In the first half of the 19th century, fashion was fancy, boldly embodied by elegant women and dandies.
· In Balance the Condoms
At the time, and for some time still, we did not go out in hair but hated. Trimmed with ribbons tied under the chin, fitted with a sun visor, these headwear follows the oval of the face, from which a few strands of hair escape. Bordered with satin or lace, they do not go unnoticed. It’s a question of balance. Without them, the head would appear very small vis-à-vis a bust that fashion makes imposing. When the coquettes abandon their hoods, they put on enormous swollen buns of hairpieces, surmounted by a comb said to be Spanish or giraffe. Men, themselves, inaugurate the top hat.
· Baroque Leg Sleeves
At the beginning of the 19th century, the very straight silhouette of the Empire years resumed forms. The skirt swells and the sleeves are puffy, reminiscent of those of the Renaissance, called troubadour. For now, they take the name of leg in memory of the plump haunches of some animals. Beautifully striped or flowery, in a falsely lacerated fabric, they swell the shoulders to the point of sometimes being as bulky as the bust of these ladies. Among the followers, the Duchess of Berry, daughter-in-law of King Charles X, who is said to be on the initiative of the genre.
· Jewel the Belt and its Buckle
The thin and flexible ribbon placed under the breasts gives way to the belt which returns to the strangles of the 18th century. Like the corset which makes its whales dawn again, it allows to refine the waist, more marked than ever. Of a beautiful width, cut in strips of fabric, it becomes a support of choice on which the elegant women have the idea of attaching a loop. Precious jewel decorated with enamels, inlaid with pearls, this one joins the useful to the pleasant!
· Head Start the Cashmere Shawl
Napoleon and his soldiers, during the Egyptian campaign, brought back these fabrics woven from the fleece of Central Asian goats, which they offered to their beautiful. Expensive, but so soft, warm and light, they quickly became an essential in the female wardrobe, to the point of being part of the wedding basket of a fiancee. Copied, printed, especially in Alsace, they are gradually democratizing.
· On Foot Flat Shoes
Tapered in the Middle Ages, bear paw and heel in the Renaissance, copiously ornamented before the Revolution, the shoes finally flattened at the end of the 18th century. An arrangement probably wanted by these ladies, especially the most eccentric, those who, under the Directory, are nicknamed wonderful. Because there is nothing more comfortable than these slippers to roam the streets, inspired by the Spartans and the ancient Greek cothurns.
· These Distinguished Gentlemen
The elegant ones are not the only ones to take extreme care in their toilet. Carried away by the wave of dandyism coming from England, the men also prided themselves on fashion, the French Barbey d’Aurevilly at the head. On a dark and plain frock coat, they let glimpse a waistcoat, the pinnacle of their fantasy, which they surmount with a cleverly knotted white tie. A top hat and a monocle complete this outfit, for which even the decoration of the pommel of their cane is studied.
· A Must the Handbag
Women are used to walking. They need a way to move around with their small necessities handkerchief, bottle of salts, needlework … All at hand, but otherwise than in pockets hidden under the skirts. Reticles, purses sewn with cashmere, embellished with embroidery and pearls … The accessory appears like a social indicator. If there can still be a little of this today, it has especially become for brands the repository of their style and know-how. In France, we make an average of ten million handbags per year.
· At Your Fingertips the Fans
In the big world, every woman “as it should be” thinks her outfit in every detail. Handkerchief, mittens, cane, parasol … Without forgetting the fan. This accessory, very fashionable since the 17th century, stood out after the Revolution. It is then said cathedral because of its Gothic profile stems. And the height of refinement the bouquet holder that completes the outfit of the ladies at the ball. This allows them to waltz without giving up on pretty fresh flowers.