French Ball Dress, January 1807

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, January 15, 1807.

“Coeffure Ondée, à la Titus. Tunique de Crêpe sur une Robe de Taffetas.”

There is so much going on with this dress that it looks like it might have been made in 1817 instead of 1807.

The under-dress is white taffeta with an interesting border at the hem of blue flowers and ribbons. The tunic, or over-dress, is made of celestial blue crepe with a vandyked hem, several inches shorter than the under-dress. It has short, but very full, puffed sleeves slashed to reveal what looks to be ruched white satin. The sleeves are each adorned with a white daisy. A larger white daisy adorns the center of the waist at the back. And there looks to be a rather large corsage of flowers attached to the front of the bodice. Altogether, a very fussy dress for this period.

She wears white gloves, probably kid, and we can see the tie on her right arm that is meant to hold up the glove. As in many British prints, the tie is worn loose so the gloves can fall below the elbow, revealing a bit more skin.

The slippers are white with a bow at the vamp and two ties over the instep, worn with white clocked stockings. Even in British prints, ball dresses are generally shown with a shorter hemline than other evening dresses, probably for ease of dancing. But this hemline is shorter than usual, especially for this early period. Perhaps to show off the elegant dancing slippers?

The hair is cut short, in a very full and wavy version of the popular Titus style.


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