French Walking Dress, May 1807

Journal des Dames et des Modes, Paris, May 25, 1807.

“Capote de Perkale. Fichu de Crépon.”

I think of 1807 as the Year of the Tunnel Hat. Almost exclusively in this year alone, we see hats with long, narrow tunnel-like brims. They are not wide brims that frame the face. They obscure the face entirely from every angle but the front. All prints that feature these hats show them in profile, as to see the narrow hat straight on would look rather silly. They give the wearer no peripheral vision at all, so they can only see what is right in front of them. As crazy as these hats are, they did last through most of 1807, but by 1808, they are blessedly gone.

Like most of these “tunnel” hats, this one is a capote, meaning a stiff brim with a fabric crown. There is not much of a crown with these hats, as you can see. It’s all about the brim. The description at the bottom of the print says the capote is made of percale. That likely refers to the crown only, but the stiffened brim could be covered in percale as well.

The only other description provided is for the red crepe fichu. The white dress, likely muslin, is quite low cut, hence the need for a fichu. The shawl looks to be embroidered, though it could also be printed.

The French always show much more color in their gloves than the British. Here, the long gloves are green, and the tight fit suggests they are made of kid.




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