French Evening Dress, January 1812

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, January 15, 1812.

“Coeffure en Cheveux. Robe de Cachemire.”

This dress is full of lovely details. The white underdress or chemise has short puffed sleeves edged with a ruffle at the shoulder. The bodice of the gold cashmere robe, or overdress, has abbreviated sleeves that fall down over the shoulder, revealing the ruffled sleeves of the underdress in a very pretty effect. The top edge of the outer sleeves and the waist are adorned with the same trimming that has hints of pink or red. The bodice is pulled into a sweetheart neckline with a sort of tassel that matches the trimming.

The lower third of the dress is adorned with a large paisley pattern. The skirt looks as thought it might have been made from an Indian Kashmir shawl, but I suspect that the paisley section is applied, as it is edged with the same trimming seen on the bodice.

The model carries a shawl, which might also be a Kashmir shawl, but could just as easily be of printed India muslin. It’s difficult to tell from the print, and no description is given. French prints, much more than British prints, often display a shawl in this way, holding it out a bit so we can get a better look at it. The Empress Josephine had a thing for Indian shawls, so perhaps the magazine honored her by giving so much attention to them in its prints.

The earrings are made of some sort of green stone, which is echoed in the large stone in the center of the bandeau in the hair, both nicely complementing the gold dress.

The print is signed by the artist, Jeanne Deny, and the engraver Pierre Baquoy.

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