Thursday, November 4, 2010

Fashions for November 1832—for evening

Thursday, November 4, 2010
Loretta reports:

Yesterday, we looked at some 1832 daytime wear.  Today, for your viewing pleasure, I present two evening dresses. 

No. 3.
Ball dress of white mousseline de soie over satin, the corsage is cut low, plain, and square, and is completely covered by the pélerine, which is of pink satin edged with blonde. The front and back pieces are separate, and shaped en fichu, the short point reaching even below the band, while the other ends, which are much longer, cross over the sleeve, and are fastened to the strap which confines it round the arm; this pélerine is without opening behind, and is fastened on each shoulder by a nœud of six coques of ribbon ; the band round the waist is of satin like the pélerine, and finishes behind with a nœud like those on the shoulders. The skirt is trimmed with large slanting scallops, formed by three rouleaux; to each of the points, placed uppermost, is fastened a sprig of pink reine marguerite with foliage, issuing from a leaf of satin edged with blonde. The hair is dressed in Grecian plaits, with a marguerite on each side, and one rising from behind the comb; the jewellery should be gold or pink topaz. White satin gloves and shoes.

No. 4.
A dress of oiseau de paradis satin, the corsage is drapé across the bust, with a stomacher in front, edged with narrow blonde delicately quilled; the sleeves are short, and fall in very full bouffants over a double ruche of quilling which confines it to the arm; just above it. in the middle, is placed a bow of satin ribbon, with long ends. A blonde chemisette shades the bust.

The skirt set on in deep double plaits, en colonnes, and is finished by a superb flounce of blonde, headed by a row of triangular fan-like ornaments, edged with quilling.

The hair is dressed plain in front, with a full spreading coque on the crown of the head, behind which is placed a plume of white feathers; one, the longest, is brought more in front, so as to fall over the right temple. Necklace, sévigné, and aigrette of pearls and emeralds. Shoes and gloves of white satin.
From The Royal lady's magazine, and archives of the court of St. James's, 1832.


Chris Woodyard said...

What is oiseau de paradis satin? I see a reference to a manteau of white oiseau de paradis satin later in the same magazine, so it apparently doesn't refer to the color.

Isabella Bradford/Susan Holloway Scott said...

I wondered that, too, Chris. A quick google search shows it's still used in modern fashion (as well as "Oiseau de Paradis" being a Shalimar perfume) but no description. Any of our fashion-wise readers know what bird-of-paradise satin looks like?

LynS said...

Romance heros (with much seductive permission) are always pulling the bodice down to free the woman's breasts. If they are easy to ease down, how the heck do they stay up? I don't see them having doublesided toupee tape (ala Jennifer Lopez's green dress) to help preserve their modesty.

Meg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Meg said...

I wonder if the "bird of paradise" refers to the color of the satin. Here's a photograph of a so-called bird of paradise, and the colors are quite similar.

Chris Woodyard said...

I thought that was the most logical explanation too. However, a description of another fashion plate in the same magazine describes a "manteau of white oiseau de paradis satin", so apparently it doesn't refer to the color.

Anonymous said...

My guess was that it a woven brocade pattern, like a small bird's-eye; a tonal design resulting from the cross weave. But that's only a guess.

LorettaChase said...

I had thought "oiseau de paradis" referred to a type of satin with some sort of yellowish or golden iridescence, but I'm not positive. The book _Elephant's Breath & London Smoke_ has this: "Oiseau de paradis--the ground is of a yellow tint, approaching to that of oiseau de paradis, but not quite so bright, La Belle Assemblée, December 1829." We're then referred to the color Bird of Paradise, which is "the golden yellow in the plumage of the bird-of-paradise." That source is an 1825 La Belle Assemblée. I keep thinking that a white oiseau de paradis is a white satin with a golden or yellow tone.

LorettaChase said...

Lyn S, I think the dresses from the Regency era might have been a little easier to pull down. There seems to be more complicated construction to the bodice in the 1830s, and more underwear, so I think there would be some bodice ripping involved to get it down. But I do try to keep in mind that it's a romance, and some artistic liberties are bound to be taken. We gloss over decaying teeth and venereal disease, and so some of us redesign the clothes (not to mention the sex) to fit the mood and/or fantasy. Personally, I find it more interesting and challenging lately to actually contend with that complicated construction and underwear--but it is quite a hurdle. And then, we need to keep in mind that a determined man can usually figure out how to get a woman's clothes off. I'll bet he knows exactly where those hooks and pins are.

Lexi Best said...

Of course I had to check teh google to see if anyone explained what bird of paradise satin was. Didn't find an explanation but expect it has something to do with the weight and drape of the fabric. It appears to be stiffer than a charmeuse or a crepe back satin.

My research raised another question for me. What is blond?
I assumed it was a pale coloured lace but I found a result that contained black blond. So now I am newly confused. So it goes. ;o)

Lexi Best said...

And about the historical sex I find it interesting that so many pictures of people um enjoying themselves doesn't involve disrobing at all. Just hitch up the dress and pop the breeches buttons and you're good to go!
Of course we much prefer our modern sensibilities when we read and gloss over the difficulties of both disrobing and rerobing.

Lexi Best said...

Ooops! By pictures I meant contemporary works by Rowlandson and others. I seems to me that only in artistic works where the artist would have been able to "legitimately" disrobe the female by calling a goddess or something like that could the viewer anticipate the act would take place in the altogether.
Unless we're talking about the turn of the 19th century fashions, then it seems anything could go.

LorettaChase said...

Lexi, blond is silk lace. There's a bit about it on Wikipedia
Blond doesn't refer to the color but the type of lace. I address this matter in my newest book (coming to a store near you in July 2011). Susan & I have talked about the people in the prints not taking their clothes off. In City of Laughter, Vic Gatrell tells us that people had sex with their clothes on. Easy to understand that for a couple of reasons: one, England's cool climate and no central heating and two, the clothes, esp. women's clothes, took a lot of time to get into and out of, unlike today's clothes. However, in the prints by Rowlandson et al, the woman's breasts are usually completely exposed (sometimes the whole woman is exposed while the man still has his undone breeches on or around his ankles), and the close up views I've had of those early 19th C bodices indicates that they came down or apart without too much difficulty. And that upper part of the corset was more accessible, too. Another thing: the necklines could be very low, barely covering the nipples, but the lady would wear a fichu or similar kerchief sort of thing, which could be easily removed.

Lexi Best said...

Thanks for the info on blond. i didn't know that.
Interesting what you wrote about the fichus. When you look at the styles of the 18th and early 19th centuries in paintings you HAVE to figure that nipples would have been if not actually exposed, then practically exposed, if not for the fichus.
And then when you think about some fichus being lacy or sheer then some of them would have been enticing.

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