French Full Dress, December 1804

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, December 1, 1804.

Coeffeur de Grande Parure, en Réseau. Robe de Velours.”

This beautiful red velvet robe with a long hem and demi-train is trimmed at the hem with piping of the same fabric that has been wrapped in what looks to be thin gold ribbon or cord. The same trimming is used for the shoulder straps of the robe. Beneath the robe is a white underdress which may be muslin, but as it is Full Dress (Grande Parure) it might also be a more elegant fabric such as sarsnet or satin. The underdress has short puffed sleeves and a simple ruffle or lace trim around the neckline and back. A white tie, perhaps of the same fabric as the underdress, is worn around the waist of the robe.

The hairdo is especially elegant. Thin braids are coiled around the head and held together with a net cap, similar to the snood that would become popular in the mid-19th century, and again in the 1940s. A beautiful comb keeps it all in place. Long drop earrings and the comb are the only items of jewelry worn.

The tiny object in the model’s hand is actually a fan. It is not a toy fan. At this time, fans become quite small, mostly due to the modern narrow silhouette that would no longer accommodate bulky pockets underneath the skirt, where larger fans could be tucked away.

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