Evening Dress, December 1809

Le Beau Monde and Monthly Register, December 1809.

“Evening Dress.”

The magazine Le Beau Monde or Literary and Fashionable Magazine was published by John Browne Bell (husband of the famous modiste Mrs. Mary Ann Bell) and his partner J. Decamp beginning in 1806. In April 1809 it was sold to John Tyler who renamed it Le Beau Monde and Monthly Register. Tyler was only able to keep it going for a year. The magazine folded forever in April 1810.

During that last year under Tyler, the style of the fashion prints changed. Clearly new artists were used. The new artist or artists had a soft and beautiful hand at rendering faces. And although there was a small section devoted to fashion, titled COSTUME, the descriptions of the fashion prints were much less detailed than those of the original publication, and sometimes there was no description at all.

At least here, we have a pretty decent description of the dress, but nothing as lengthy and detailed as those from the original Le Beau Monde, which may well have been written by that publisher’s wife, Mrs. Bell.

We see hats worn with evening dresses throughout 1809-1810, disappear for the most part 1811-1816, then reappear more frequently beginning in 1817. The hat in this print is called a Tyrolese hat, which looks more like something one would wear with a walking dress or carriage dress. But fashion is never static, is it? Always experimenting.

This print is described in the magazine as follows:

“Tyrolese hat and dress tippet of royal blue or purple velvet; the hat ornamented with a white feather, silver band, and trimming round the top; tippet trimmed with ermine or swan down, lined with the same, hollowed out at the neck so as to sit close, ornamented with a silver tassel.

“Dress of white or orange sarsnet, with a train and long sleeves, made very high and short in front and back, and so low on the shoulder as to leave them almost bare; ornamented down the front, and the top and bottom of the dress, with rich embroidery, in gold, silver, or colours,–White kid gloves, white or yellow satin slippers, trimmed to correspond with the trimmings of the dress.”

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