Les Incroyables et Merveilleuses: Fashion as Anti-Rebellion

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boilypdc.jpg
Point de Convention (Absolutely no agreement)
Louis-Léopold Boilly 1797
A Merveilleuse is mistaken for a prostitute
and refuses the coin offered to her.

The Muscadins (or Incroyable, the Incredible) first appeared around 1792, known for their royalist sympathies and so named for the musk perfume they wore in defiance of revolutionary austerity. They re-emerged after the fall of Robespierre, ending the Terror, and were key thugs in what has become known as The White Terror, a backlash against jacobin oppression, violence, and Robespierrean virtue. The jeunesse dorée roamed the streets of Paris drinking, toasting the monarchy and lashing out at patriots with sticks. And they looked fabulous doing it. Typified by their adherence to ancien regime knee-breeches and exaggerated English style frock coats with impossibly large collars, and powdered hair dressed outlandishly in either multiple braids or "dog-eared" style, cut short in the back à la victime and long beside the face. They were literally roving bands of angry dandies. By the late 1790's however, sporting a Muscadin hairdo would no longer get you arrested (as it could in 1795) as the various styles were adopted and absorbed into the fashionable and ephemeral society of the Directoire.

Aileen Ribeiro says of this image (les Incroyables) :

Caricaturists found a perfect subject in the form of the masculine fashions of the late 1790s. Both young men wear tight-fitting square-cut coats with huge lapels, and knee-breeches decorated with loops of fabric. Their political sympathies are not necessarily clear. Although their culottes date from the ancien régime, their printed cravats are working-class in origin; and, while the man on the left wears his hair plaited at the back à la victime, the man on the right has a revolutionary cockade prominently pinned to his hat. Both have shaggy hair, the side locks falling like spaniel's ears. The implications seems to be that fashion is more important than ideology.

Fashion in the French Revolution, Aileen Ribeiro


Les Merveilleuses, or Marvelous Women, ruled the live fast, die young social whirlwind that took over the salons of Paris after the Terror. At their front Thérésa Cabarrus Fontenay Tallien and Joséphine de Beauharnais (later Empress) both of whom just barely survived the Jacobin regime. It was partly on Thérésa's behalf, with whom Tallien had been conducting a torrid affair, that he spearheaded the Thermadorian take down of Robespierre and the Montagnards. The à la Grecque style typified by Thérésa, Joséphine, and Madame Récamier consisted of clinging, flowing classical Greek and Roman styles in white silks and muslins, draped with brightly colored shawls and ribbons edged with classical motifs. The once allegorical fashion left the painters studio and took to the streets and ballrooms, their dainty feet shod in golden sandals, and dresses dampened to enhance their cling (though wearing knitted flesh colored stays and stockings to preserve a vestige of modesty). Madame Tallien though was the real deal, and famously appeared at the Paris Opera wearing a white silk dress without sleeves and sans petticoats (gasp!). Charles Maurice de Talleyrand commented: "Il n'est pas possible de s'exposer plus somptueusement!" ("It is not possible to exhibit oneself more sumptuously!") [source: wikipedia]. Hair was worn curled and dressed with ribbons à la grecque or clipped short à la victime or à la titus, in emulation of the last haircut the condemned received before being sent to the guillotine so as not to impede the blade. This short and sassy style lasted amazingly til the early 1800s, but never caught on in England or other countries, unlike the empire waisted dress, which proved the silhouette du jour for nearly thirty years.

jeunesse02.jpg
1791
Revolutionary Dandy, note hercules club for patriotic debate
jeunesse01.jpg
early 1790's les Incroyable
Note exaggerated hats and lapels,
aristocratic pastime such as gambling
incroyable1792.jpg
1792 Victoria & Albert Collection
1793-1778-contrast-wholeplate-lowQ.jpg
1793
"Ah! Quelle Antiquité" and "Oh! Quelle Folie que la Nouveauté!!!"
1778 meets 1793
17421794.gif
1794 meets 1742
isabey_le-depart-le-retour-1794.jpg
1794 le Depart et le Retour
Jean-Baptiste Isabey
1795_cendres_marat.jpg
1795 Muscadins knock over a bust of Marat [source]
Jeune_fille_brune_en_négligé.jpg
Anon. 1795
Jeune fille brune en négligé
[source]
tallien01.jpg
1794-95 (possibly) Madame Theresa Tallien by David
isabey_theresia_cabarrus_1795.jpg
1795
Theresa Cabarrus (later Tallien)
Jean-Baptiste Isabey
Andrea-Appiani_josephine_as_venus_1796.jpg
1796 Joséphine Beauharnais as Venus
Andrea Appiani [Source]
isabey01.jpg
1796 Le Petit Coblentz
Jean-Baptiste Isabey
mervelleuses04.jpg
1795-96 A Merveilleuse as seen on the boulevard. Note the hair à la victime, in immitation of the toilette du condamne.
1796gilr.gif
1796 English Caricature
merveilleuse1796.jpg
1796 Merveilleuse in her exaggerated bonnet & classical motif scarf
alagreque.jpg
à la Grecque
propios.jpg
le Incroyable
Costumedebal.jpg
1796-97 Costume à la Sauvage et à la Grecque
cUrbana1796.jpg
1796
incroyable01.jpg
1797
Faites la Paix
Léopold Boilly
incroyable02.jpg
1796 Les Incroyables
by Jean-Louis Darcy after Carles Vernet
incroyable03.jpg
Palais Royale during the Directory
incroy-boilly01.jpg
Léopold Boilly
jeunesse03.jpg
1797
L'Anarchiste
mervelleuses03.jpg
Late 1790s Directory Soiree
merveilleuses05.jpg
Late 1790s Palais Royale [source]
mervelleuses02.jpg
The Directory. Allegory warning women about being 'bought'.


plate16.jpg
1798 Portrait of a Young Woman
Circle of David

verninac.jpg
1798-99 Madame Raymond de Verninac, born Henriette Delacroix, elder sister of Eugène Delacroix by David
1799shwl.jpg
1799 Mervellieuse


1800_Madame_Recamier_Jacques-Louis_David.jpg
1800 Jeanne Françoise Julie Adélaïde Récamier
Jacques-Louis David

1800crks.jpg
1800 Parisien Ladies in their Winter Dress
English caricature by George Cruikshank


Journal des Dames et des Modes: Fashion plates and the followers of fashion 1797 - 1800. [source]

guillotine: Being summoned to execution
Plate No. 25, 1795-96
Note the hair à la victime, in immitation of the toilette du condamne.
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1797_homme.jpg
Plate No. 16, 1797
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_1797_peckini.jpg
Plate No. 13, 1797
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1797_crepe.jpg
Plate No. 52, 1797
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1797_roselles.jpg
Plate No. 39, 1797
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_1797_capote_anglais_fichu_croise.jpg
Plate No. 8, 1797 Fichu en Croise
journal_des_dames_1797_capote_anglais_fichu_croise_2.jpg
1797 Fichu en Croise detail
journal_des_dames_1797.jpg
Plate No. 16, 1797
journal_des_dames_1797_cocarde_en_feuilles.jpg
Plate No. 12, 1797 Cocarde en Feuilles
journal_des_dames_1797_natee.jpg
Plate No. 58, 1797
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_1797_Ceinture_de_velours_noir.jpg
Plate No. 14, 1797 Ceinture de Velours Noir
journal_des_dames_1797_victime.jpg
Plate No. 9, 1797
Chignon à la Grecque, entrelacé avec un Fichu de couleur, Bandeau en Cheveux, Collier de Perles, Ceinture à la Victime
victime01.jpg
Plate No. 37, 1798
Croisures à la Victime
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
Elegant-Couple-Dancing-the-Waltz-from-Costume-Parisien-1798.jpg
Plate No. 52, 1798
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1798.jpg
Plate No. 80, 1798-99
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_1798_titus.jpg
Plate No. 100, 1798-99
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_1798_cornette_de_crepe.jpg
Plate No. 145, 1798 Cornette de Crêpe, à Longues Pointes
journal_des_dames_1798_demo_capote.jpg
Plate No. 81, 1798 Demi-Capote posée de côté, Fichu, Tablier, Ridicule
journal_des_dames_1798_d'or.jpg
Plate No. 151, 1798 Peigne d'Or, Fichu, Ceinture
journal_des_dames_1798_echelle_de_rubans.jpg
Plate No. 104, 1798 Chapeau de Paille, garni d'une, Echelle de Rubans
journal_des_dames_1798_minerve.jpg
1798 Chapeau à la Minerve, garni de Gances entrelacéea, Doillette bordée en Velours
journal_des_dames_1798_robe_overte_sur_le_cote.jpg
1798 Ceinture Croisée, Robe Overte sur le Côte
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799_amazone.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799_cannele.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799_chapeau.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799_cheveux.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799_minerve.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
journal_des_dames_et_des_modes_1799_paysane.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
2JOURNAL74301_victime.jpg
1799 Turban au Balloon, Ceinture Croisée. Redicule à Chiffre
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
2JOURNAL157302_1800.jpg
1799
from Journal des Dames et des Modes
2JOURNAL307300_1800.jpg
1800
from Journal des Dames et des Modes




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1 Comment

It's marvellous. I am not english and Ican say you more, but continue please.

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This page contains a single entry by Kallisti published on July 27, 2007 9:05 AM.

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