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



Friday, July 1, 2016

Empire and Restoration court dress - "Costume Parisien", 1804-19


1804-5. France went by the French Republican Calendar from 1793 to 1805; these first plates are dated "year 13".

Napoléon proclaimed himself emperor in May of 1804, and for the first time in fifteen years, since the commencement of the French Revolution, France had a royal - or, rather, imperial - court. The luxury demanded by and lavishly displayed at the Tuileries, Fontainebleau, Compiègne, St. Cloud exceeded even that of the greatest days of the ancien régime, and Paris was once again fully the cynosure of the fashionable world; in form and embellishment the court dress of the other European kingdoms slavishly followed the French lead. Ten years later, after the fall of Napoléon and the return of the Bourbons - in the prodigious shape of Louis XVIII - the silhouette of regulation dress at the once again merely royal court differed little. But in general, the trimmings became heavier and less graceful, there was something of a nostalgic and often awkward layering on of pre-Revolution excess, and much of the refinement and elegance of the glamorous Empire was lost.

1804-5.
1804-5.
1804-5.
1804-5. Men's court dress differed very little from that of the last days of the ancien régime.
1808.
1809.
1809.
1809.
1809.
1809.
1809.
1810.
1811.
1812.
1812.
1812.
1813.
1814. The white lilies in the coiffure are a clear indication that the Bourbons have returned to power.
1814.
1815.
1816.
1816.
1817.
1817.
1819.





4 comments:

  1. The early Empire acknowledged and ennobled the human form, taking its cues from the symmetries that exist within us all. The later iterations fell further and further away from this noble ideal, as is our typical behavior, until we found ourselves accoutered in rather absurd, and overblown clothing that referenced the body beneath not very much at all. It was a series of exaggerations that culminated in the 1860s.

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  2. At the beginning of his mandate , once he tamed Les Merveilleuses (starting with his wife) with their transparent dresses, Napoleon decreed the re-opening of the ancient silk factories and through his wife influenced the new fashion.

    Looking at the beautiful illustrations you're showing us Stephen, I saw the word moiré=watered silk. It was the favorite fabric of Maria Eugenia de Montijo.
    I'm not going to apologize for my spelling or misspellings. English is my third language.

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    Replies
    1. I've never noticed any problems with your English, Maria; you express yourself quite well!

      Yes, whatever his flaws, Napoléon was a boon to the Arts and to the luxury industries. It's also my understanding that in a few cases he used fabrics created under the ancien régime but that had been in storage since; the amazing silk hangings in the Empress' state bedchamber at Fontainebleau had been woven for Marie Antoinette, but hadn't yet been used at the time of the Revolution.

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