French Court Dress, September 1816

La Belle Assemblée, September 1816.

“Parisian Court Dress.”

I have often thought that there was so many French court dresses published in La Belle Assemblée in order to show the contrast between the English tradition of wearing hoops with the current high waistlines with the more fashionable French court dresses that were not worn with hoops. Perhaps in hopes that seeing how much better the French dresses looked would inspire the Queen to abandon her insistence on hoops. Such was not to happen, though, until the Prince Regent became George IV in 1820. He declared that hoops were no longer required for court dress.

All of the French court dresses in La Belle Assemblée were copied from prints in the Parisian magazine Journal des Dames et des Modes.

The print is described in the magazine as follows:

“Petticoat and train of white satin, superbly ornamented round the border and sides with flowers and coloured foil. Body of white satin or silver tissue. Short full sleeves of white satin, richly ornamented with point lace, and surmounted by imperial wings formed of a triple row of the same material. Toque of white satin, encircled round the forehead by a bandeau of pearls or diamonds. The hair in curls, à-la-Ninon; superb plume of full white ostrich feathers, and court lappets of fine lace. Ear-rings and necklace of diamonds. White kid shoes with very small rosettes; white kid gloves, ornamented at the top with a narrow fluted quilling of blond.”

The original print from Journal des Dames et des Modes  is shown below.

This print was published in the July 25, 1816 issue of the French magazine. You can see that the two prints are almost identical, with only minor changes to the face. The French print was designed by popular Parisian artist Horace Vernet, and engraved by Pierre Baquoy.

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