Monday, June 25, 2012

Compare and Contrast: Fashions for June 1820 and 1829

Monday, June 25, 2012

Loretta reports:

I thought to do a little compare and contrast today.  These June fashions illustrate how women’s dress changed between 1820 and 1829.  By the later date, the waistline’s come down, the skirt is swelling out, and sleeves are starting the steady increase in pouffiness that will reach a truly entertaining phase in the 1830s.

No 1.—FANCY BALL DRESS. White slip of gros-de-Naples,* under a frock of fine net, richly embroidered with silver, and trimmed in the most splendid manner with geranium colour and roses of real silver lama.** Head-dress a diadem bandeau of diamonds, with a regal coronet and plume of white feathers. White shoes of figured gros-de-Naples, and white kid gloves.

From La Belle Assemblée.  Publisher J. Bell, 1820

No. VI.] JUNE, 1829. [PRICE 2S.

Dress of Aurora colour crêpe aërophane*** over a satin slip of the same colour; the corsage made close to the shape, displaying to advantage the fine formed bust; it is made extremely low on the shoulders, and adorned in the centre and sides with pinnatifid**** columns of satin ; the sleeve short and very full; the skirt is ornamented by tucks half a quarter wide, extending half way up the dress : pinnatifid columns extend perpendicularly, and give a grace and finish to this novel kind of dress.

The head-dress is composed of an Aurora coloured hat, profusely decorated with large plumes d'Autriche and large bows of striped gauze riband ; under the brim of the hat, on the left side, is placed a rosette, composed of blonde***** and riband, like that which decorates the crown. Pearl necklace ; white satin shoes and sandals ; white kid gloves.

R. Ackermann's Repository of fashions [4th ser. of the Repository of arts, literature, fashions, manufactures].Published1829

*"a corded Italian silk similar to Irish poplin; 'lutestring, now termed gros de Naples'" (English Women's Clothing of the Nineteenth Century, C. Willett Cunnington)
***thin crinkled semi-transparent fabric
****like fern fronds
*****silk lace


Darlene Marshall said...

I sometimes wonder if the headgear we see in the illustrations was actually worn to the event, or if it's like fashion in the 21st C. where what you see on the runway isn't what real women wear. That 1929 feathered confection looks damned unwieldy.

Thanks for sharing the pix and the explanations of fabrics!

Darlene Marshall said...

Sorry, that's 1829, obviously.

Kathy said...

They went from comfortable and attractive clothes to tightly corseted and ugly clothes in only ONE year.


Julia said...

I find it interesting that in the 1820 image, there are already clear signs that the fashion makers / wearers have enough of seemingly simple, light fabrics and cuts - the dress looks stiffer, and I can't imagine those huge lamé roses on a classic Regency outfit. They look like they belong on a couch! And the words to describe it all sound more formal, too. ("regal", "coronet").

And then nine years later the fasionable world stopped being shy about their desire for shiny & stiff & tight-fitted. I remember a phrase from a temporary source: "The women have grown tired of comfortable dresses and long for the pains and discomforts of their grand-mothers."

I'm in two mind about that "new" (hah) fashion. It probably looked better in real life because we see an idealized version with an ideal that isn't ours. On the other hand? It reminds me a bit of the current tendency to revive the scariest trends of the 80ies, topped with play-dough colored nail polish.

As for corsets: Those will never lose their strange appeal. Show me one period movie in victorian or baroque times where the costume designers jump on the chance to put the actresses in tight corsets.

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