounces were added in the early 1840s to evening dresses and by 1845, flounces and short overskirts were a regular feature of day dresses. As bell shaped skirts of the 1830s became wider and they began to also look dome shaped. By 1842 they needed a great deal of support from extra petticoats. The wider skirts were supported by stiffened fabrics like linen which used horsehair in the weave. 'Crin' is French for horsehair so the word crinoline suggesting a crin lining was used for any garment area that was stiffened to give shaped foundation. Strip hem linings and a sleeve head are just two examples where crin was used. Later by 1850 the word crinoline began to mean the whole of the beehive shaped


skirt. It was then only another step to call the later artificial or cage hooped support frame petticoats after 1856, crinolines. The cut of the low shoulder line filled in to the neckline by day followed through to evening dresses. Evening dresses totally exposed a woman's shoulders in a style called the 'bertha'. Sometimes the bertha neckline was trimmed over with a 3 to 6 inch deep lace flounce or the bodice neckline was draped with several horizontal bands of fabric pleats. Right - Typical domed appearance of petticoat supported Victorian crinoline dress and child's confirmation dress of 1851.

Lace bertha neckline 1856 very usual on early Victorian evening dress.
All this exposure was restricted to the upper and middle classes. Victorian working class women would never have revealed so much flesh. The dcollet style meant that the shawl became an essential feature of dresses. In the early Victorian years time corsets also lost their shoulder straps and a fashion for producing two bodices, with a closed dcolletage for day and a dcollet one for evening. Using a separate bodice to skirts meant that a tighter waist could be achieved. This fashion for two piece costumes, but known as a dress lasted until about 1908. Six petticoats at least were needed to hold the wide skirts out. The cotton, flannel or wool petticoats used under one skirt could weigh as much as 14 pounds, so clothes were uncomfortably hot and heavy in summer. Another American W .S Thompson took out a patent on a cage frame in 1856 and then marketed a steel frame cage crinoline

throughout Europe. It freed women from excessive petticoat weight, although a top petticoat give a softer foundation for the dress skirt. It let women's legs move freely beneath, but it could be unstable in gusts of wind, so it was fortunate that women had universally adopted the wearing of drawers some years before. Petticoats were always cut following the line of the top garment. Skirts among all classes began to look rounded, like gigantic domed beehives and soon they reached maximum size. Freed from excess petticoat weight women began to gain a jaunty spring in their step. Within a few years the crinoline was improved when it became articulated and various modifications such as subtle flattening of the front created a less domed more pyramid effect by 1860.

To balance the effect of the cage crinoline, sleeves were like large bells too and sometimes had open splits allowing for lavish decorative sleeve hemlines and detachable false undersleeves called engageantes. Engageantes were often made from fine lace, linen, lawn, cambric or Broderie Anglaise and were easy to remove, launder and re-stitch into position. Right - Engageantes - false detachable undersleeves. It is these distinctively styled sleeves that help date the first softer polonaise bustle when looking at illustrations. Charles Worth was responsible for many interesting sleeve styles of the mid-Victorian era.

William Perkin Discovers Coal Tar Aniline Dyes 1856

In 1856 William Perkin did some experiments and discovered Mauveine an extract from coal tar. Mauveine was a bright

purple dye synthesized under laboratory conditions and it revolutionized the textile industry. Perkin made a fortune from his discovery of aniline dyes. Other dye colours such as magenta and brilliant blue were soon on the market and in 1856 the Frenchman Verguin discovered fuchsine. When the dyes were used on silk the colours sang with vibrancy, but could also be garish when seen next to naturally dyed fabrics. Brighter fashion colours were soon in use, but there were some like the Aesthetics who reacted against the brasher tones.

Charles Worth Redefines Haute Couture in 1858

In 1857 the Englishman Charles Worth set up a Paris fashion house at 7 Rue de la Paix a then unfashionable Paris district. In 1858 he made a collection of clothes that were unsolicited designs. He showed the clothes on live models and when people bought his original designs he became a leading fashion design couturier of the Victorian era. Until that time fashion details and changes were suggested by the customers. The House of Worth became a leader of ideas for the next 30 years. Haute Couture during the Victorian period was an ideal foil for conspicuous consumption. Fragile gauze dresses decorated with flowers and ribbons that were made for wealthy young women were only intended to be worn for one or two evenings and then cast aside as they soiled and crushed so easily. Silk flowers, froths of tulle and pleated gauze trims would have emphasised the innocence of virginal girls whilst signalling their availability on the marriage market. Such conspicuous waste and conspicuous consumption were hallmarks of Victorian high living.


Older, married more senior women wore statelier fabrics like heavy satins, crisp silks and plush velvet. It was thought good etiquette to dress according to one's position in society and that also meant not wearing clothes more suited to a younger woman. When researching fashion history it is important to remember that ordinary women were dressed in a much more subdued manner. Many would mainly wear occupational dress or household serving uniform.

The Mid Victorian Silhouette 1860-1880 Factors Affecting the Fashion Silhouette after 1860
We arrive at 1860 with four significant facts that were to seriously affect fashion of the future. Firstly the sewing machine had been invented, secondly clothes would in future become couture design led, thirdly synthetic dyes would make available intense colours. Fourthly in 1860 the crinoline domed skirt silhouette had a flattened front and began to show a dramatic leaning toward the garment back. Charles Worth thought the crinoline skirt unattractive. However, he is associated with it, as he did manipulate the style, as a result the shape soon changed to a new trained, softer bustled version, which only the really rich found practical. Right - Dress designed by Charles F. Worth for Empress Elizabeth of Austria and painted by Winterhalter in 1865. In 1864 Worth designed an overskirt which could be lifted and buttoned up by tabs. This top skirt gave a lot of scope for added ornamentation and by 1868 it was being drawn and looped right up at the back creating drapery and fullness.

The New Princess Line 1866

In 1866 the new Princess gown also changed the line of fashionable dress. The Princess gown was cut in one piece and consisted of a number of joined panels fitted and gored from shoulder to hem that gave the figure shape through seaming. The Gabriel Princess gown with a small neat white collar was mainly made in grey silk and followed the fuller skirt lines of the era. This is the dress style often used to depict the constrained buttoned up repressed governess character of Jane Eyre in films. Later Princess styles were slimmer and much more form fitting. Sleeves in day dresses were often of a banana shape.

The Soft Bustle Fashion Silhouette 1867-1875

By 1867 with the fullness bunched up to the back of the skirt creating a polonaise style, crinolines and cages suddenly disappeared evolving into tournures or bustles. The bustles supported accentuated drapes on the hips. Left - Women in the Garden by Claude Monet 1866-7. The Louvre Paris. After 1868 Worth's overskirt really caught on in England and contrasting underskirts and gown linings were all revealed as the over top skirt was divided or turned back. Other top skirts were called aprons and they were also draped making the wearer look like a piece of elaborate upholstery. Rounder waistlines were fashionable and waistlines even began to rise very slightly. On the left a tiered soft bustle ball gown of 1872. Right - Apron style tablier top layer half skirt over bustle.

From 1870, ball gowns always had a train. Soon by 1873 the train was seen in day dress. By 1875 soft polonaise bustle styles were becoming so extreme that the soft fullness began to drop down the back of the garment and form itself into a tiered, draped and frilled train. Trains were very heavily ornamented with frills, pleats, ruffles, braids and fringing. The sewing machine instead of simplifying sewing, just became a tool to add more ostentation. Left - Painting 'Too Early' by James Tissot 1873 - Guildhall Art Gallery UK. The other main feature of the style change was the introduction of the cuirasse bodice which dipped front and back extending a little over the hips. By 1880 the soft bustle styles of the 1870s had totally disappeared.

The Late Victorian Silhouette 1878-1901

By 1878, women of the late Victorian era have a very different look about them compared to earlier Victorian women.

The Princess Line and the Cuirasse Bodice

The soft polonaise style bustle styles were replaced by Princess sheath garments without a waist seam with bodice and skirt cut in one. The Princess line sheath had a bodice line similar to the very tight fitting cuirasse bodices which had been getting longer and longer. Right - Slim fitting trained dress with cuirasse bodice 1876. By 1878 the cuirasse bodice reached the thighs.

By 1878 the cuirasse bodices had reached the thighs. The cuirasse bodice was corset like and dipped even deeper both front and back extending well down the hips creating the look of a body encased in armour. By 1880 the two ideas merged and the whole of the dress was in Princess line style with shoulder to hem panels. The silhouette was slim and elongated even more by the train. No bustle was needed for the cuirasse bodice or Princess sheath dress, but a small pad would have helped any trained fabric to fall well. Left - The cuirasse bodice of 1880 reached the hem actually becoming the princess panel dress. It made an exceptionally form fitting draped sheath dress which was elongated even further by the train. The slimline style needed good dressmaking skills to get a flattering fit. When done well it was attractive, but all too often swathes of fabric were wrapped and arranged across the garment in an effort to disguise poor dressmaking skills. It was not a very practical garment and only really suited to the very slim and those who did not have to work. As a fashion it barely lasted 3 years.

The New Hard Bustle of 1883

Suddenly out of nowhere in 1883 a new jutting out shelf like style of bustle appeared. It had been shown in Paris in 1880, but as a fashion took off later outside of Paris. It reappeared even larger than ever as a hard shape that gave women a silhouette like the hind legs of a horse as shown in the page heading. Right - The second hard bustle style 1883.


The new bustle dress had a different look. It had minimal drapery compared to the former and a slimmer more fitted severely tailored princess bodice, with a much flatter front. What drapery there was, was tidily arranged at the front of the dress as a small apron. Soon even that disappeared. For support the spring pivoted metal band Langtry bustle gave the correct foundation for the wider skirts. See Crinolines and Bustles.

Right -La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat 1884-6. Art Institute Chicago. This later bustle fashion was very moulded to the body and the heavy corsetry gave an armour like rigidity to the silhouette. The pointed bodice began to look quite tailored. Tailored garments had been introduced in 1874 and their influence on design was subtle, but led eventually to the tailor made suit so fashionable in the 1890s. In 1887 the sleeves were still slimmer, plain and close fitting. The sleeves look like quite a different style than on the bustle dress of the 1870s which had sleeves that would not have looked out of place on dresses of 1860. By 1889 silhouette changes now couturier led were changing more rapidly and the sleeve developed a very slight leg of mutton outline which soon needed support. Right - Dress of 1889 showing signs of elevation at the sleeve head.

Victorian Fashion History - Power Dressing


It's interesting to note how late Victorian women embraced the sharper tailored jacket fashion which gave them a different posture with a more confident air reflecting the ideals of early female emancipation. Other military and more tailor made styles of jacket were also popular. Some dresses also had a more severe air about them. There are similarities in the period 1885 with 1985 when women also showed their strength in the corporate workplace with Power Dressing through more masculine tailored, shoulder padded clothes. A similar broad shoulder trend occurred in the Utility Clothing era of the 1940s when women did work usually thought of as men's work.

Bright Aniline Dyed Colours

The gowns of the 1880s were almost always made in two colours of material. Vivid colours such as deep red, peacock blue, bright apple green, royal blue, purple, mandarin, sea green were used alone, in combination, or in tartan fabrics. Some colour combinations were very strange. At night ladies evening dresses were in softer hues and although they were extravagantly trimmed in contrast fabrics and very dcollet, they followed the general line of fashion.

Gradually the skirt widened and flared as the fullness of the bustle began to fall into pleats down the garment back eventually disappearing to nothing. As before the bustle foundation softened until only a small pad was left by 1893. The armour like hour glass figure


soon developed into the S-Bend shape corset which set the Edwardian Corsetry silhouette until 1907-8. Left - Evening gown with train 1890.

Leg of Mutton Sleeves

The leg of mutton sleeves continued to develop and sprouted high above the shoulders, By 1895 the sleeves swelled into enormous puffs similar to those of 1833. As happened in 1830 to balance the huge shoulders the skirt widened and flared, whilst keeping the waist tight and handspan narrow. Queen Victoria's influence over fashion was long gone. people who were in mourning still followed court guidelines on mourning dress. The real royal influence in fashion was the wife of the Prince of Wales, Princess Alexandra. Together they set the tone for society and fashion in the last decade of the century in the 1890s and into their own reign of the Edwardian era from 1901 to 1910.

A variety of sleeve styles popular from about 1860 to 1885 in the mid Victorian period


Elaborate decoration was common and many sleeve style trends were set by Charles Worth. The invention of the sewing machine led to even more elaboration on dress.

Fashionable Victorian ladies sleeves

Sleeves from Victorian ladies dresses


Tinted Victorian Fashion Drawings of Mantelets.








Edwardian Fashion History La Belle poque Edwardian Fashion History

What is La Belle poque? Aspects of Edwardian fashion history are examined in the sections on the Society Hostess, The Edwardian Seamstress and Edwardian Corsetry. Here we give a general overview of the main popular styles in the period 1890-1914 by which time fashion moved in a yearly cycle. The French called the era from 1895 to 1914 La Belle poque. It was an epoch of beautiful clothes and the peak of luxury living for a select few - the very rich and the very privileged through birth. In retrospect we can see it is an era very separate from the 20th century despite belonging at its start. The attitudes and lifestyles of two decades were swept away by war and because the war was so atrocious a new socialism and sense of personal identity was born. The masses started to reject the concept of privilege as the reason for a better life. Clothes worn after 1915 could probably be worn today in certain circumstances, but clothes before then are more in tune with the elaborate clothes of 1770


and would only be seen today at a costumed event or as bridal wear.

The Silhouette after 1890

The bustle disappeared from day dresses and the new day skirt style was flared smoothly over the hips from a handspan waist and then gradually widened at the hemline. By 1895 the leg of mutton sleeves swelled to gigantic proportions and were also used on dcollet evening dresses. The size of the sleeves was highlighted by the comparison of the tiny sashed or belted waist against the simple gored skirt that flared out all round to balance the massive sleeve heads. Hostess beauties of the 1890s. Left - Mary Moore, right - Grace Palotta

Tailor Made Ready to Wear Costumes

The tailor made was called a costume or a suit and made of wool or serge. Middle and upper class women wore them with shirtwaist blouses. Looser less fitted versions of a simple suit had been available for informal wear since 1850. But the tailored suit as we know it was first introduced in the 1880s by the Houses of Redfern and Creed. Initially only the jacket was tailored and it was worn with a draped bustle skirt. By the 1890s and until 1910 the gored skirt also looked more tailored and matched the jacket style which followed the changing silhouette of the time. In the 1890s the tailored suit was thought both masculine and unladylike, a

description usually used for a fairly plain garment. Describing female clothes as masculine was intended to be derogatory.

Edwardian tailored suits ideal for travel.

The pink tailor made shown left here has a short bolero effect jacket. The second green jacket is a longer line jacket that continued in popularity, but became straighter and less waisted toward the end of the Edwardian era. Tailor mades were always described as ideal for travelling. Within a decade they became much more versatile with a distinction being made between the cloths used. Lighter cloths were used in tailor made outfits suitable for weddings and heavier tweeds and rougher serge used for everyday or country wear suits. Fashion history clearly shows that by 1900 tailored suits were firmly established. Women entering a changing, more commercial workplace found it a useful all purpose outfit. Men objected to the tailor made female suit as they saw it representing a challenge to their authority. Women seemed to be making a clear statement that they deserved and wanted more independence in the future.

The Gibson Girl

This particular image was a cartoon character drawn by the American artist Charles Dana Gibson. For twenty years between 1890 and 1910 he satirised society with his image of 'The New Woman' who was competitive, sporty and emancipated as well as beautiful. Right - The Gibson Girl.


Her clothes were fashionable in both America and Britain and set a fashion for skirts worn with embroidered blouses. Another Gibson look was a shirt collar worn with either a tie, floppy artist bow, tie neck cravat with stick pin bar brooch or crosscut ruffle jabot. Beautiful embellished ornate blouses took on a new importance and were worn by every class. Home dressmakers did their best to emulate the fussy couture blouses and they used fine pin tucks, fine embroidery, appliqu, insertions of lace, faggoting, pleats and lace trim to get good effects. Blouses are detailed in the section on the Edwardian Seamstress.

The Edwardian Silhouette 1900-1907

The fashionable hour glass silhouette belonged to the mature woman of ample curves and full bosom. The S-bend health corset described fully in the section on Edwardian Corsetry set the line for fashion conscious women until 1905. The corset was too tightly laced at the waist and so forced the hips back and the drooping monobosom was thrust forward in a pouter pigeon effect creating an S shape.

The S-Bend corset and pouter pigeon effect.

If you were wealthy like an Edwardian society hostess, cascades of lace and ultra feminine clothes were available as labour was plentiful and sweated. During this time it was still usual to make dresses in two pieces. The bodice was heavily boned and was almost like a mini corset itself worn over the S-bend corset.

A top bodice was usually mounted onto a lightly boned under bodice lining which fastened up with hooks and eyes very snugly. It acted as a stay garment giving extra stability, contour and directional shape beneath the delicate top fabric. By 1905 press fasteners were used in Britain to hold the bodice or blouse to a skirt, but America had dress fasteners as early as 1901. Above Left - Bodice pouched Edwardian day dresses At the front of the bodice, pouches of cascading lace or gathered fabric gave emphasis to the low bust line. The straight sleeves of the late 1890s developed into bloused effects gathered into wrist bands. Very deep high lace fabric collars that reached right under the chin elongated the neck. They were often kept in place with wire covered in silk that was twisted into a series of hooks and eyes from one piece of wire. Little wire or boning supports covered with buttonhole silk were sometimes dispersed every few inches of the collar to maintain the rigid effect. Right - High neck blouse 1906. High necks were usual by day, but by night exceptionally low sweetheart, square and round dcollet necklines allowed women to wear quantities of fine jewellery. No cleavage was visible as the bust was suppressed into a monobosom. The skirts were often gored and created an elongated trumpet bell shape like the gently opening head of a longiflorum lily. Modified versions were less extreme over the hips, simply flowing to more width at the hemline.


Right - The S-Bend Silhouette. The high collar, S bend corset, trained skirt and lavish hat all had an effect on the posture of an Edwardian lady and it gave her a certain swaying grandeur. Between 1906 an 1909 the silhouette began to show gradual changes and skirts lost fullness and the silhouette straightened. Feet showed again.

The Edwardian Silhouette 1908-1913

The waistline was raised until it was a column like empire line or Directoire after the styles designed by fashion designer Paul Poiret. So after 1907 fashion history looked toward a new fresh direction when a longer line corset became fashionable. The corset almost reaching the knees was intended to make the figure look slimmer. Poiret's ideas were controversial and were directed at younger women. To read more about the era of Orientalism and Paul Poiret's artist friends who put a stamp on the era go to Orientalism In Dress. One of THE social events of 1908 was the London Olympic Games. The new late Edwardian silhouette.

Paletots, Casaques and Mantelets

Women wore the shawl for many years, but gradually it was replaced by other outdoor items such as capes, wraps and jackets. The Casaque was a deep close fitting basque jacket that buttoned to the neck. A Paletot was a short jacket with set in sleeves and the Mantelet was a kind of half shawl. All the items


had allowed for the cut of the bustles and pads of the era and the garments ranged from high hip to three quarter length.

Edwardian Small Accessories Incredible Edwardian Hats

After the slimmer silhouette arrived, hats developed much wider brims. Lavish trims such as feathers often stuck out well beyond the brim. The hats were named Merry Widow hats after the popular operetta of the era.

Feathers were used excessively as decoration on hats and as boas. The fur skin of whole animals such as foxes and even two foxes were used as wraps about the shoulders. Aesthetes objected to the use of animal products. Right - Martial and Armand Creation depicting the perfectly groomed directoire styled woman of 1912. Note the incredible feather hat and lavish gold metal embroidery, velvet and fur trim on the oversized muff.

Washable kid gloves were always worn with outdoor garments both winter and summer. Fancy gloves were also made in suede and silk and covered with fine embroidery.



Parasols were still used as decorative accessories and in summer they dripped with lace and added to the overall fussy prettiness.

Handbags were not fashionable in the era, but small decorative delicate bags with a dainty strap that hung from the wrist were sometimes used. Ladies carried little money as goods were charged to accounts and only minimal make up was usual so none was carried.

Edwardian Motoring Outfits

Open cars still created dusty dirty atmospheres and country roads were often unmade. Loose topcoats in leather, or special motoring coats from Burberry or Aquascutum acted as protection from weather and cold. Oil smuts could be a problem so women wore thick face veils with their hats and even goggles.

French Revolution and Empire Periods

This time frame from 1789-1825 is actually several different subperiods. The first, 1789-1799, the period of The French Revolution, is a sharp transition period. The second 1800-1815 is the time of the French Consulate and Empire, and is a stable Neoclassical period. 1815-1825 is the late Neo-classical period that shows a gradual shift towards the Romantic style.

Dress in The French Revolution


Dress during this period goes through massive shift. Late 18th Century women's dress collapses from it's padded and puffed look to a thin, often translucent silhouette. As the French Revolution progressed, different women's styles were adopted that appeared to have reference to the revolutionary politics, social structure and philosophy of the time. In the early 1790's, for example, the "English" or man-tailored style was favored as it hinted towards the leanings of constitutional monarchy. There was a brief fashion for plain dresses in dark colors during the Terror of 1792, but when the Directory took over French fashion again went wild, trying out "Rousseauesque" fashions in "Greek", "Roman", "Sauvage" and "Otaheti" (Tahitian) styles.

Dress a'la Greque (Hoey) The Psudo-"Greek" look proved most popular and was adopted as the standard style in Europe in the late 1790's


Costume for a ball "a la sauvage", 1796. 2. "Greek" style dress, 1797. (Quicherat)

A dress of the male style in vogue between 1780-95. (Victoria and Albert Museum)

French fashion Plate of 1792 Max von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

While Men's Costume in the 1790's also becomes thinner in line, it separates it's style from women's dress by beginning to lose nearly all forms of surface decoration, lace and

bright color, as "irrational" and feminine effluvia. This change is slow, but it completely alters men's dress by the mid 19th Century into dull dark uniform dress. Other major changes include the adoption of trousers from the dress of sailors and the urban proletariat of the French Revolution, the passing of the fashions for wigs and hair powder, and the (very temporary) demise of the corset. The bonnet is invented as a hat that is meant to look like a Greek helmet, but it quickly is altered in style out of all resemblance to the original.

Bonnets from "Wiener Zeitschrift", Vienna, 1820 in Max von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

The Neoclassical Period 1800-1825

Probably due to post Revolutionary backlash against female influence in politics, later reinforced by the German Philosopher Schopenhauer (who promoted the view that men were supposed to be rational and women emotional), the sexual dichotomy in dress becomes more pronounced in this era, a trend which continues through the 19th Century. The direction of fashions towards Neo Classic dress for women, and increasingly drab utilitarian dress on men, continue in a steady manner in this very stylistically stable period.




Women's dress locks into a pattern of light colored muslin gowns, high waisted with little puffed sleeves, and psudo-Greek hairstyles, which achieved an apex at the coronation of the Emperor Napoleon in 1804. As the period proceeds, the originally simple lines of these gowns are increasingly decorated with ruffles and puffs, the skirts get puffed out with petticoats, the waist lowers and tightens with corsets, until by 1825 it is hard to see how the style worn was ever imagined to look Greek.

1822 Vienna from Max von Boehn's Das Beiwerk der Mode, 1928

Images from Fashion Plates 1790-1800


Fashions in Hamburg 1802 in Max von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

"Wiener Mode", Vienna, 1816 in Max von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

"Wiener Zeitschrift", Vienna, 1825 in Max von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

Men's dress also keeps on a fairly steady course towards

increasing dullness. Fashion magazines continue to push men's dress towards foppish extremes, but men who actually count in the fashionable world tend to push for plainer styles.

Beau Brummell, the leader of male sartorial fashion in England in this period was noted for wearing only black with a white shirt for formal evening wear, a marked departure from the style of the previous century. Tubular and fitted trousers also move from a radical fashion statement to everyday wear for most men of the upper classes. Men's clothing in this era becomes less and less adventurous in style. The few outlets for male fashion expression (boots, hats, collars and neckties) therefore go to extremes. Neck ties in this period were especially important. However, as with trying to create any other period style in the present, neckties require a leap of imagination & practical experimentation to get them to look like the images one sees in the past, even with genuine period instructions for tying available . Get a piece of light crisp cloth (muslin or taffeta will work best) about 70" x 10" in size. Then go to Regency Neckcloths or The art of tying the cravat Demonstrated and try following the wonderfully vague and confusing period instructions for tying it round your (or someone else's) neck. [A better photo of the styles is at neckclothitania]

Fashionable Frenchman of 1802 (Fresno)

English man of 1810 from Max von Boehn's Modes and Manners of the 19th Century

Men's dress of 1818. Suit of King Ludwig I, beginning of the 19th Century (Kohler)

Journal des Dames 1823 (Boehn)

Dress in 18th Century Europe till the French Revolution Style

The Rococo period was marked stylistically by the same convoluted detail and elaborate decoration which characterized the Baroque period immediately preceding it. But despite this similarity Rococo style had, at its center a radical difference.Where every aspect of the fine and decorative arts of the Baroque period had at its core an extreme solidity and heaviness, Rococo art , music and furniture had, as its basis, a lightness and fluidity which grew more pronounced as it progressed. Rococo forms in the decorative arts typically seem to float upwards in complex curvilinear patterns, defying both physical and emotional gravity.

The Dance by Lancret


Flowers, birds, and bows became dominant motifs in a style that highlighted a kind of idealized femininity. These forms were incorporated into all the visual arts, both fine and decorative, so that it is not surprising to find that shapes used in furniture are similar to the shapes used in costume.

Women's Dress
The 18th Century woman was the most free and well respected member of her sex in history of Western Civilization until the 20th Century. The advent of the Enlightenment had suddenly changed the rules of Western society from one where brute force constituted power to one where intelligence and reason were the admired and powerful traits. Since women had no trouble competing in this new way, for the better portion of the 18th Century women discretely ruled society and made advances in it, becoming authors, artists, doctors and business women. It is little wonder that the arts and philosophy of the time glorified women, and that the style most associated with the 18th Century, the Rococo, is replete with what psychologists call "feminine forms."

At the Opera, 1770's

The Cut of Women's Clothes 1700-1789


The style of Womens garments in the 18th Century reflect the improving status of women in society. While the early 18th Century was a rather simple limp garment composed of two lengths of fabric pinch pleated at the waist over the stays with wide soft sleeves sewn in, the mantua was gradually stiffened, decorated and expanded with hoops called panniers

(Kohler) until, by mid/century it had been stylized into the Robe de Francaise a doll-cake-like structure that insured that a woman took up three times as much space as a man and always presented an imposing and ultra feminine spectacle. After 1760, women began to expand vertically as well, raising their hair with pads and pomade to a height in the 1770's that only a man on stilts could hope to emulate.

French Hairdress of the 1770's from Stibbert


After 1780, a fashion for Rousseauesque naturalism took over

and women adopted more "natural" looking fashions which still took up a considerable amount of space, but emphasized the natural sexual characteristics of the female figure with padded busts and bottoms and riots of cascading hair under massive hats.

Ladies' Fashions of the reign of Louis XVI

A simple dress of striped poplin with a quilted petticoat. 1780-95.

1730-1740 from Color plates of original 18th Century costumes from Karl Kohler's "Kostumekunde"

Full Toilette under Louis XV from Plates of 18th Century French Women's Dress by Hoey


Men's Dress

Gentleman in the fashion of 1693, Young man of the bourgeoisie in 1710 (Quicherat) The Enlightenment caused a number of changes in mens values as well. Intelligence and wit were prized about physical prowess of any kind and the army became a profession only resorted to by the poorer, younger sons of the gentry. Military dress played less of a part in the fashion inspiration for mens clothes as a result, and womens dress, Asiatic dress, and Country clothing were turned to as sources of inspiration instead.

Court dress of 1750, Man in redingote 1729 (Quicherat) It should be noted that at this time period high fashion and everyday dress for the nobility became separated into two distinct entities, for example, a mid-18th Century English Duke might wear laces, gilt embroidery and velvets at a formal occasion yet

wear simple dark Quaker built clothes during the day, almost indistinguishable from what a middle class shopkeeper might wear. The Dominant style in the the early part of the century was with the formal mode of dress which gradually phased out, until in 1800, almost all that was left was the informal day dress. Throughout the century the two styles existed side-by-side, usually cut along the same lines and only distinguished by color, fabric and trimming

The Cut of Men's Clothes 1700-1789

The predominant cut in 1700 was full skirted but soft with strong vertical lines introduced with rows of buttons, long hanging cravats, and full-bottomed wigs.

Man of 1739 from 18th Century Color Plates As women began to adopt the full skirted pannier style, mens dress did likewise, expanding their skirts through the 1740's, till the trend reversed, and coat skirts softened again and were cut less fully. By 1760 coats were being cut away from the front, and vest were cut at hip length.


1760 formal dress The 1770s introduced the small standing band collar and small flat collar.

man of 1779-80 The 1780s are marked by shorter waistcoats, and fold over collars.

late 1780's man from a print in Tara's collection.

General Notes
The comparative stability and prosperity of this period, compared to the turmoil of the preceding two centuries meant that there was a huge expansion in the production of luxury goods of all kinds. Expensive, frivolous, non essential items such as snuff boxes, folding fans, wigs, fur muffs and cosmetics were popular with

fashionable persons of both genders. Fashion items were produced in more luxurious styles, both because of the economic good times for the rich and middle classes, but due to several technological innovations. Patterned fabrics for example were produced in larger quantities and more varied styles due to the adoption of the Jacquard loom (incidentally a very early ancestor of the computer). Faceted diamond and rhinestone jewelry became common due to the invention of the Brilliant cut for stones. Other items such as women's shoes and men's waistcoats simply became more delicately made and decorated with fine fabrics and embroidery. 18th Century Costumes from the Victoria and Albert Museum as seen in "Old English Costumes" c.1908 Religious conservatives continued to preach against the vanity of these fashions, but their sermons on dress were far more moderate than in the preceding century. The attitude is more one of coaxing through logic and sentiment rather than a berating the fashionable for their sins. "Plain dress" groups like the Quakers managed to design versions of "plain dress" that were so tasteful, well-made and refined looking that late in the Century many English and American men of style adopted their dress regardless of their religious views. The lower classes' dress continued to be ragged and wretched as the Agricultural Revolution continued to force peasants off of the farm and into city trades. This massive labor displacement, which continued into the 19th Century is what created the urban proletarian workforce that made the Industrial Revolution possible in the 1790's-to the present.


Milk Maid Lower class tennant farmers get dressed: All this stability in style was brought to an abrupt end in 1789 when the French Revolution pitched Europe into it's second sharp transition period.

The Aristocrats,

About Fashion in the French Revolution

Fashion during the French Revolution (1789 to about 1793) saw a complete switch in the direction of costume for men and women. The overt glamor of the aristocrats was pushed out in favor of dress for all social classes. This change would move into the rest of Europe, modifying clothing to the Grecian-inspired ideal of the Regency era. History Clothing during the French Revolution evolved from the ornate to the simple. The larger silhouette supported by wide panniers and stiff stays gave way to a slim line with little or no corseting. The earliest part of the Revolution during the 1790s was a time of restriction; ostentatious dress or vivid coloring could mark

one as wealthy, which was a death sentence during "The Terror" of 1792. After this period, the simpler Grecian style took over again with the installation of the Directory. Significance The simplification in clothing marked a change in the role of women in revolutionary life and politics. Clothing was a mark of political belief and was a statement to others. People were rebelling against the elite classes' over-the-top clothing in a time of overwhelming poverty. The lower classes, in their push for equality and wealth redistribution in society, favored a cleaner look constructed from simple fabric comfortable for everyday labor. Features Ladies' clothing was made from fabrics like muslin, cotton and linen. Many dresses were nearly sheer. During the Terror, many favored dark, solid colors. The Grecian, empire-waisted dresses of the later era were white or pastel colored. Women wore chemises still, but dropped the corset; underpinnings ended up coming back as "short stays" later on. Hair was more natural, worn up in curls or chignons. The ornate cosmetics of the past were frowned upon as the domain of the elite. Men's fashion was inspired by military style. Taking after sailors, men abandoned fitted breeches for pants. The almost dandy-like colors and patterns soon settled into darker shades. Hair was worn natural, without powder; the wig was phased out. Considerations During the Revolution, people were incredibly poor, with high levels of discontent. The social structure of France changed

practically overnight. Working harder than ever to feed their families, women's dress became simplified out of necessity. After the Directory was established, new rules of etiquette also made way into society, along with a new romanticism. Free to now have fun and become expressive once more, people started to dress to attract. Benefits The clothing of the French Revolution acted to change the dress of most of Europe. The simpler fashions were less expensive and more accessible to the general public. Without the heavy and restrictive dress of the olden days, women were freer to move about and live life. It was now possible to dress beautifully without breaking the bank. The all-around return to natural behaviors and unaffected romanticism gave us authors like Jane Austen, whose lively heroines are admired to this day.

This is how they looked;

Sans-culotte blue carmagnole jacket striped tricolor pantaloons red sash gray or black felt hat with tricolor band and cockade hair in pigtail


Patriot redingote of brown cloth red cloth collar and lapels vest with striped band pantaloons black jockey boots, straps, brown cuffs red woolen cap tassel tricolor baldric

An elegant or muscadine frockcoat claw hammer tail fancy vest volded lace edged cravat fastened with jewel knee breeches with ribbon loops striped silk stockings black jockey boots, straps, brown cuffs felt hat silk cord tricolor rosette

Muscadine redingote frockcoat claw hammer tail tabs, buttons satin collar knee breeches with ribbon loops black jockey boots, straps, brown cuffs hair in Cadogan felt hat watch charm


Cloth redingote felt hat with ribbon and buckle hair in cadogan cotted cotten gown gauze fichu

Gown of fine cloth double collars satin loops on jacket tail tulle and satin fichus straw hat with satin rosettes

Striped cotten gown short jacket gauze fichu bowknot in back and at bosom bonnet of ribbon and ostrich plumes hair in cadogan



Fashion dress/french revolution?

fashion changes during the the time of 1790 thru 1825 "Brief Historical overview of the time period: In France, due to civil unrest, a revolution broke out in 1789. Louis XVI immediately summoned to order the Estates General and together they passed a decree to abolish feudalism and drafted the first written constitution in French history. For 10 years, the new Directoire governed- but quite ineffectively, and the opportunity was right for Napoleon to stage a coup in 1799. By 1804, Napoleon crowned himself Emperor and waged wars all over Europe. In England, the loss of the American colonies in 1776 still waned in the minds of the English people, yet the import of American cotton soared. War with France dominated their resources and energies for most of this period, but in 1815, England finally defeated Napoleon at Waterloo. War with France was over. Effects on Women's Clothing: During the Regency Era, France ruled the women's fashion world. During the first revolutionary period, women's fashions began to change drastically. Extravagant corsets and panniers were cast aside as thin, almost transparent Grecian- like gowns were


adopted. It was the idea of simplicity rather than decadence that changed the way female form was treated. Garments began to drape the female body rather than reshape it. In 1783, Marie Antoinette was the first to wear this new style and is seen in her "chemise a la reine" as is seen in the portrait by Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun (left). This style quickly began to sweep across the country and by 1802, all of fashionable Europe was wearing what is now referred to as the Empire style. But by 1804, the French silk industry had seriously declined and Napoleon tried to recover the nation's main economic industry by passing a decree that all court dress for both men and women be made of French silk. Flamboyant colors and decoration epitomized French fashion. In England, "chemise a la reine" continued to be fashionable. Sheer cotton fabrics such as muslin, gauze, and percale were the most popular gown materials. White was the most favoured gown color and ornamentation was frowned upon. To quote a contemporary English source, "...a diversity of colours bespeaks vulgarity of taste..." and "...we totally disapprove, at all time, of the much ornamented stocking. ...the finest rounded ankles are most effectual shown by wearing a silk stocking without any clock." However, since these white gowns were so thin, the cold of winter required the adoption of cashmere shawls imported from India (left). English tailors fashioned the Spencer jacket (below right) and later in the period, the Redingote (below left). By 1810, all European skirts began to shorten and garments of silk and velvet regained prominence. People grew tired of the simplicity of the "chemise a la reine" and epidemics of influenza had taken many a life. By the early 1820s, the waistline had

dropped considerably and women's fashion once again called for corsets and petticoats. Thus was the end of the Empire style. Effects on Children's Clothing: In both France and England, children were treated and expected to behave as young adults. Thus, fashions for children mimicked that of adults.Dresses for little girls and young adolescents were cut shorter and included pantalets under their shortened gowns. Up to age five, young boys were dressed in gowns and trousers (the male equivalent of pantalets). From age six to eleven, boys wore loose shirts buttoned to high-waisted, ankle length trousers. After age 12, boys were dressed much the same as men- shirts, trousers, jackets, and vests. Etiquette of the period: Impeccable manners and spotless reputations were the order of the day during the Regency Era. Whether acknowledging someone while crossing the street or making introductions at a ball or country dance, specific behavior was dictated for each situation. But the rules and codes of behavior for men and women were different. Below are just a few examples. Etiquette for Women If unmarried and under the age of thirty, a woman was never seen accompanying a man without the presence of a chaperone. A lady also never called upon a gentleman. From the book entitled Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces dating to 1811, " no time ought she (meaning a lady) volunteer shaking hands with a male acquaintance..." Etiquette for Men Gentleman were free to travel as they pleased and call upon young ladies of the house. While ascending a flight of stairs, a gentleman would precede a woman; While descending a flight of stairs, a

gentleman would follow her. This allowed for a ladies ankles to always be hidden from a gentleman's eye. Other musing from the book, Regency Etiquette: The Mirror of Graces: "...your dress should correspond with the station you hold in society." "..the occasional use of rouge may be tolerated- only tolerated." and, of course, "Excess is always bad." "


Fashion illustration
FIRST DECADE OF 20CENTURY. 1900-1910 . Beginning of Edwardian epoch.

STYLE : Continuation of aesthetics of Art Nouveau style and development of "Arts and crafts&" movement . Art Nouveau incarnated in in Vienna Austria as the Secession and in Germany as Jugendstil. FASHION DESIGNERS: Paul Poiret, Jean Paquin, Mariano Fortuny ART: Fauvism , Analytical Cubism, Expressionism


SECOND DECADE OF 20CENTURY. 1910-1920. Development of Edwardian epoch.

STYLE :Art Nouveau style evolved in Art Deco . First World War. Development of more practical womens fashion. FASHION DESIGNERS: Coco Chanel ( as an emerging designer she open her first shop in 1913), Paquin, Lanvin, Leon Bakst(mostly costume designer for Ballets Russes), Jackues Doucet Inspiration : Ballets Russes FASHION ILLUSTRATORS: George Barbier, George Lepape ART: Fauvism , Analytical Cubism, Dadaism( after 1914 ), Futurism


THIRD DECADE OF 20CENTURY. 1920-1930 .Roaring Twenties

STYLE : formation of Art Deco style. INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATION: cinematograph, social revolution, new technology, sport , Russian constructivists: Varvara Stepanova, Lubov Popova FASHION DESIGNERS: Coco Channel , Madeleine Vionnet; Erte , Sonia Delauney, Lanvin, Jean Patau, Edward Molynex ART: Non Figurative abstraction , Cubism, Futurism, Bauhaus, Constructivism



Style : development of Art Deco beginning of "ready to wear" fashion FASHION DESIGNERS: Coco Channel, Elsa Schiaparelli . FASHION ILLUSTRATOR: Drian ART: Surrealism, Constructivism



Style : decline of Art Deco Second World War. Transition from masculine women's fashion of the beginning of the decade to extremely feminine ( New Look by Dior) by the end of the decade FASHION DESIGNERS: Lucien Lelong, Christian Dior ,Christobal Balensiaga, Jacques Fath, Pierre Balman . Development of "ready to wear" fashion in the USA Art: deepening of non representational abstraction in the USA with input of Hans Hoffman, cut outs of Matisse, individual style of Arshile Gorky. Fernan Leger



Style : Influences and inspiration: Neo Realism Cinema FASHION DESIGNERS: Christian Dior ; Christobal Balensiaga Channel (came back at 1954), Jack Patu, Pierre Balman, Emilio Pucci

Spreading of "ready to wear" concept ( pr&t o porter in French interpretation) to Europe (Marx & Spenser ) Origination of alternative style. Beat generation . emerging of Teenage styles and fashion

FASHION ILLUSTRATOR: Rene Gruau ART: Abstract expressionism



INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATIONS: street styles, youth culture, rock music, space exploration, new technologies FASHION DESIGNERS: Yves Saint Laurent, Paco Rabanne, Ted Lapidus, Mary Quant, Andre Courreges , Pierre Cardin, Emanuel Ungaro (from late 60s)

Ready to were lines in haute couture Rive Goche by Yves Saint Laurent Ready to were Brands emerged : Gap (1969), Benetton (1965) Generation of "ready to wear" stylists (evolved from late sixties) Sonia Rykiel, Emanuel Khan, Gerard Pipard, Christian Bailly Street styles and alternative fashion : Hippy, Modes, Rockers Rise of Fashion photography. Decline of fashion illustration.

ART: Abstract expressionism , Op Art, Pop Art Stylistic diversity , end of monolith stylistic trend


Fashion photography replaces fashion illustration. Richard Avedon and Helmut Newton FASHION DESIGNERS:

France :Yves Saint Laurent, Kenzo ( moved from Japan in Paris in 1964) UK: Vivienne Westwood USA : Calvin Klein (launched his own clothing company in 1968, jeans brand in 70s) Italian High fashion : Valentino, Armani (established his own men's wear label in 1974), Versace (1978) Ready to were Brands expanded: Gap : Sales reach $2 million. Gap's second store opens in San Jose, Calif., Benetton (1965)

ART: Conceptualism, emerging of Body Art and Performance Art, Arte Povera , Emergence of Installation Art



Stylistic diversity expanded Influences and inspiration: pop Music FASHION DESIGNERS:

Karl Lagerfeld, Thierry Mugler, Claude Montana , Alaia, Christian Lacroix Japanese expansion : Ray Kawakoobo, Issey Miyake , Yohji Yamamoto UK: Vivienne Westwood established her priority in development of new inspired by alternative fashion style. . Emerging Belgian designers : The Six of Antwerp, Ann Demeulemeester, Dries Van Noten, Walter Van Beirendonck, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs en Marina Yee Sport brands evolved as fashion brands Nike, Adidas and Reebok fashion phenomena USA: triumph of Donna Karan ( started 1985) and expansion of Calvin Klein into the underwear market. Ready to were Brands go global and became a global fashion phenomena :Benetton is known all over the world.

1987 The first Gap store outside the United States opens in London, England, on George Street. ART: Conceptualism, Photorealism, Trance Avant-Garde, development of Installation Art TENTH DECADE OF 20CENTURY. 1990-2000.

STYLE : personal expression dominates the stylistic mode INFLUENCES AND INSPIRATION: end of cold war and collapse of USSR , internet, new era of electronic communication, PC FASHION DESIGNERS: Galliano ( rediscovery of Dior) , Tom Ford ( revival of Gucci) Hussein Chalayan, Alexander McQueen, Martin MARGIELA and Ann Demeulemeester expanded into the fashion industry. Marc Ecko represents new trend in the 90s fashion. Art: Conceptual Art , Digital Art, Media Art , Installation Art


How long does it usually take you to make a hairstyle? I doubt thats more than 10 minutes in the morning, actually it takes me around two minutes to make something on my head since my hear is really short. Can you imagine yourself or your friend making you a hairdo from the early morning till very evening before going to the club? Believe me or not, but there were times when this was a reality. And can you imagine that all the other women around have the same hairstyle? Same length of the hair? Same color of the hair? Sounds like hell right, but if you were in the court in the earlier days you would have to keep to the strong rules of the court etiquette. The history of the coiffures of the XVIII century is amazing. The XVIII century is considered to be a century of women. Thats the time of sophistication, mannerism, simplicity and unimaginable complex coiffures at the same time. Hair has always been a reflection of general trends in fashion and Rococo style defines the accents in the XVIII century.


The history of the women hairstyle of the 18th century can be divided into several stages. Till 1713 the aristocratic ladies were still wearing the fontage which form and look by itself was a piece of art. The new era in headdresses began in 1713, at a ceremonial reception at Versailles, when a Duchess of Shrewsbury appeared before Louis XIV without a fontage with the smooth and slightly curly hair decorated with lace and flowers. Louis liked that, and since he was the leader of European fashion at that time it was a command for the court to follow this new trend in hairstyles. This seeming simplicity became a major fashion tendency of Rococo century. All the ladies from the paintings by Watteau, Boucher, Patera, de Troyes, Chardin of this time have simple and modest yet graceful coiffures, no matter whether this is a luxury marquise de Pompadour, virtuous Maria Theresia or young Fike of Tserbsta. Just listen to the names of the hair cuts: Butterfly, sentimental, secret, mollycoddle. However somewhere from mid 70-ies the hairstyle started growing up again. It emerged into a complex structure and was as high and unimaginable as ever before. Ingenious women used almost everything they could find to make their headdress ,including most popular belts, jewelry, fabrics, flowers, fruit. Of course, their own hair was not enough to make such a piece of art and they used the hair of their servants and even the horses mane After becoming a Queen Marie Antoinette spent most of the time inventing new hairstyles and clothes. Her personal hairdresser Lonard was bringing all her fantasies into life. Joint work of a hairdresser and the Queen gave the world such masterpieces as explosion sensitivity, concupiscent, secret passion (just compare with pale mollycoddle or modest butterfly).


The most stylish womn managed to wear stuffed birds, statues and even a mini-gardens with tiny artificial tree on their heads. The well known and beloved A-la Belle Poule hair model with the famous frigate also belongs to this time. Such a design could take the whole day and coiffure itself could be weared for several days and sometimes even a week. Not speaking about the fact that it was impossible to sleep, such hairdresses were homes for lots of insects and it was allowed to scratch the head with a special stick. Over time in the beginning of the 80-ies the bulky and fussy hair models become much more modest. The fashion for the sails and vases disappears. Only tape and muslin fabric are now being used by fashion-mongers, though the hair models still look pompous. HISTORY OF THE DANDY: FLAMBOYANT FLANEUR MALE FASHION, FROM ROCOCO WIGS TO NEW ROMANTIC ROCKERS Male flamboyance: a centuries-old tradition that has evolved but never gone out of fashion. Today's ruffled riff-raff -- think Japan's Goth Aristocrats and New York's Dances of Vice (above) -- are but the modern incarnation of the European dandy. So let's raise our bowler hats to our foppish forefathers who paved the road to Visual Kei and Harajuku boys. The male peacock bared his tail-feathers in 18th and 19th century Europe. "Laconically witty clothes-horse" Beau Brummell and "Dandy King" Joachim Murat set the stage for the slightly eccentric but always stylish gentleman. Let's not forget the infamous Oscar Wilde and Lord Byron. (Come on, fellow contemporary writers -- live up to the decadence of your predecessors!) In mid-18th century Britain and America, the ornate man "stuck a feather in his hat and called it maccaroni." These caricatures

capture the maccaroni's outlandish tailed jackets and towering powdered wigs. After suffering through the French Revolution and Reign of Terror, the bourgeoisie just wanted to have fun. The Incroyables and their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses, ornamented themselves in floppy collars and bows. Long hair on men has always been a mark of bad boy hedonism, hasn't it? Frilly shirts and powdered visages came back to life in the 1980s New Romantics. The Blitz Kids' club fashion influenced some of my favorite 80s synth-poppers: Visage, Adam and the Ants, Ultravox, Duran Duran, Human League, Spandau Ballet. Today, the male dandy lives on in Japanese Gothic Aristocrats, Visual Kei J-rockers, Steampunks and other Neo-Victorian/Goth sartorialists. As for their female counterparts: no matter what era you're living in, there's a place for long gloves and ostrich feathers. And ding-a-linging your young boytoy... well, that never gets old!

Edwardian Fashion looked like this:







Rossetti Costumes - Design Sources

A painting or antique fashion plate can provide inspiration for your wedding gown or period costume. Design source material is plentiful - from costume postcards available in most galleries and museums to books on the history and construction of period costume and dress. Painters of the 18th and 19th centuries provide great inspiration. These include Millais, Winterhalter, Fragonard, Waterhouse, Tissot, Fortescue-Brickdale, Burne-Jones and Blair-Leighton. Many classic texts have been made into films - you might already have a favourite, but investigate DVDs with a fresh eye. Nastassia kinski's costumes in Polanski's "Tess" are some gorgeous examples of late nineteenth century dress. If late Victorian bustle gowns are your thing also look at "Moulin Rouge" (Baz Luhrmann), "The Age of Innocence", "The Buccaneers"(BBC), and "Bram Stoker's Dracula". You love "Dangerous Liaisons" but is it actually a sack-backed ("Watteau") gown you would like for your wedding dress? Or is it the combination of yards of sumptuous satins and taffetas with a boned bodice? Do you like the ornamentation or would you like the "feel" of the eighteenth century period, in a more 21st century wedding gown? Also look at "Jefferson in Paris", "Pirates of the Caribbean", "Sleepy Hollow" and the BBC's "Aristocrats" for both daywear and court gowns of the 18th century. Some films are classic sources of costume inspiration: see "Shakespeare in Love", "Titanic", "Wings of the Dove", "A Room with a View" and "Orlando". Virginal white, while not an absolute rule,was the most usual colour for wedding dress from the eighteenth century onwards. Contrasts in texture and decoration provided the interest within

this restricted palette - often ornamented with silver during the eighteenth century. Very few people actually look at their best in white, but you may still wish to stay with a pastel colour. I can obtain virtually any colour within some fabric form - there are so many to choose from that it can often be a good idea to consider your favoured colours prior to a consultation - those which predominate in your wardrobe or your home are usually the major clues! 16th Century Elizabethan and Renaissance dress and costume can be very inspirational for wedding gown design. Boned bodices were quite severe and often elaborately decorated. Fashions were established at court by Henry VIII and then Elizabeth I who is said to have engendered an atmosphere of rivalry among her courtiers to be the first with new fashions. Inevitably this led to the absorbtion of foreign styles, especially Spanish and was also influenced by the availability of silks and lace from Italy. See the films "Elizabeth", "The Merchant of Venice and and "La Reine Margot". 18th Century In the late eighteenth century England looked to France as a leader of fashion. The court of Versailles was a major influence patterned dress fabrics were invented in France. Gowns were supported by panniers which evolved from a bell shape to a distinctly two-sided unweildy frame. (More contemporary variations on this style can utilise small panniers, petticoats and bum-rolls to achieve a comparable, yet practical shape). Gown shapes include the "sackback" or "Watteau" gown - this combined a fitted bodice, moulded to the figure with large pleats falling from the shoulders to the ground in sumptuous folds. It was worn over a decorated petticoat and with a stomacher (often richly decorated) covering the bust to waist - a style which flattened and lifted the

bust. Sheer practicality led to another fashion evolution: firstly the gown was pulled up at the sides throught pocket slits to enable ease of walking around town or in the countryside, then the gown was pulled up by cords, dividing it into three parts: the "Polonaise" gown. See the films "Marie Antoinette", "Frankenstein", "The Madness of King George"; the painting "Girl on a Swing" by Fragonard; paintings by Jean-Antoine Watteau, and pictures of Madame de Pompadour by Francois Boucher. For "Marie Antoinette", Sophia Coppola is said to have given the costume designer a box of pastel-coloured macaroons to base the costume palette on. "We squeezed the essence of the period, without reproducing it" -a perfect attitude to apply when considering a period-style wedding dress. Early 19th Century / Jane Austen Neo-classical dress arose as a dramatic fashion change after the French Revolution. Abandoning corsets and panniers, it was a more simplistic style in comparison to the decorative rococo styles which went before and is very adaptable to modern wedding gowns. For fabrics think of sheer chiffons and georgette, muslin and gauzes. Gowns of this century can vary from the romance of a classic Empire Style "Jane Austen" costume in light cotton and muslin to the opulence of Empress Josphine's coronation dress, complete with red velvet court train (see the painting by JaquesLouis David). 19th Century A combination of the Empress Eugnie and the couturier Charles Frederick Worth had a tremendous influence on fashion of the middle to late nineteenth century. Styles were rich and opulent,


built over crinolines, petticoats and bustle frames and decorated with flowers, foliage lace and beadwork. For Victorian dress see the movies: "Gangs of new York", "The Age of Innocence", "Maverick", "Onegin", "Portrait of a "Lady"; paintings by Tissot, Manet Winterhalter and Ingres Pre-Raphaelite / Mediaeval Pre-Raphaelite paintings provide wonderful inspiration for mediaeval-style wedding gowns - either bias-cut soft slimline gowns in crepe or velvet, or corseted bodices combined with flowing bell-shaped sleeves and skirts in chiffons and georgette. Gowns can be totally unadorned; this is though, a style which lends itself to dramatic trimmings at the neckline, hem or as a girdled belt at the hips. Celtic embroidery is very popular as a trimming. Look at paintings by Elanor Fortescue-Brickdale, Frederick Leighton, Burne-Jones, Rossetti and Waterhouse. Films using this theme have an inevitable fantasy basis: "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy, "First Knight", "Dragonheart", "A Knight's Tale", "Legend", "The Lion in Winter", "Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves". Ballet and Musicals Ballet costume can provide many clues to a wedding gown design which might be appropriate for you. If you find it irresistible as an overall style it could indicate a sweetheart-necklined boned bodice with tulle skirts (nylon or silk) might be an ideal starting point for you. Or it might show you are drawn to elaborate and dramatic ornamentation. I have in the past designed a gown to an "Odette" theme, complete with "swan" feathers and silk tulle skirts. Several alternative wedding gowns on a ballet theme are held here in the studio (they

are yet to be displayed on the web-site). They include "Sugar-Plum Fairy" in shades of pale pink and champagne; "Odile" - a dramatic gown in black, purple and peacock blue and "Titania" a glittering gown in irridescent blues and pale greens. Flowers If you are in any doubt about the colours which go well together whether as a highlight for your own gown or to harmonise bridesmaids - then always resort to the natural world. Hence such classic combinations as pink with green - in all shades and tones. Likewise, lilac combined with the palest cowslip yellow is found in crocus, freesia, iris and many other spring flowers. Take these pale shades to their greatest intensity and you have purple combined with gold. Basically the same colours, but at different extremes of intensity. And both work extemely well together, whether you are considering pastels or vibrant shades. Stunning combinations of blue with pink, purple and lilac can be seen in sweetpeas, delphiniums and penstemmons. This is a reliable system of colour-theory! Please do not feel you need to have settled on your chosen colours before we meet. Absolute colour choices are only usually made when we start to look at fabrics at the consultation stage (and sometimes not then!). However, few brides can resist planning a colour scheme, for herself, groom, bridesmaids and even the reception. It is an ideal place to start even if you have no idea of the style of wedding gown you will eventually wear, start to think colour! Fabrics A vast range of fabrics are available including dupions in hundreds of shades: plain and embroidered. Also available are duchesse satins, taffetas, shot and plain chiffon, crushed and smooth velvets, organza, lace and zibelene.


A vast range of fabrics are available including dupions in hundreds of shades, duchesse satins, taffetas, shot and plain chiffons, crushed and smooth velvets.

Costumes are never required, but they add to the ambiance and enhance the experience of a Regency Ball. The change of fashion, throughout the ages, is most often politically motivated. Who can forget the direct proportion of mini-skirts to high inflation? Stepping back in time, before the French Revolution, the human body was merely a frame to support and display the opulent fashions of the day. Consider the elaborate, panniered gowns of Marie Antoinette and the courtly attire worn by the lace draped men posing through the halls of Versailles. However, post revolution experienced a drastic change of fashion. The human body became the focus, to be displayed and framed by the clothing; the idea was to highlight the human form in all of its natural beauty and glory the fluid line of Greek statues was the ultimate in style and grace.

The flowing drapery of neo-classical dress quickly became 'de-rigueur' in women's fashion, as the natural look emerged. Many women wore red ribbons tied around their throats, ladies, wore thin muslin frocks with only light stays and a chemise underneath. Buttoned down the back, and cinched just under the breast, the gown defined a high waist, with heaving bosom. The look was innocent and girlish, as most frocks were white. So thin were these garments, the women,


that during the cold winter and freezing rain, the muslins were worn without protection from the elements. Many women died during a flu epidemic of the early 1800's, it being called muslin fever. Thus, a sleeveless pelisse or short spencer jacket added. Caps were worn indoors, bonnets outside - feathers, ribbons and jewels bedecked the ringlets and chignons for balls and formal occasions. Older women wore turbans, reflecting the mood of exploration, discovery and conquest The daring young ladies in white frequently dampened their chemises underneath their frocks for a more revealing effect, evocative of marble Greek goddesses. Truly, there were attendant 'sprayers' in the ladies retiring rooms, ready to assist with the dampening of the alluring chemise. Fortunately, today we have breathable fabrics, air conditioned rooms and laws addressing public decency

Creating a Regency ball gown...

Thrift stores are gold mines for costume creation. Find an old prom or bridesmaid's dress, preferably with high waist or no waist A-line. Attach a ribbon under the bust, and tie a bow in the back with long streamers. Try to keep all gathers to the back of the dress, which creates a more fluid and flattering line. Scoop out a high neckline, and bind with silk ribbon or lace. Sleeves can be slim and straight to the elbow, or fuller with

shoulder gathers, and puffed by an elastic band mid bicep area. Your own body sense should dictate the height of your waist, the cut of your neckline and your sleeve style. A pelisse is easily made from a large A-line dress: first remove the sleeves, dramatically lower the neckline, or simply cut away a good portion of the front to create a straight line from the side of the neck down to the bottom of the garment. The pelisse need not close in the front, it merely flows as an open tunic, and pairs well with a turban. Long gloves, a necklace, dangling earrings and fan complete the look, and anything can be trimmed with ribbons or lace.

The Regency Beau, Buck or Dandy was elegant, urbane and a vision of pure masculinity, in fact, he was a perfect Romantic Hero.The 'Beaux' set the style and tone of society; the fashion police as it were. Beau Brummel, a Regency icon, was the grandson of a valet. The ultimate dandy, his influence on masculine fashion is still apparent today. "Surely, the English Nation ought in justice to do something for the man who invented cravats" Prince Puckler-Markam said in 1820. The artificial, courtly mannered clothing was rejected and replaced

with a natural style, fashioned after the riding costume; linen shirt, stock neckband, and cravat; tall boots, worn over tight pants; waistcoat and high cut, double-breasted riding coat, sporting large lapels and long tails. Hat and gloves completed the ensemble, which, as in the ladies' garments, accentuated the beauty and form of the figure. Men's hairstyles were modeled after Greco-Roman sculpture: the wind-blown Brutus look. Neoclassicism strongly influenced all aspects of art, culture and fashion. Though it seems that 'real' Englishmen did not wear togas!

Creating a man's Regency outfit...

To easily and inexpensively create male Regency attire, beige or black slim trousers, can be tucked into tall boots, or cut and banded at the knee, and worn with long white athletic socks and black dress shoes. A full sleeved peasant style shirt, worn with a silk vest and a white tie cravat, could be topped with a long tailed coat. If the jacket front is short, be sure to trim the vest to the waist, binding the edge with matching silk or satin ribbon. Check your local tuxedo rental shop for old garments they may sell for a few dollars. Thrift stores do have tux and tails, though timing is everything.


17501795 in fashion
Fashion in the period 17501795 in European and Europeaninfluenced countries reached heights of fantasy and abundant ornamentation, especially among the aristocracy of France, before a long-simmering movement toward simplicity and democratization of dress under the influence of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and the American Revolution led to an entirely new mode and the triumph of British tailoring following the French Revolution.

Women's fashion

French silk sack-back gown with closed bodice and panniers, trimmed with padded bands of blue satin, chenille blonde lace, flowers of gathered ribbon, feathers and raffia tassels, 17751780,


Portrait of Mr and Mrs William Hallett by Thomas Gainsborough, 1785

The lady wears strapless stays over a pink chemise. Her petticoat has pocket slits to access the free-hanging pocket beneath. "Tight Lacing, or Fashion Before Ease", 177075 Women's clothing styles retained an emphasis toward a conical shape of the torso while the shape of the skirts changed throughout the period. The hoop-skirts of the 1740s were left behind, but wide panniers (holding the skirts out at the side) came into style several

times, and the aesthetic of a narrow inverted cone, achieved with boned stays, above full skirts remained. By the 1780s, panniers had for the most part disappeared (with the exception of court functions), and false rumps (bum-pads or hippads) were worn for a time. By 1790, skirts were still somewhat full, but they were no longer obviously pushed out in any particular direction (though a slight bustle pad might still be worn). The "pouter-pigeon" front came into style (many layers of cloth pinned over the bodice), but in other respects women's fashions were starting to be simplified by influences from Englishwomen's country outdoors wear (thus the "redingote" was the French pronunciation of an English "riding coat"), and from neo-classicism. By 1795, waistlines were somewhat raised, preparing the way for the development of the empire silhouette and unabashed neo-classicism of late 1790s fashions. Mrs. Hallett captures the exact transition between the tight bodice and elbow-length, ruffled sleeves of the mid-18th century and the natural waist and long sleeves typical of the 1790s.

The usual fashion of the years 1750-1780 was a low-necked gown (usually called in French a robe), worn over a petticoat. Most gowns had skirts that opened in front to show the petticoat worn beneath. If the bodice of the gown was open in front, the opening was filled in with a decorative stomacher, pinned to the gown over the laces or to the corset beneath. Tight elbow-length sleeves were trimmed with frills or ruffles, and separate under-ruffles called engageantes of lace or fine linen were tacked to the smock or chemise sleeves. The neckline was


trimmed with a fabric or lace ruffle, or a neckerchief called a fichu could be tucked into the low neckline. The robe la franaise or sack-back gown featured back pleats hanging loosely from the neckline. A fitted bodice held the front of the gown closely to the figure. The robe l'anglaise featured back pleats sewn in place to fit closely to the body, and then released into the skirt which would be draped in various ways. Elaborate draping "a la polonaise" became fashionable by the mid 1770s, featuring backs of the gowns' skirts rucked up either through loops or through the pocket slits of the gown. Front-wrapping thigh-length shortgowns or bedgowns of lightweight printed cotton fabric were fashionable at-home morning wear, worn with petticoats. Over time, bedgowns became the staple upper garment of British and American female workingclass street wear.

Jackets and redingotes

Toward the 1770s, an informal alternative to the gown was a costume of a jacket and petticoat, based on working class fashion but executed in finer fabrics with a tighter fit. The Brunswick gown was two-piece costume of German origin consisting of a hip-length jacket with "split sleeves" (flounced elbow-length sleeves and long, tight lower sleeves) and a hood, worn with a matching petticoat. It was popular for traveling. The caraco was a jacket-like bodice worn with a petticoat, with elbow-length sleeves. By the 1790s, caracos had full-length, tight sleeves. As in previous periods, the traditional riding habit consisted of a tailored jacket like a man's coat, worn with a high-necked shirt, a

waistcoat, a petticoat, and a hat. Alternatively, the jacket and a false waistcoat-front might be a made as a single garment, and later in the period a simpler riding jacket and petticoat (without waiscoat) could be worn. Another alternative to the traditional habit was a coat-dress called a joseph or riding coat (borrowed in French as redingote), usually of unadorned or simply trimmed woolen fabric, with full-length, tight sleeves and a broad collar with lapels or revers. The redingote was later worn as an overcoat with the light-weight chemise dress.

The shift, chemise (in France), or smock, had a low neckline and elbow-length sleeves which were full early in the period and became increasingly narrow as the century progressed. Drawers were not worn in this period. The long-waisted, heavily boned stays of the early 1740s with their narrow back, wide front, and shoulder straps gave way by the 1760s to strapless stays which still were cut high at the armpit, to encourage a woman to stand with her shoulders slightly back, a fashionable posture. The fashionable shape was a rather conical torso, with large hips. The waist was not particularly small. Stays were usually laced snugly, but comfortably; only those interested in extreme fashions laced tightly. They offered back support for heavy lifting, and poor and middle class women were able to work comfortably in them. As the relaxed, country fashion took hold in France, stays were sometimes replaced by a lightly boned garment called "un corset," though this style did not achieve popularity in England, where stays remained standard through the end of the period.

Panniers or side-hoops remained an essential of court fashion

but disappeared everywhere else in favor of a few petticoats.

Free-hanging pockets were tied around the waist and were accessed through pocket slits in the side-seams of the gown or petticoat. Woolen or quilted waistcoats were worn over the stays or corset and under the gown for warmth, as were petticoats quilted with wool batting, especially in the cold climates of Northern Europe and America.

Shoes had high, curved heels (the origin of modern "louis heels") and were made of fabric or leather. It was particularly common for shoe buckles to be worn as an "ornament" to the foot in high society, principally at balls and parties, and made an important feature of the "dandy" image. These were either polished metal, usually in silver (sometimes with the metal cut into false stones in the Paris style), or with paste stones, although there were other type. These buckles were often ludicrously large and one of the worlds largest collections can be seen at Kenwood House.

Hairstyles and headgear


Marie Antoinette was one of the most influential figures in fashion during the 1770s and 1780s, especially when it came to hairstyles. The 1770s in fashion were notable for extreme hairstyles and wigs which were built up very high, and often incorporated decorative objects (sometimes symbolic, as in the case of the famous engraving depicting a lady wearing a large ship in her hair with masts and sailscalled the "Coiffure l'Indpendance ou le Triomphe de la libert"to celebrate naval victory in the American war of independence). These coiffures were parodied in several famous satirical caricatures of the period. By the 1780s, elaborate hats replaced the former elaborate hairstyles. Mob caps and other "country" styles were worn indoors. Flat, broad-brimmed and low-crowned straw "shepherdess" hats tied on with ribbons were worn with the new rustic styles. Hair was powdered into the early 1780s, but the new country fashion required natural colored hair, often dressed simply in a mass of curls.

Men's fashion


Elijah Boardman wears a cutaway tailored coat over a waistlength satin waistcoat and dark breeches. America, 1789.

Charles Pettit wears a matching coat, waiscoat, and breeches. Coat and waistcoat have covered buttons; those on the coat are much larger. His shirt has a sheer frill down the front. America, 1792. Throughout the period, men continued to wear the coat, waistcoat and breeches of the previous period. What changed significantly was the fabric. Under new enthusiasms for outdoor sports and country pursuits, the elaborately embroidered silks and velvets characteristic of "full dress" or formal attire earlier in the century gradually gave way to carefully tailored woolen "undress" garments for all occasions except the most formal. In Boston and Philadelphia in the decades around the American Revolution, the adoption of plain undress styles was a conscious reaction to the excesses of European court dress; Benjamin Franklin caused a sensation by appearing at the French court in his own hair (rather than a wig) and the plain costume of Quaker Philadelphia.

At the other extreme was the "maccaroni".

The skirts of the coat narrowed from the gored styles of the previous period, and toward the 1780s began to be cutaway in a curve from the front waist. Waistcoats extended to mid-thigh to the 1770s, and gradually shortened until they were waist-length and cut straight across. Waistcoats could be made with or without sleeves. As in the previous period, a loose, T-shaped silk, cotton or linen gown called a banyan was worn at home as a sort of dressing gown over the shirt, waistcoat, and breeches. Men of an intellectual or philosophical bent were painted wearing banyans, with their own hair or a soft cap rather than a wig. A coat with a wide collar called a frock, derived from a traditional working-class coat, was worn for hunting and other country pursuits in both Britain and America.

Shirt and stock

Shirt sleeves were full, gathered at the wrist and dropped shoulder. Full-dress shirts had ruffles of fine fabric or lace, while undress shirts ended in plain wrist bands. A small turnover collar returned to fashion, worn with the stock. The cravat reappeared at the end of the period.

Breeches, shoes, and stockings

As coats became cutaway, more attention was paid to the cut and fit of the breeches. Breeches fitted snugly and had a fall-front opening.


Low-heeled leather shoes fastened with buckles were worn with silk or woolen stockings. Boots were worn for riding. The buckles were either polished metal, usually in silver (sometimes with the metal cut into false stones in the Paris style), or with paste stones, although there were other types. These buckles were often ludicrously large and one of the world's largest collections can be seen at Kenwood House.

Hairstyles and headgear

Wigs were worn for formal occasions, or the hair was worn long and powdered, brushed back from the forehead and clubbed (tied back at the nape of the neck) with a black ribbon. Wide-brimmed hats turned up on three sides called tricornes were worn in mid-century. Later, these hats were turned up front and back or on the sides to form bicornes. Toward the end of the period a tall, slightly conical hat with a narrower brim became fashionable (this would evolve into the top hat in the next period

Children's fashion
During most of this period, the clothes worn by middle- and upperclass children older than toddlers (especially by girls) continued to be uncomfortable-looking miniature copies of the clothes worn by adults, with the exception that girls wore back-fastening bodices and petticoats rather than open-fronted robes (see the illustration of the 1778 young French girl below). However, towards the end of the period, there was a change to styles that were more practical for children's play skeleton suits with long trousers for boys, and loose ankle-length skirts for girls.

Working class clothing

Working-class people in 18th century England and America often wore the same garments as fashionable peopleshirts, waistcoats,

coats and breeches for men, and shifts, petticoats, and gowns or jackets for womenbut they owned fewer clothes and what they did own was made of cheaper and sturdier fabrics. Working class men also wore short jackets, and some (especially sailors) wore trousers rather than breeches. Smock-frocks were a regional style for men, especially shepherds. Country women wore short hooded cloaks, most often red. Both sexes wore handkerchiefs or neckerchiefs. Men's felt hats were worn with the brims flat rather than cocked or turned up. Men and women wore shoes with shoe buckles (when they could afford them). Men who worked with horses wore boots.

With the rise of the people against the house of Bourbon, we find many changes in France, and their influence was felt through many countries. On 14th of July , 1789, the Parisians made open display of their demands in the streets oftheir city and gave the signal for the fall of a whole social system by their attack on the Bastile. Extravagance in architecture, furniture,costume and mode of living at its height, all this was to be done away with, and a period ofthe strictest simplicity was to follow. Titles were dropped by all of the upper class who survived the guillotine, and men and woman were addressedas citizen and citizeness.One of the first acts of the General Assembly was the abolition by solemn decree of all distinction in dresses of the classes. Materials.The manner of living was also simplified, but this unfortunately lasted but a short time. Simplicity was the key-note in costume, and dark colors and cheaper materials, especially cotton, were taking the place of the silks, velvets, ribbons, and laces of the former reigns. Fashion still mirrored the events of the times, both in the names of materials and the articles of apparel; the whole theory of it was based on the assumption of equality in dress; "all classes were mingling, willingly or unwillingly, through

love or fear; and many wealthy persons rigidly adopted the simple attire." ' The tricolor, or the national cockade, appeared on every costume, as it was exceedingly dangerous to be seen without it in the days when one government succeeded another in such rapid succession. Women's Dress.Women were too busy or too poor to take the trouble to change fashions as often as had been the case in former years, so we find little or no change taking place between 1789 and 1793. Straight lines had taken the place of panniers a few years before, and a masculine type of dress, borrowed from the English, had been the result. Now women were looking for comfort as well as simplicity, and had given up the stiff stays that were necessary when wearing the pointed waist and the pannier. Gowns were made with bodices cut short in the waist and with sleeves to the elbow ; the neck was low and still finished with the fichu; the skirt hung plain and straight from the high waistline, the hoop or vertugadine having gone the way of the pannier. Little or no trimming was used, except an occasional ruffle at the edge of the skirt. The cotton materials were printed with the national trophies and revolutionary symbols, or with red, white, and blue stripes, and a bunch of tricolored flowers placed at the left side above the heart showed the wearer's patriotism. In 1791 shops were established in Paris where ready-to-wear clothing might be purchased. The best known of these were run by Quenin, who supplied the men, and Mme. Teillard, who catered to the wants of the women. Printed lists of prices were sent out by both of these shops. Head-dresses.The style of hair-dressing also under went a change, and instead of the huge piles that had been in vogue a short time before, the hair was worn low in front and hung in clusters of curls behind. Powder had gone with Costume of the period of the French Revolution, 1790. The other symbols of aristocracy, and for the first time in years the hair showed its

natural color. Straw bonnets with high crowns and large flaring brims were used for a while; they were remnants of the huge, overtrimmed hats of the time of Louis XVI, and soon disappeared, to be followed by lace and muslin caps, the most popular of these being the mob-cap, with a deep lace ruffle around the face and neck, now known as the "Charlotte Corday " ; this was ornamented with the tricolored cockade or rosette. Men's Dress.The Revolution brought about the greatest change in the costume of the men. Dark colors, generally black, were in evidence, and cloth and leather took the place of silk and velvet. All furbelows, ruffles, laces, and ribbons had disappeared, they being considered aristocratic and not suitable to the dress of a democratic citizen. The breeches lengthened until they reached the ankle, a style borrowed from the English sailors, or, as Calthrop declares, invented by Beau Brummel for common wear. This, of course, is not the first time that long trousers, or pantaloons, as they were called, were worn. They were considered a mark of the barbarian by the Romans, and were worn by the early Asiatics and the Persians, but they now became the forerunner of the modern plain dress for men ; for while the knee-breeches returned for formal dress and are still worn in England for court dress, the long trouser was used for informal dress and went through many changes until it finally reached its present style. The name pantaloon was first used as a term of derision or ridicule; it came from the character of Pantaloon, a clown, familiar to the readers of Italian comedies of the seventeenth century. For many years after the introduction of pantaloons they fitted very snugly to the figure, and were generally buttoned above the ankle. The style of coats had not changed except in the material and color. They were cut away in front at a rather high waistline, and had a narrow tail at the back with the plaits pressed flat from the

waist; they closed in front with four or five large buttons. The collar was high, and turned over squarely where it met the large revers. A waistcoat of fancy material, also buttoned and a trifle longer than the coat in front, was open at the neck, where it showed the white stock collar and small cravat of lace. The cuff had gone and several small buttons closed the sleeve at the wrist. Head-dresses.In England the powdered wig was still worn, but France seems to have discarded it with the rest of her aristocratic paraphernalia, and hair in the natural color prevailed, sometimes short, and sometimes long and tied behind in a queue. Black felt hats, turned up in the front, and ornamented with the tricolor cockade, were worn by all men, young and old, of high and low estate. Foot-gear.High leather boots with close turn-over tops, generally made of a different colored leather, came up over the long, tight pantaloons, the heels were rather low, and the toes square. The Directory.As a protest against the simple life that had been forced upon them during the first horrible years of the Revolution, the Parisians started a whirl of gaiety and pleasure as soon as the government became a trifle more stable. They danced and danced, and open-air pavilions were much in evidence. At the Elysee National, once the Elysee Bourbon, the music was led by a negro, Julien. One of the most aristocratic of these dance-halls was called the "Bal des Victimes"; it was held at the Hotel Richelieu, and could be attended only by those who had lost a relation by the guillotine. A new style of hair-dressing originated here, when the men cut their hair short, to simulate the fashion that had been designed by Sampson, to distinguish the victims of the Revolution. Even the women took this up, and shaved the back of their hair, and this style was soon known as "coiffure a la Titus." It was a time of

great license; women set aside all edicts for the regulation of "virtue and morality," and as a result very little politeness or consideration was shown them by the men. Women's Dress.Women began to dress to charm; there had been a return to nature, and this showed in the adoption of classic dress. This style might well be called undress, as they vied with each other in discarding garments and reducing the weight of those retained. "In the beginning these garments left the body free, followed its outlines, and were well-nigh transparent in texture, they drew their inspiration from nature and pagan mythology; they aimed at concealing nothing, and followed the harmonious lines of Grecian beauty." The skirt was scant and hung from a high waistline trailing at the back; the neck was low and round and the sleeves were small, short puffs, or long and tight, reaching to the wrist; with the short sleeves were worn long gloves of kid. The materials used were sheer embroidered India muslin, painted gauze, lace, and light-weight cottons. The under-clothing consisted in most cases of flesh-colored silk tights. Often the skirt was slit to the waist on one side and showed the lower limb. Jewels were much sought after, and women spent ruinous sums on diamonds, jewelry, and flowers. They even went so far as to wear rings on their bare toes and bracelets on their ankles. Some of the gowns had no sleeves and were caught together at the shoulders with cameo brooches, like the Corinthian chiton of the Greeks, and when not split were draped on the left side to show the limb to the knee. The weight of a woman's costume, including shoes and ornaments, was often as low as eight ounces, and several women appeared in public with nothing but a chemise in order to win a wager. Trains became so exaggerated "six yards for ordinary wear" and "fourteen yards for dress occasions" that they had to be wound around the figure several times and then held by the end; or they

were thrown over the shoulder of the man when dancing. Heelless slippers, or Grecian sandals, were worn with white stockings, or soles were strapped to the foot by crossed ribbons. The cost of these costumes was enormous; "gowns of Indian calico cost 2,000 francs, or 6,000 to 8,000 if embroidered and with a train." The trousseau of Marie Louise included a gown embroidered in silver and gold tinsel which cost 7,400 francs, one of pink tulle at 4,500 francs, and one of blonde lace at 6,000 francs. Laces were highly prized, and those belonging to Marie Antoinette were owned by Mlle. Lange, the mistress of the Deputy Mandrin. The most valuable of these laces finally came into the possession of the Empress Josephine, and were valued at from 40,000 to 60,000 francs.' Part of this expense was due to the low state of the currency, as paper money had taken the place of gold and was much lower in value. Head-dresses.Hair was being powdered, and a craze for wigs of all sorts and colors had developed. Mme. Tallien had "thirty, of every shade of light hair." The hair was curled and banded with ribbons or jewels, a la Grec, a diamond crescent being a favorite ornament. This style was finally supplanted by the "Titus" described before. Felt hats, like those of the men, were trimmed with flame-colored ribbons, and toques made of light-colored silks and satins were ornamented with white aigrettes. Close straw bonnets with high square crowns were decorated with flowers and ribbons and tied under the chin. A little later caps of all descriptions replaced the hats and bonnets. The most popular of these fitted close to the head like an infant's first cap, and was made of lawn and trimmed with lace, or of Small bonnets similar to an infant's cap. from a velvet in green, violet, black, or cerise, with the seams covered with a flat galloon.


For outer garments over these very thin gowns a scarf of cashmere, silk, or other light-weight material was used, similar to the Greek himation. Huge muffs, like great barrels, nearly a yard long, were carried. Needless to say that the women of that time had very delicate constitutions, and many died of pneumonia and other lung troubles. The physicians were loud in their demands for more clothing. Delsarte declared that he had seen more young girls die of nakedness and gauze during the reign of this style of dress than during the forty years before.' It was the fashion for women to eat very little while in public, although Uzanne asserts that they had very healthy appetites in private, and ate heartily, which was necessary in order to prevent the chest attacks which were so prevalent. He describes the women as being "buxom, healthy, loud-voiced beings, masculine in their ways, broad in their talk, and opulent of charm." Men's Dress.Very little change took place in the costume of the men during the years of the Directory, except in the size and style of the neck-cloth and the color and materials used in their clothing; this is especially true of the vest or waistcoat. The dandies, or "Incroyables," of France, often had three layers at the lower edge of the vest, each of a different color, and one below the other; "in 1791, green, yellow, and mother-of-pearl was considered very chic." These vests had high turn-over collars, which showed inside the neck of the coat. The stocks were built out about the neck ; a padded silk cushion was first adjusted; this was concealed by a huge muslin cravat, and that in turn was covered by a figured silk handkerchief which came up over the chin, giving a goitre-like appearance to the neck. A jabot of lace filled in the opening of the vest. The Incroyables exaggerated the size of the revers and the collars of their coats, and sometimes their coat-tails were so long that they had to pick them up as the lady did her train. The coats fitted very snug at the

waistline, and corsets were often worn to make their waists smaller. England was still the criterion for men's fashions, and the styles for top-boots and even top-hats were borrowed from there. The Empire.If all that was Greek dominated dress during the Directory, Rome had the same influence during the Empire. The little Corsican general was making order out of chaos, and, as Uzanne says, "he brought the licentious freedom in which the population had run riot under control, and endowed the nation with its civil rights, more precious an hundredfold than any rights political." Fashion became less frivolous as the everyday life became more stable. Napoleon was as fond of pomp and show as Louis XIV had been, and dress assumed much of the gorgeousness that had been discarded a few years before. Velvets, silks, laces, and embroideries came into their own, and the silk industry in France, which had been practically ruined during the Reign of Terror, was resumed, and many other industries were started. Artificial flowers, then much in demand, were made by a clever chemist and botanist, Sequin, and silver flowers made by him took a prize at the Industrial Exposition of 1802. Cashmere shawls were the rage; many of these were brought into France from Egypt in 1792-1802. This industry was introduced into France by Louis Ternaux, who imported goats from Thibet. The government, realizing that there was much revenue from the manufacture of cot-ton, set up factories at Rouen, St. Quentin, and Tarare, which flourished under the First Empire, and clothed nearly all the women of France. Women's Dress.The day of the diaphanous gown was over, and while the style of dress had not changed to any great extent, the materials had. Women began to tire of the plain skirt, and the first noticeable change came when they added a short tunic to the Greek dress; gradually this was lengthened until it formed an

overskirt which was open in the front. Color and heavier texture were introduced through this means, white being the favorite for the under-dress. The waist was still very short, and the skirt had grown shorter, showing the feet. The neck was cut very low or very high, the latter finished with a ruff made of lace and called a "Betsy," after Queen Elizabeth. Sleeves were short puffs for ceremonial costumes, and long and tight for the street or at home. Often more than one gown was worn at a time, one over the other. Mme. Recamier attended a ball in a very splendid velvet dress, which she removed when the dancing began, and appeared in a ball-gown of embroidered white silk. The cost of these gowns was still very great ; the coronation robes of Napoleon and Josephine, made by Leroy and Mme. Raimbaud, cost 650,000 francs. The red velvet court train of Josephine and the cape-like robe of Napoleon were lined with ermine and embroidered all over with gold bees. Each of the ladies in attendance received 1,000 francs to be spent on her costume. Napoleon was a dictator in fashion, as in everything else, and no lady dared to appear in his presence wearing a gown more than once. For outer covering shawls were in great demand, and much art was shown in the way these were draped ; ladies even went so far as to take lessons in the art of draping and posing; large sums of money were paid for these shawls. For outer wear, besides shawls, the spencer, a short jacket, with sleeves reaching to the wrist and made of colored silk or cashmere, was much liked. The longer pelisse was also made in color and of heavier material, and either lined and trimmed with fur, or simply lined with lighter-colored material. The sleeves were wide and turned back at the hand, and the coats had round, cape-like collars. As Napoleon returned from his different campaigns, styles felt the influence of the countries where he had been, and Oriental

fashions, Spanish, Italian, Turkish, and English followed in rather quick succession. The Empire style is so familiar to all that it is unnecessary to go into many particulars. Head-gear and Accessories.By 1806 the style of dressing the hair had become very conservative; it was held close to the head in flat curls, and these were kept in place by a net; braids of hair were also used, but kept flat to show the contour of the head. Classic coiffures, banded with fillets or broad ribbons, are shown in many of the portraits of the day, such as Mme. Vigee Lebrun, Mme. Recamier, and the Empress Josephine. These were painted by the celebrated painters, David, Gerard, Sir Thomas Lawrence, and Mme. Vigee Lebrun. Hats had given place almost entirely to bonnets of the coal-scuttle type, the brims rather straight and very deep, almost hiding the face; these were trimmed with highstanding feathers or flowers, and covered with a veil; a few straw hats and turban-like toques were worn when Turkish fashions prevailed. The use of powder and rouge had almost disappeared. Napoleon and Josephine had started a crusade for cleanliness. Before this time the bath seems to have been considered as superfluous. It is reported that Louis XIV never washed himself, and Queen Margaret only once a week, and then only her hands. By 1800 soap had become an article in general use in Paris, although even then the French were not as clean as the English. Another form of cleanliness for which France is indebted to Napoleon was the frequent changing of underlinen. Josephine made three changes a day, while Napoleon made one. This necessitated a much more bountiful supply than had been needed before, and the trousseau of Mlle. Tacher de la Pajerie, a niece of Josephine, contained underclothing worth 25,000 francs, a gift of the empress. Valuable jewels, such as cameos of ancient design, were chosen to wear with the classical dress, and many from famous Italian

collections found their way to France to grace the fair ladies of the Empire. Rings on the hands and feet, bracelets and anklets, chains so long that they might be wound around the neck five or six times and still almost reach the floor, girdles and jewelled combs and earrings with three pendants all these and many more were worn. The value of these collections was almost unbelievable, as the gems were mostly diamonds. At one ball in Paris the value of the jewels worn was estimated at about 20,000,000 francs. Pearls were not considered fashionable, but amethysts were held in high favor. This craze for jewels was at its height from 1806 to 1809, when a reaction set in, and very few jewels appeared at the court functions. The ladies, having no pockets in their dresses, adopted the fashion of carrying bags, called reticules, in order to have their small personal belongings with them. These were supposed to be a revival of the bag carried by the Greek women, and they were made of cardboard or lacquered tin in the shape of Etruscan vases.' Men's Costume.Although Napoleon made an effort to bring back the elaborate dress for men that had been given up at the time of the Revolution, he made little headway except in the matter of ceremonial dress and military uniforms. Men had found that plain dress was much more comfortable and more suited to the affairs of everyday life than the elaborate velvets, silks, and embroideries, and they refused to go back to .them. The dandies and exquisites, of course, followed the lead of the emperor. Perhaps the greatest change took place in the way of wearing the hair; in 1806 it was cut short in the back, and had long curled locks in front, which hung over the forehead and eyes; this was called "au coup de vent"; in 1809 it was curled and called "en cherube"; finally these gave place to the short hair-cut; that, gave the wearer the least trouble and was not disarranged by the hat.'


A change was also seen in the stock; the pad and the silk handkerchief had gone, and a plain black silk stock wrapped twice about a standing linen collar, and tied in a small bow in the front, had taken their place; the lace cravat had become a frill attached to the front of the linen shirt. Colors were used for the coats; dark-green, dark-blue, brown, and wine-colored broadcloth were favorites. Breeches were long and tight, and high boots were still worn. Over-coats of fur or cloth had long, full skirts, and were buttoned with two rows of buttons; they were short in the waist, and had two or three capes. England had adopted the top-hat; it had developed from the sailor-hat, the crown had grown much higher and broader at the top, bellshaped, and the brim had become narrower and turned up at the side. Frenchmen were still using the cocked hat made familiar by the pictures of Napoleon. Fashions were changing rapidly in minute details; Uzanne states that between 1805 and 1814 Paris fashions were never the same for more than a week. Perhaps this was due to the fact the Empress Josephine spent most of her time with her dressmakers trying different effects, and of course her word was law for a time at least. Fashion papers were published every five days to keep pace with the changing styles. Dress was still showing the influence of political upheavals, as during the one hundred days after Napoleon's return from Elba no Imperialist lady appeared without her bunch of violets. The skirts of the ladies of the royalist party were decorated with eighteen tucks, to show their loyalty to Louis XVIII.' They also wore small bonnets made of white silk striped with straw, and a small cashmere shawl with a vermilion border; with this costume were worn dark prunella boots.


Thats all for French revolution!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Fashion Eras 1800-2000

1800-1837 1837-1913 1913-1947 1947-1970 1970-1985 1985-2000 2000A Final Word on Subcultural Styles

Fashion, Costume and Design Era Terminology 1800-1837

Late Georgian The period 1800-1837 is really part of the Georgian era. George III was insane after 1811, but alive until 1820. His already Regent serving son Prince of Wales, George reigned 1820-1830, and George's brother after him as William IV. After his death Queen Victoria acceded the throne in 1837 Regency Dress Dress during the period 1800-1820 is known as Regency Fashion. It was based on classical principles and ornamentation according to the latest fashion. Classical Greek Dress


Between 1800 and 1803 dress was classical and had classical ornament usually with Greek key borders. Etruscan and Egyptian Ornament Between 1804 and 1807 it still had classical lines, but with geometric Etruscan and more exotic Egyptian and oriental ornament. This era was inspired by items brought from the east by Napoleon's expeditions ;refer Regency Fashion. Spanish Ornament After 1808 Spanish ornament was used on classical dress Gothic Influence By 1811 Gothic influence crept in debasing the classical lines gradually up until 1820 when the dress lost all classical form and took on a Gothic line. Romantic Era The Gothic influence remained during the Romantic Era between 1820 and 1837. This era has a chocolate box image about it, as military male dress can look very romantic next to female dress. The romantic spirit in clothes lingered on until 1850 running parallel to the early Victorian Era. refer regency fashion

The Victorian era lasts 64 years so in fashion history terms has to be subdivided beyond the length of reign. Early Victorian Era


When Queen Victoria was crowned in 1837 the Romantic Era drew to a close. Dress styles between 1837 and 1856 are known as Early Victorian. Sometimes it is also called the Crinoline Era which came about at the time when Charles Worth was making a name for himself as the first modern Couturier. Mid Victorian Dress lasts from 1860 to 1882. Sometimes it is called the First Bustle Era. Late Victorian Dress Late Victorian Dress spans the period 1883 to 1901 and covers the Second Bustle Era, Gibson Girls and tailor made suits. Naughty Nineties Within the late Victorian time frame are secondary periods such as the Naughty Nineties, the final decade of the 19th Century. Fin de Sicle The last decades of the 19th century from 1870 to 1914 the French called Fin de Sicle. It culminated in Art Nouveau linear curves in dress, decorative arts and design. It should not be taken literally as the end of the century. It heralded the mood of change from an old world to a modern era. Art Nouveau embraced new ideas in changing technology, cultural, social and political changes, urbanization and a lingering nostalgia for the old and valued. Metaphysical thought implies that the last 25 years of a century heralds a new energy. Refer The Aesthetics and Jewellery. La Belle poque

This period from the mid 1890s to 1914 was the era the French called La Belle poque and J. B. Priestley called the 'Lost Golden Age'. Although mainly covering the Edwardian Era it puts La Belle poque into a time capsule. La Belle poque captures the mood in that indefinable time of beautiful dress and luxury living for the few in the two decades immediately before the outbreak and devastation created by World War One. The 20th Century We began the year 2000 by calling the new era the millennium era, but since the the repercussions of Sept 11th 2001 have caused waves across the world various phrases have been applied such as the freedom age, carpe diem age, or simply after nine eleven. Now we are more happily referring to it as the double meaning term the noughties. Art Nouveau Era Art Nouveau was a decorative art form which followed on from the Arts and Crafts Movement. It spread throughout Europe and was a dominant art form in 1900 at the Paris Exhibition. It primarily covered interiors, architecture, jewellery and furniture design. But its importance filtered through into fashion and fabrics. The long stylised flowers and flowing embroidered borders with trails of organic forms of Art Nouveau are all reflected in the clothes of the Edwardian Hostess. Their skirts belled out and flowed like blossoming opening floral forms. The embellishment captured the graceful Art Nouveau forms. These fashions in textiles were revived in the 1960s by the House of Liberty.



Oriental Era Orientalism has appeared in and out of fashion history several times, but it is particularly associated with the movement in dress inspired by artist Lon Bakst the costumer and set designer of Sergei Diaghilev's Ballet Russes in 1909. The dress designers Paul Poiret and Paquin were very influenced by the ballet and separately created garments with oriental influences. Poiret's designs of 1910-1911 were thought scandalous. First World War Era This is the era between 1914 and 1918. It is a period of great change internationally in Europe in particular. It is a time of female emancipation when skirts first shortened to show calves and more practical clothing emerged as women did war work. 1920s - The Flappers and Bright Young Things A flapper was initially a derogatory term, but soon was used to describe any young woman of the mid 1920s who wore cloche hats, bobbed her hair and favoured shorter skirts whilst she shimmied the night away dancing the Charleston. The same mixed partying set was sometimes called Bright Young Things. Art Deco and the Roaring Twenties Art Deco originated in Europe and became known after the correct name of the 1925 Paris Exhibition. The exhibition was called The Great Exposition Des Arts Modernes Decoratifs Et Industriels. The style was most popular in the Stylish Thirties as well as between 1920 and 1940 by which time it had refined itself.


The artist Ert was a master of Art Deco. The sets and costumes for stage and film that he designed influenced other fashion designers between 1915 and 1936. The Era of Utility Clothing - World War II - 1939-1945 This period covers rationed clothes under the Civilian Clothing Utility Scheme particularly in Great Britain during the 19391945 World War. The period extends beyond the war's end and it is only in the 1950s that austere garments were replaced en masse by more lavish use of fabrics and full skirted dresses. Basically this can be seen as a modern use of the old idea of sumptuary laws.

The New Look Era After Dior launched his new fashion designs in 1947 Life magazine dubbed it 'The New Look'. Although dated from the 1940s, it is quite a separate look from the austere military influenced garments of wartime. The New Look remained fashionable for about 10 years well into the late 1950s. Christian Dior would have been 100 in 2005. Hollywood Glamour Girls Hollywood Glamour is a style associated with about 30 years of film from the early 1930s to the late 1950s when the great female stars and studio starlets set the trend in hair, make up and clothes in the thirties and 1940s. In the 1950s colour films helped fuel the fascination for filmgoers. The stars lived and breathed glamour on and off set. After World War II , Hollywood glamour helped define the groomed consistently glamorous look of the 1950s. It is a look that few film stars still


manage to pull off continuously. The best survivor of the starlet era for glamour in the 21st century is the actress Joan Collins. Era of Ready to Wear - Prt--Porter Mass production improved so much between 1945 and 2000 that the period ever since has been one primarily of ready to wear rather than Haute Couture. In France ready to wear is known as Prt--Porter. 1950s - Era of Rock and Roll and Teenagers For the first time ever during the 1950s, fashion was specifically designed for young women and men. It was the first time the word teenager was coined. The clothing separates that were popular were inspired by American university campus fashions young people wore when jiving and rock and roll dancing. Elvis Presley and James Dean typified the angry young man in the teen uniform of jeans. Era of the Mini in Swinging Sixties London In 1966 Britain earned the label 'Swinging London' from Time magazine. Mary Quant exported her youthful short mini dresses to America. In London strings of individual retail outlets followed her, producing clothes for the new teenage mass market. The mini era of the 1960s was born and taken up by the generation of baby boomers. Because British pop music, in particular that of the Beatles was also so fashionable worldwide, Britain was seen as having its finger on the pulse and the new mini fashion was all part of that. Op Art Era


Op Art was a term coined in 1964. Bridget Riley popularised this with optically distorted geometric patterns in black and white produced a whole range of movements on a surface. When applied to fabric it created a new bold look in fashion and accessories. Many garments were split into sections with colour contrasts after the paintings of Mondrian and this was an important fashion look in the 1960s. Flower Power Era and Ethnic Folkloric 1960s- Early 1970s In the USA, by the mid 1960s flowers, clothing, music and freedom protests established an era. Garments from far flung parts of the middle and far east became the adopted uniform of a generation. From Afghan coats, Romanian and Indian peasant embroidery, cheesecloth, safari and Nehru jackets to Art Nouveau, flower power took hold of hippies or flower children. Watered down versions were adapted by Yves St. Laurent and reached the mass market, but they never had the authenticity of the looks individuals produced by fashioning their own ideas. Elements of the ethnic look are also know as the 'Hippy Era'. This look in various new formats was regurgitated through 2005 as the eclectic ethnic bohemian look.

Disco Fever Mid 1970s Disco clothes were never for work, but for a weekend of fun, posing and dancing. Trousers that flared, figure hugging shaped sharply cut jackets in pastel colours that glowed in the disco light were elevated to new heights by platform shoes. Silver and shimmering Lycra, sequin boob tubes and stretch catsuits sum up an era that was set alight by the film 'Saturday Night Fever' and the Bee Gees singers.

New Romantics Era 1980s The New Romantics chose themes from Hollywood, fiction or history and then adapted it to make a personal look. The look was dramatic, flamboyant, colourful and very dressed up with great attention paid to detail. The wearers appeared to have made an effort to look sartorially interesting using frills and fabrics associated with historical periods. A watered down pretty pretty New Romantic look, was worn by Diana the Princess of Wales in her early years and she became a fashion leader. The feminine look soon moved into mainstream fashion. Power Dressing and Yuppies Era 1980s In the late 1970s, fashion designers showed garments with oversized shoulders and oversized clothes on slender women. John Molloy's 'Dress For Success' book advised women to dress for success by wearing suits. He advised women to at all costs abandon cardigans which he maintained was a secretarial look. The recently updated book is now a huge success again. The then UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher seen on TV news daily, echoed these power dressing ideas in her structured suits, even taking it into wearing structured brocade evening suits rather than flimsy chiffon dresses. Whilst women don't wear power shoulders as such today many do adopt the formality of the suit for business power dressing. The wedding dress of Diana Princess of Wales in 1981 sported huge puffed beret sleeves last seen in the 19th century. The television series 'Dynasty' also emphasised the shoulder, simply because the star Linda Evans had naturally wide shoulders. To make her shoulders appear normal every other actor had their garments shoulder padded and designed to appear wider. The very influential 'Dynasty' was watched primarily for its fashions by a global audience of over 250 million viewers.

In the 1980s the combination of all these factors led to women wearing clothes with ever widening shoulders, dressing in the way a man had in order to ascend the corporate promotion ladder. Wide easy fit shoulder padded clothes were seen for over ten years and graced everything from the suit to the T-shirt to knitwear.

Grunge Grunge was based on fashion started by a youth cult in the Pacific North West region of America in the early 1990s. The key to the look was that nothing matched, nothing was coordinated and an item was preferable if old and worn. The point was to look tousled, uncombed and unkempt, as if not too much effort had been made. Many consumers thought it pointless. Actresses like Julia Roberts who adopted the look were heavily criticised for their lack of glamour. Only those under 21 could get away with this look and Grunge died within a year, but left the fashion term. It is frequently used now to describe unattractive fashion features or unkempt individuals. Deconstructionism Deconstructionism questions the rules and breaks conventions in fashion. It includes putting seams and zips on the outside of a garment showing the inner construction workings of tailoring that in the past were the hidden features. It recycles old fashion and makes the undesirable part of dress such as a laddered stocking a desirable feature. Hussein Chalayan, Martin Margiela and Comme des Garons are all deconstructionists, but Zandra Rhodes first did this 25 years ago when she put huge pinked sig zag seams on the outside of wool coats. Minimalism

Minimalism describes pared down clothes in neutral tones in clean and sculptural shapes Quality fabrics in solid neutrals, with minimal detailing were first seen as a reaction to the glitz and glamour of 1980's styles. It became more popular in the 1990s. It is functional, urban subdued understated clothing which is never out of date. Purism Purism uses the neutral tints and shades associated with white, grey and beige. It is an expensive, quiet, unobtrusive uncomplicated look based on good cut. It lacks superfluous embellishment in its pure uncluttered simplicity. It is easy to wear and never feels out of place because it consists of simple functional items that are reduced to the basic elements of elegantly cut modern classics. It uses virtually no jewellery to accessorize the look. The designers Jil Sander, Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani and Calvin Klein all strive to produce modern classics within the framework of pure functional natural simplicity. Bo Ho Hippy Bo Ho Hippy emerged in the 1990s and is a pretty millennium version of the hippy look of the 1960s and 70s. Fashion Designers such as Ghost and Tom Ford have developed variations of the look putting together dreamy velvet trimmed, beaded and embroidered items. The early look mainly started by Ghost used lots of chiffon, bias cut cowl dresses, soft floating fabrics often teamed with little velvet trimmed cashmere cardigans. Ford's later versions used lots of braids, beads and embroidery, crunchy toning lace, fringe, fur, patchwork and animal prints.

Embroidery especially is often an embellishment on garments from peasant style to glamorous evening dress. It is in total contrast to the minimal style. By 2002 it was featured heavily by many other designers on most catwalks east and west. 2005 was the summer of the Boho gypsy tiered peasant skirt! This fashion look was global and by autumn 2005 elements had morphed into the Russian look modifying Boho into eclectic ethnic.

A Final Word on Subcultural Styles

Subcultural styles first developed around the 1940's. Subcultural styles were identified in a book called Surfers Soulies Skinheads and Skaters - Subcultural Style From the Forties to the Nineties written by Amy de la Haye and Cathie Dingwall, with photography by Daniel McGrath. The book was written as a supporting document for a Victoria and Albert Museum fashion exhibition called Streetstyle Exhibition shown in November 1994. Subcultural streetstyles include Afrocentric, B-Boy, Beatnik, Bhangra, Caribbean, Casuals, Cowboy, Cyberpunk, Eco, Fetish, Funk, Gay style, Glam rock, Greasers, Grunge, HeadBangers, Hippy, Hipsters, Indie, Jungle, Madchester, Mod, New Age, Northern Soul, Old Skool, Preppy, Psychedelic, Psychobilly, Punk, Ragga, Rasta, Rave, Rude Boy, Skater, Skinhead, Soulies, Streestyle, Surfer, Techno, Teddy Boys (Teds), Travellers, Two Tones, Workwear Rockabilly, Yardies, Young British Radicals and Zoots. One interesting point is how some of the styles have been picked up by designers, adapted and invaded the catwalks so that we now see many of these once original and styles as high fashion innovations in mainstream clothing.