L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e ~ D o s t o ï e v s k i

L a - b e a u t é - s a u v e r a - l e - m o n d e  ~  D o s t o ï e v s k i



Sunday, March 15, 2015

A last blossoming



The last days - the last two decades, specifically - before the French Revolution saw arguably the highest point of refinement in men's dress clothing. During the 1770s and 1780s, the line and embellishment of a man's suit of clothes - the justaucorps (knee-length coat), waistcoat, and breeches (combined, the precursor of the modern three-piece suit) - was at its most beautiful. The elegant proportions of the garments were matched by their sumptuous fabrications and lavish embroidery. But the true marvel of these clothes - like a matador's traje de luces, of which they are a more refined, but not too distant relative - was the cohesiveness of the whole - the remarkably skillful blending of a relatively sober base pattern and an overlay of exquisite, frankly feminine ornamentation - and how well they suited and flattered the male form.

(The same as above. It is said that this fine suit of clothes was worn by the
Swedish Count Axel von Fersen, the beloved of Queen Marie Antoinette.)
(Detail of above.)
(Same as above.)
(Same as above.)
(Detail of above.)
(Same as above.)
(Detail of above.)
(Same as above.)
(Detail of above.)
(Detail of above.)
(Circa 1790, these are certainly the latest of the garments featured here, and are meant for a less formal setting than the other clothes in this post.)







12 comments:

  1. truly amazing -a real art form. I wish we wore clothes this beautiful today- men or women!

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  2. I'm DYING here. Of course I've seen a great many of these before, but I will never tire of seeing them again and again.
    Thanks for this fierce blast of glory.

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  3. The workmanship is almost beyond belief. I have a number of books featuring similar costumes and details and I never fail to be amazed at them. I try not to think of the workers stitching by candlelight when I find it hard to ever have enough light for stitchery projects. So gorgeous. Thanks.

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  4. Amazing. I can't imagine anyone wearing them doing anything other than standing up, or perhaps sitting with a tiny teacup balanced on one's knee. It's a wonder that the fabrics survived a few hundred years, but then, with all that time spent crafting them they must have been carefully stored under stern glances from the people who paid for them. Our garments, lacking such ornamentation, are merely off to the charity shop within a few years, where I buy them to wear in the garden.

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  5. Fascinating! It reminds me of "The Tailor of Gloucester" and "No more twist!".

    The workmanship on these garments is truly incomparable. Of course, we must remember that these clothes were very expensive when new, only for the wealthy and powerful and, being associated with grand occasions (like presentations at Court) they were cherished and preserved. I have read that many of the best embroiders of the 17th - 18th centuries were men, believable when you think of the countless hours that went into this work, truly a full time job!

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  6. It is a pity that Western fashion for men has become so sober-pin striped suits and maybe cufflinks as decorative elements. Traditional West African men’s fashion but also Indian men’s fashion still relies heavily on embroidery and fine fabrics without rendering these garments effeminate or comical in any way. Skill and craftsmanship are still greatly valued in these cultures.

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    Replies
    1. So true!! Western male clothing has become downright sloppy. It's painful how far it's fallen..

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  7. #13, counting down from top, the red velvet suit with gold embroidery: Looks like Bonaparte First Consul uniform?

    Talking about Count Fersen (sigh) did you hear about historian Evelyn Farr's new book, coming out in March I believe. Here's a link about what is it about:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3380115/Secret-love-letters-reveal-Marie-Antoinette-s-daughter-Sophie-illegitimate-love-child-Swedish-lover.html

    Other than that, after seeing such display of paroxistic beauty I'm becoming speechless.........
    Thank you, Stephen

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    1. Thank you, Maria. And thank you for the link! I'll check it out. : )

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  8. Have you ever wondered, Stephen why Marie Antoinette's second daughter was named Sophie? Do you want to guess whose favorite sister she was named after? That's right...go ahead...take a wild guess..........
    ;-)

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