Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Stealing Kisses Inside Hats in 1810

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Susan reports:

When we last saw the fashionable young Parisians of Le Supreme Bon Ton, they were swimming together with a vigorous freedom that seemed astonishing for 1810. Now the ladies and gentlemen are back on shore and dressed in their fashionable best, which, for the ladies, includes the new style of deep-brimmed hats. While the hats shown were doubtless exaggerated by this artist, the name given to the wearers ("the invisible ones") does imply that the wearer's face was well-hidden. Undaunted, the gentlemen seem determined to pursue the ladies inside their brims, and make the most of the privacy the hats provided – with clearly mixed results.

But while at first glance this print seems to be satirizing the fashionable headgear of the ladies, I believe the gentlemen, too, must be feeling the artist's sharpened barbs. Consider these amorous swains. Exactly how long must their necks be, that they'll be able to reach their ladies' lips for a kiss? And what misfortune has happened to their breeches? Over and over we read about the provocatively close-fitting breeches favored by young gentleman in this time period, and yet the ones these poor fellows are wearing are...not. 'Nuff said.

Except, of course, what's satirical sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander, even in the land of the Bon Ton.

Above: Les invisibles en Tete-a-Tete, from the series Le Supreme Bon Ton, No. 16; artist unknown; published by Martinet, Paris, c. 1810-1815


Rowenna said...

As funny as the couples in the foreground are, the two ladies trying to converse through their trumpet-hats are even funnier to me for some reason! I imagine the bonnets working like megaphones :)

Miss Kirsten said...

That's really funny. They are like a couple of cheerleaders yelling at each other through their megaphones. And what is up with those pants? They look like diapers!

Anonymous said...

Interesting to see that while the women's bonnets are mocked, the rest of the clothing is drawn like a regular fashion plate, down to the shawl. But everything about the men is made to look foolish. A nice change. It's usually the other way around.

Jolene said...

Am I the only one whose naughty eyes are drawn to the umbrella handle of the gentelman in the foreground? Clever, that.

Karen said...

I am not an expert on fashion by any means, but it is my understanding that breeches were, in fact, very loose fitting, especially through the backside. They were meant for riding, where ease of moment was important. Pantaloons were the tight-fitting, show everything "pant" of the day. However, romance writers have been reluctant to use the word pantaloons and so many just write about close-fitting breeches.

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

Very amusing comments here! Jolene, I have to admit that I, too, looked at that umbrella handle and said what tha? I even enlarged it to make sure I wasn't posting something that would upset Blogger. *g*

Karen, waaaaaay back when we first began this blog, Loretta wrote a couple of posts describing the cut and fit of gentleman's breeches from about this same era. We had the rare opportunity to inspect a pair closely in the tailor's shop of Colonial Williamsburg, and yes, Loretta even...unbuttoned them. Here are the links, with photos:

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket