Monday, 27 January 2014

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Janvier 1811 - No 5 & 6

Issue No 5, published January 25, 1811


Gravure 1118

Toque fourrée, Redingote Garnie en Chefs de Cachemire

Filled Toque, Redingote (woollen dress) decorated with ribbons of Cashmere. Have a look at her waistline - again the fashionable fringes we've heard about earlier this month.


Redingotes of black velvet, blue or purple wool, poppy-coloured merinos, with fringes or decorated with marten, pelisses of satin with large decoration of northern fur (Imported expensive fur), douillettes, 6/4 shawls with bunches (We can assume, flower bunch pattern, they start to become fashionable now) and fur capes are currently in fashion; but we don't forget the spencers, what show themselves little by little on the Terrasse des Feuillants (that's a part of the Tuileries Gardens If you have ever visited, it's the part with the trees and the restaurant) and the muffs what are much rarer than by the end of last winter.

Current models have no belly (deep pouch), as former ones; they have the same size overall, and are not larger in the middle than at the ends, the fur is neither long nor short shorn, and as of yet they are not mismatched. The capes, besides their brown detachable border-trim, sport still their trim of iridescent feathers. Many shoemakers offer lined shoes, but they are not usually worn: fur-lined brodequins (laced boots) are not more common.

Milliners employ fur only in piping, and there it's only a fur imitation, a mere silk plush. (Check Sabine (link)'s entry for January with the trend for Silk plush as fake fur in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden!)

Big capotes are still the trendy item, and have recently developed a grand fabric knot on the side, with a bunch of flowers and a spray of plumes (feathers)


Other snippets

Silk and velvet have returned to be fashionable for habits for the grand costume. Tailors have already left heavier material as cotton or wool behind, and one would think the most distinguished ones might sully their scissors if they cut into anything else than silk, gold, silver or spangled cloth. 

The wigmakers dream up their own vision of pommade, powder, hairpieces, pigeon wings. Next to them the shoemakers think about wooden heels and shoes with big buckles.
Changing fashion, bagatelle, nonsense! No-one dies, and everyone thrives!

Of Spencers and Redingotes

The two halves of humanity imitate, foppishly monkey see monkey copy, they turn in circles of taste and ideas, of the same crazes; and that's only natural: The odd part in this observation is that they rarely arrive at the same spot together.
As an example, we are sporting spencers and the ladies were in redingote; we regain the redingote, and the ladies want nothing else than spencers. 

Last year, a dandy choose to wear a puce coloured spencer on top of a green habit: The more the colours clashed, the more striking the effect was considered. A spencer was conceived to be sufficient to protect torso and arms from cold, while not being cumbersome.
Today these reasons are not heard anymore. Spencers have completely fallen out of favour, and their use limits itself to small people, who's feeble imagination is curbed by their need to economise. Only redingotes paint a decent picture, only they are worn on top a fresh habit (suit), and last but not least, they conserve the feeling what should always be a young dashing man's appearance. 

Last year, a beauty told her husband: as soon as it only drizzles a little, the streets become terrible. Walk out on foot, equals a lost dress, but with a wool redingote, you are able to walk about all day long; when coming home a little time and a little brushing, you're as presentable now as when leaving. These advantages jumps to reason, and the husband would better not think to counter such arguments; therefor the tailor (le tailleur) is called in, the measures taken, and Madame will have her redingote.

Today it's a different tune altogether. A woollen redingote! God, is this a heavy garment! It oppresses me, once it's drenched with rain, it never dries. It shrinks, it singes when ironed, it gets dirty. It has all possible inconveniences imaginable! A redingote! Oh heavens! Everyone has it, and not one wants it any more. How could a woman possibly fitted out like that? When she has black laced boots, a beaver hat, some might mistake her for a man. This fashion does not suit a real woman at all. My friend, my darling, I respect myself too much, I respect you too much to keep up an appearance what must displease you. There's something much better fitting to our sex, and you yourself pressed me to adopt it. Look, look at my cousin, how she's graceful. What a figure! A white and light dress, a velvet spencer with a fraise (Chemisette-Ruffs are called "Fraise" - it's also the word for strawberry. In this case it's a white ruff, not a red delicious summer fruit), a toque heightened with a plume - that's how one should dress! And on the morrow, the seamstress (Couturière - note the difference: For the redingote the tailleur/Tailor was summoned) and the milliner have both gained an article with a shocking bill to be paid by the husband.

(The signature "Rôdeur" roughly translates as "vagabond". Clearly someone who would like his writing to be assimilated with someone who sees a lot, says what he thinks and gives not a second thought, as he'd be gone the day after… We will read more of his delicious epistles in later issues)

A man who unites in himself some goodwill as well as a very distinguished taste sent us the following note to share: The wigs by M Lambert, wigmaker/coiffeur at Rue de la Monnoie 30, adapt the head's shape to perfection, and as precisely defining the faces shape are undistinguishable from real hair (=ones own grown hair, not bought hair), his wigs don't slide off and are light yet solid.

No 6, published January 31, 1811


Plate 1119

Capote de Velours. Redingote de Velours, à Capuchon

Velvet Capote (soft hat), Velvet Redingote with hood


Some very cold days brought us a display of overcoats (orig. par-dessus, but they look as what we modern costumers would call "pelisse" or "redingote") of gros vert (some kind of artichoke, pale green) and vert pré (fresh spring green), embellished with marten fur. The headgear is, as usually very big capotes, mostly trimmed with tulle and decorated with a big bow. This bow has two remarkable features. Not only is it nicer pleated than a couple of days ago, but the ends are tied again, in a way to form two layers. The big oblong buckle is then fixed on the centre of the bow. One should also mention that more black capotes are worn than we're used to see, in velvet and in repp. 
For the big dress (grand parure = Sunday's best / Opera / Diva Style) velvet flowers, in the hair continue to be our fashion favourites. The headdress becomes more elaborate, turbans of lamé tulle and mousseline are coming. 
Saturdays, the uniform of the ice-skaters at the Bassin de la Villette consisted of a scarlet jacket, trimmed with astrakan (short shorn sheepskin) at collar and revers, with three frogged buttons across the breast. 
The most elegant dominos for masked balls are made of white or rose (pale pink) coloured satin instead of taffeta, plain and without decoration.

Other snippets

Oh, good day my dear woman, you're surely bringing me a hat? - What, madame, a hat? I bring you several for you to choose from. Look at this one, it's a modern casque as they have not been made yet. And look at this one, simple and without fuss, but certainly not without it's merit, as it suggests an elegant negligence: It's a smaller variation of a capote, what my husband invented not eight days ago, we still have boxes filled with decorated toques and morning hats. - Not at all, my dear friend, you misunderstood my intentions: I don't want a hat what one can see everywhere around. - But could you tell me at least your taste? Does Madame prefer to have her face hidden or exposed? Would Madame like satin or velvet, flowers or plumes? - I don't anything of the sort. I want that my hat has no decided form, neither round or pointed, neither single-couloured, neither patterned, it shouldn't look like anything, in one word, to avoid to look like everyone's; Meanwhile everyone, this translates into most of the ladies, have adopted this kind of hat: Or otherwise, how can we attempt to describe the way our ladies dress their heads? It's sufficient to state what you have, velvet or satin with the exception of cashmere, wrap it somehow around your head, and the more your headdress is odd, the more it is today's must be look.

A diamond parure (set of matching jewellery in this case) is without a doubt the most beautiful gift a husband could present to his wife, but one's mistaken to believe, that the gift of this parure relieves the husband of making other gifts of a similar nature. "What should I wear?" asks a lady, dressing for a ball. "That's easy", replies her husband, "your diamond parure." "Always diamonds", replies the lady, "must it be that me and my parure are understood as a single unit? As soon someone sees my diamonds, one says - Oh look, it's Madame … - this tires me, I want an emerald parure. The poor husband lays out for the emeralds, the emeralds soon follow the path of the diamonds. Topazes, rubies and saphires need to be bought. A fortnight already Madame sights after garnets, so Monsieurs needs to acquire them quickly, and watches his other half exchanging her saphires, her topazes, her rubies, even her diamonds for a garnet necklace.

A ladies tailor, called Bernard, recently published in Dresden a theory on the artful cut, illustrated with plates.

(Check out Sabine's site - she dedicated quite a some time already to Bernhard

The production of Tulle

Tulle is a net imitating lace, what is made on adjusted knitting frames. Mister Genton produced the first samples a bit over 30 years ago. In 1791 Mssrs Jolivet and Cochet both from Lyons obtain a inventors patent for the production method of tulle. Mr Galino and others have also occupied themselves with much success.

But as lace and blondes de soies are made in France with an astonishing level of perfection to a moderate price, tulle doesn't represent a grand advantage.

This differs quite a lot in England, where the population is less considerable. The English producers need to help themselves with an invention what applies to their machines, and what offers them the merchandise what they were lacking (Note: Due to limited imports of French lace)

That is where the results stems from, the further development of Tulle by the English, adding embroidery they imitate our needle embroidery, but quickly this fashionable article (tulle-lace) is introduced to France, our producers caught up on their advances, having made Tulle to perfection and the talents of our embroiderers joined the success of these (French) producers in such a way to push an English product off the market what had already steeped France deeply.

During the 1806 exposition, where Mr Bonard father from Lyon won a medal, he promised to outdo the English in the production of tulle: He held true to his word. He overcame great many obstacles to obtain this goal, one of the biggest challenges was the good constructions of the looms, the choosing and preparing of the silk, no thing suffered neglect by his side when obtaining the best materials, be it the white or off-white, or the thinness and lightness of the thread . For these excellence results required him to travel frequently into the silk producing counties, correcting the spinning, thus creating the best quality material to meet his demands.

The production of tulle, as the one Mr Bonard is particularly involved with, is one of the branches in manufacturing with a high add-on-value onto the merchandise. One square meter of this fabric only requires silk valuing 50 centimes, the value of the tissue itself is 24 fr. The same kind of fabric, when imported from England can cost up to 60 fr.

(Note: This article puts the production value of the tulle centerstage: The cheaper (English) tulle-lace appears to be pushing the needle-lace out of favour, and then the higher quality tulle lace pushing the English import aside, with lower costs and higher quality. There is also a lot of pride into the finer product, the craftsmanship and the quality control some producers obliged themselves to. Also underlining is the monetary and economic side of fashion. It's always money, and what a good product in comparison to it's production cost tulle fabric is.

For comparison for us modern readers: the Journal des Dames would cost you 36 fr per year. The income of an artisan is stated in another article as 1200 p.a. - 100 francs a month to feed a family. I need to check the average income, because it appears to be low as that, so don't take this information as written in stone. But the Journal des Dames is similar to a modern fashion magazine. Few of us can actually afford what's shown there, but we can always wear a trickled down and more economical approach of the style)

Read up what occupied readers in Germany & England in the same month:
Sabine is taking a closer look into the "Journal des Luxus und der Moden", Natalie tackles "La Belle Assemblée", Maggie devotes her time to "Ackermann's Repository". (I will link directly to their monthly entries once they are up)

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