Saturday, July 21, 2018

Marie Antoinette

The playful Marie-Antoinette run about the sumptuous rooms of the Palace of Versailles, before they cut her head, accompanied by her retinue of young ladies (anyone who has watched the movie is  already visualizing it) wearing those elaborate robes à la française that they were very fashionable in the eighteenth century and leave one with their mouth open. The topic of this week is not only about that, but about the differences between the above,the robe a l'anglaise and  the robe à la polonaise. So let's go to the matter! (and taking note!).

Robe à la française (1750).
Photo cortesy by Palais Galliera.
Probably the best known one is robe à la française mostly made of silk (what other fabric could be, right?!) Several petticoats on a frame created the impressive volume and all this was under the skirt which was fixed to an anguished corset (I guess that dressing would take time). So far nothing extraordinary, but this kind of dress had a couple of singularities. One of them was the Watteau pleats that went from the neckline to the floor and they were like a kind of cape, and the another one was the triangular stomacher whose mission was to cover the corset. All of it very ornate with ribbons and embroidery. The sleeves covered the arm from the shoulders to the elbows and they were decorated with lace. Robe à la française disappeared after the French Revolution and the dresses began to simplify... a little.

Robe à l'anglaise (1770).
Photo cortesy by Lacma.

Let's follow our Fashion History class, and now it's the turn of the robe à l'anglaise (I hope you are paying attention to each word because I am not going to repeat it twice). It was simpler than the previous one and practically the excess of ornaments disappears. The skirt was cut in front and it showed the matching petticoat. Its volume was achieved because the pleads were sewn below the waistline in a "V" shape, and this gave it an elegant look without being excessively ornate. The bodice was fitted at the back forming a long stitch. In front, matching laces with the fabric were used and the two panels were attached by buttons. The sleeves were simpler and they narrowed to the elbow. Needless to say, silk was the queen (again).

Robe à la Polonaise (1775).
Photo cortesy by Lacma.
And finally, we have the robe à la polonaise (I think it is the most creative one of the three).They say that its origin was in the costumes that the peasants used for their daily tasks. The bodice was closed at the top front center and then it opened to the sides leaving a triangular gap where a false waistcoat was added. But its original feature was that the overskirt was rolled up by small laces and it formed wonderful pleads giving a fragile appearance to the silhouette. The sleeves were three-quarter length that could be topped with fine ruffles.

Well, everything is already explained. Now I want to watch "Marie Antoinette" again (will it be my plan for Saturday night? Hmm ... maybe). But first a coffee.

See you next week, vintage lovers!

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