It is after nine o'clock here in Belgium and I've just finished up studying my Costume and Fashion-course up until the 1840's. And it's a lot of terminology. I'm making an excel sheet out of my slides and course book, and it has up to 27 pages. It's a whole lot, I say!
One of my favorite parts in the reader is the evolution of Marie Antoinette's style (1755-1793). As you all know of Copolla's movie, women back then wore big panniers "à coudes" or "à la commodité" -since you could rest your elbows on it- under their dresses to give them extra volume on the sides. The queen of France combined it with a robe à l'anglaise with golden tassels in the picture below.
Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Marie Antoinette, 1778
Wenen, Kunsthistorisches Museum
Those side hoops were incredibly wide when it came to outfits for exclusive events. Just check out the width of this dress. And I always claimed that women were dressed so much better back then.
Coronation costume of Sophia Madeleine, 1772
Luckily, she did not wear only clothes that made women look like deformed monsters. One of my personal late 18th century looks is this 'robe redingote'. Since the dress is derived of the men's riding coat, it has a cute broad collar that falls over the shoulders.
Marie-Antoinette in robe redingote, ca. 1780
Since Marie-Antoinette wished to escape from her pressured life at the palace of Versailles, she fled towards the simple, rural country life, which in this case means getting your own private cottages on the domain itself.
In order for her to be a typical 'farm girl', she wore a "robe en chemise". As you can tell, it's a white, loose dress with a loosely pleaded collar and a deep neckline. A ribbon was tied around her waist. She made her country look complete with a straw hat, but however embellished it with ostrich feathers and luxurious ribbons, so that it would be fit for a queen. Although the portrait of Marie-Antoinette, by LeBrun, caused a riot at the Salon of 1783, the dress was an instant hit and was copied by wealthy damsels all over Europe.
By Elizabeth Vigée-LeBrun, 1781
Enough clothes for me today. If you wish to see a cool mood board inspired by the French queen, make sure to check out Insomnia's blog. She has done a great job.
More info on 18th Century-fashion, and portraits, here.