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Posts Tagged ‘colonialism’

These lovely paper dolls by Tom Tierney show the fashions of the middle/merchant class of the Baroque and Rococo periods.  Styles worn by the nobles and royalty were similar in structure, but much more extravagant and exaggerated.

 

PLATE 1

c. 1650    The woman wears a high-waisted dress with a falling, wide lace collar and turned-back lace cuffs common during the early Baroque era.  The man wears a cavalier-style outfit with a high-waisted jacket, wide lace collar, lace cuffs, and high boots.  Decorative canes became very popular during this period and many men would carry them around as an accessory.

 

PLATE 2

c. 1660    The woman on the left wears the German fashions of the period, with puffed sleeves, a small hooped skirt, and a fur hat.  The woman on the right is dressed in the Scandinavian style, with a brocade palatine or capelet over her shoulders and a white cap.  Both women wear decorative aprons and a “housewife” hanging from their waists.

 

PLATE 3

c. 1670    The woman wears a wide collar trimmed with ermine fur, a muff, a hood, and a velvet mask to keep out the cold.  Her underskirt is trimmed with gold embroidery and her bodice and sleeves are trimmed with ribbons.  The man wears a long coat, breeches with hose underneath, and a wide-brimmed hat with feathers on it.  He also carries a cane.

 

PLATE 4

c. 1690    The man wears Rhinegrave breeches under a long, buttoned coat, a lace jabot, and large boots.  His hair is worn long and free in the style of Louis XIV.  The woman wears a high fontage headdress and the stiff stomacher that returned to fashion in the latter part of the Baroque period.  Her decorative apron, headdress, and sleeves are all lavishly trimmed with lace.

 

PLATE 5

c. 1720    This period was a transition from Baroque to Rococo fashions, and so incorporated styles from both eras.  The man wears a long coat buttons at the middle, knee breeches, hose, and buckled shoes.  His sleeves are loose and cuffed, showing the undershirt underneath.  The woman wears a flowered robe à l’anglais with large cuffs and a lace collar.

 

PLATE 6

c. 1730    Both women wear a robe à la française in the “Watteau” or “flying” style, in which the back hung loose from the bodice.  Small panniers are worn, but only aristocratic women and royalty wore the ridiculously wide panniers.  The woman on the right’s bodice is adorned with ribbon bows down the front and has large cuffed sleeves.  The woman on the left wears a lace cap common during the period.

 

PLATE 7

c. 1750    The woman on the left wears a hooded capuchin cape trimmed with fur and ribbons.  The woman on the right wears a gown with large cuffed sleeves and a fichu around the neck and shoulders.  She also wears a mobcap tied under the chin with a ribbon.

 

PLATE 8

c. 1770    The woman wears a solid colored gown with embroidery at the opening of the overskirt and bodice.  A quilted underskirt is worn underneath.  She also has sleeves flared at the elbow and wears her hair powdered and curled, common during the last part of the Rococo era.  The man wears a brocade silk vest under a long coat lined with silk with large buttonholes down the side, as well as a tricorn hat and buckled shoes.  His hair is also powdered and is tied back with a ribbon.

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1650-1800.  The eras of Baroque and Rococo in fashion, art, music, and culture.  Their main similarity: practically defined and definitely dominated by the French court centered at Versailles.

Both eras shared their obsession with bright colors, lavish elegance, lots of gold, and all things French.  The French court, and more notably the Bourbon monarchs (Louis XIV to Louis XVI), practically dictated fashions of Western Europe during much of the 17th century and the entirety of the 18th.  France was able to take center stage of popular culture because England was wracked by civil war and Italy’s days of Renaissance glory were over and the country’s influence was fading quickly.  France became the center for lace-making and silk and brocade manufacturing and its many goods were in high demand in other European countries.  Even European newspapers would publish the latest fashions from France.  Little did anyone know that France would remain the fashion icon for hundreds of years to come.

These fashions did not only influence Western Europe.  This age was the zenith of European colonialism, especially in the Americas.  With the English, French, and Dutch in North America, Spain and Portugal in South America, and France and Spain in the Caribbean, European styles were running rampant throughout the Western Hemisphere.  There were also many European colonies in Africa, Asia, and Australia.  France could legitimately say that they controlled popular fashion all over the world, from that comparatively small, yet huge and lavish palace known as Versailles.

It’s amazing to think the French Revolution didn’t occur sooner.  The ridiculous separation from the lavish wealth of the aristocrats and royalty and the devastating poverty of the lower and even some of the middle class was obvious to all involved.  The wealthy perhaps didn’t realize the enormity of poverty around them, or simply chose to ignore it.  Either way, the seeds of the Revolution were planted during the reign of the Sun King and simmered under the surface for over a century before boiling over in the bloody events that changed history forever.  And the court at Versailles, as well as the excess the population there displayed with their clothes, became the symbol of the tyranny the rebels fought against.

And just in case the first painting of Versailles didn’t impress you enough, here is the groundplan of the palace and the surrounding gardens.  That little rectagularish building towards the right?  Yes, that is the palace with over 700 rooms in it.  Lets you know just how expansive the grounds are surrounding it.  If you want to see more images, this site has a lot of amazing, beautiful images of the palace.

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