Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fashion Forecast: 1830

What was the well-dressed young woman wearing in 1830?

We’re in for a wild decade, fashion-wise. Just as passion for the picturesque had taken over the aesthetic sense of the time, with its accompanying romanticism, so did it in fashion: sleeves, collars, skirts, and millinery will go to extremes in size, hairstyles will attain new heights of elaboration, and women will have to learn to go through doorways sideways. If twenty years ago, fashion was all about vertical lines, in the 1830s it’s all about the horizontal.

Alas, Ackermann stopped publishing in 1829, so for the 1830s I’ll be dipping into other publications, especially La Belle Assemblee (and its successor, the Court Magazine) as well as a French magazine, Petit Courrier des Dames. We’ll try to have fun with these crazy 1830s, because by the end of the decade fashion...well, gets boring. And so...

From February’s La Belle Assemblee are this pair of Evening Dresses , in what appears to be a striped pink satin with full sleeves caught in just above the elbow with a band of fringed trim (which also appears around the skirt). Her companion in green has sleeves in a style we’ve seen for years: a short puff sleeve covered by a transparent oversleeve. Fur boas, as Pink is wearing, will be popular all decade...and that’s quite a turban on Miss Green, decorated with what looks like sprays of very narrow, fine feathers:

Interestingly, La Belle Assemblee seems to feature both English and French fashions. I happen to have both for the month of May, including the original text. Here’s what was said for the yellow Evening Dress on the left: A straw-coloured crape dress, over a gros de Naples slip to correspond. Corsage uni, cut low and square, and trimmed with a falling tucker of blonde de Cambray. Béret sleeve, finished en manchette, with the same sort of lace; a nœud of gauze ribbon, to correspond in color, is placed in front of the arm. The skirt is trimmed with a most superb flounce of blonde de Cambray, headed by a cluster of narrow rouleaus of satin to correspond with the dress. The trimming is raised a little, in the drapery style, on the left side, and adorned with two bouquets, each formed of a single flower, with buds and foliage. One of these bouquets terminates the trimming, where it is arranged in drapery; the other is placed at some distance below the first. The headdress is a crape hat of a shade darker than the dress. The inside of the brim is finished next the face, in a very novel manner, with gauze riband. The crown is adorned with white feathers, placed in different directions, some of which pass through openings made in the brim, and partly shade it. The jewellery worn with this dress should be a mixture of gold and pearls:

And for the French Fashions (a Dinner Dress, Carriage Dress, and Public Promenade Dress), here’s the descriptions:

Dinner Dress A dress of dark blue gros d’été; the corsage cut low and square, drapé across the bosom; the drapery lower than usual; the folds fuller; the sleeve quite tight from the wrist to the middle of the upper part of the arm, and from thence to the shoulder extremely full. The trimming of the skirt is formed of rouleaus arranged en treillage. The cap is an intermixture of rose-coloured gauze ribbon and blonde lace. It is ornamented with bouquets of roses. Necklace of gold and pearls, Ear-rings, pearls.

Carriage Dress: A pelisse composed of vapeur gros de Tours. The corsage, of the shawl kind, but, falling much lower than usual, is bordered with a rouleau of the same material. The corsage is open to the waist; the skirt ornamented down the front, en cœur, with the material of the dress, and rich silk cords and tassels. The sleeve is of uncommon width, but the fulness is arranged in folds from about the middle of the arm to the wrist; the folds confined by rouleaus placed three together; plain black velvet cuff. Richly embroidered chemisette, and small black velvet cravat, edged with narrow blonde lace, and fastened by a pearl brooch. The hat is of rice straw, trimmed with branches of myrtle, and vapeur and white striped ribbons:

Public Promenade Dress: A redingote of gris lavande gros de Indes. Corsage a la Louise very open at the bosom, with a large square collar. Sleeve of the usual form, finished with a velvert cuff, and a trimming of black blond lace. The corsage, and one side of the skirt, are also bordered with black blond lace. The lace is set nearly plain on the skirt, which wraps over, but very full round the corsage. Lavender-coloured gros de Naples hat, ornamented with bouquets of violets, intermixed with  nœuds of gauze riband, tartaned in different shades of green.

That’s it for my 1830 prints—for some reason, I seem to be a little lacking in this year. But here are a few definitions of some of the terms bandied about here:

Gros de naples: a sturdy, plain-weave silk fabric
Blonde: a bobbin lace originally made from unbleached Chinese silk thread (with a faint yellow coloration) Corsage: the front of the bodice. A corsage uni is a front cut in one piece, without seams.
Chemisette: a garment of muslin, cambric, or tulle worn to fill in the space when the front of the bodice descends in the center (think of today’s camis)
rouleau: decorative bands around a skirt or sleeve
redingote: A lightweight coat, often belted
What do you think of 1830’s fashions?

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