Last time on Closet Histories, which was admittedly weeks ago now, we began discussing fashion in the 17th century. I tend to have focused (so far) on primarily English fashions, probably because I am somewhat obsessed with English history. That doesn't mean interesting things weren't going on in fashion in the rest of Europe, it just means I am biased. Anyway, today I thought we would take a short look at some of the other styles popular in the 17th century over on "the continent" of mainland Europe.
|Fig. 1 (1628) Fig. 2 (1632) Fig. 3 (1641)|
|Fig. 4 (1667)|
|Fig. 5 (1653) Fig. 6 (1665) Fig. 7 (1653)|
Hoping down to Spain we see a rather unique style of dress. Though Spain had been a fashion leader during the 16th century, Spanish styles began to lag slightly behind in the 17th century. This could be because Spain as a whole was a more conservative country at the time, and older styles like the ruff and the Spanish farthingale held on longer. The most unique feature of 17th century Spanish dress was the gaurdinfante, the wide oval shaped farthingale seen in the portraits above. Similar to the earlier French farthingales, the gaurdinfanta was popular with Spanish women from mid 17th century. The large wide skirts, though a derivative of an earlier and narrower French style making them old fashioned in their time, actually seem miles ahead when you know the large paniers of the 18th century are just around the corner. The style was part of formal court dress and was not necessarily a mainstay of everyday dress, most women would wear smaller versions of the style or simply pad out the hips of their skirts.
|Fig. 8 (1666) Fig. 9 Fig. 10 (1650)|
Now lets talk a bit about the French, those foremost fashionistas. After all, the Baroque was the time of the Sun King Louis XIV and the building of Versailles! The ladies in Fig. 8&9 were both mistresses of Louis, Louise de La Vallière and Catherine Charlotte de Gramont. The lady in Fig. 10 is Anne-Marie-Louise d'Orléans who was one of the wealthiest heiresses in history. All three ladies are wearing the popular more "casual" style of the mid 17th century. The wide off the shoulder neckline are accented with find linen handkerchiefs or collars. The white linen chemises pouf out, sometimes with frilly lace cuffs, at the ends of the sleeve. All three wear a stiff conical shaped bodice which is embellished with jeweled buttons or pearls. Each has an accessory in "flame" orange, the favorite color of the king. The color was popular at court, and you can spot it in many portraits from the time as ribbons, wraps, feathers or as the main color of a gown.
|Fig. 11 (1661)|
I realize this post is rather stunted in its coverage of 17th century continental fashion. Though I could go on and find more examples of French, Italian, Austrian, Polish....etcetera fashion from the 17th century, I simply am not that devoted to the 1600's! It is pretty and interesting, but my heart belongs to the 18th century and I am eager to push on into the 1700's as soon as possible! That doesn't mean we are done with the 17th century though, I still have an extant gown to show you, the Puritans to talk about, and the later part of the century to cover. It is funny how some eras of fashion have more appeal to us individually than others do isn't it? In any case, more historic fashion coming up soon, even if I have been out of the swing for a few weeks! I'll find my footing again and on we'll go!
Thanks for reading!