I am a complete sucker for historical dramas and I love the culture of the 18th century; fashion, literature and music. I have seen Amadeus, the movie, about 15 times and I go through periods of interest in Voltaire’s and Rousseau’s radical ideas and enlightens. So doing a period style dress was something I have wanted to do for quite some time.
It would be very nice to narrow down this photo session we did with Linnea to a certain era of the 1700s. Together with my sister Amanda, who is a stylist, we pinned it down to the era of rococo. I will be back soon with an accurate version of the baroque fashion, but for now here are some words on the contemporary politics and fashion.
I am very aware of the established aristocrat’s terrible behaviour. The enormous difference between the lives of the rich and noble families and those of the common people. Interesting reading is also the fact that the aristocrats were regarded different in England than in France. The french were the snob of the snobs and considered it disgraceful for anyone of high, noble birth to soil his hands with agricultural or industry, or earn his living by manual labour. The french aristocrats was an exclusive club whose members had to be born to their position in life, and their only concern was to increase their own power and wealth.
In England, however, a man could gain aristocratic status by working hard and common girls were able to marry into aristocracy. So the ordinary folks in England never regarded aristocrats as total parasites like many did in France. Were people grew venomous hate and took a long-awaited revenge with the grisly fate of the guillotine and manslaughter during the revolution in 1789.
And now… to the shallow and fantastic world of fashion.
The fashion for women of this period in the 1700s reaches heights of fantasy and abundant ornamentation, especially among the aristocracy of France. It was a time of revolution in the western world and the changes in fashion often reflected that. Variation was the essence from the early baroque’s rich and flamboyant of colors and opulent fabrics with exaggerated motion to produce drama and tension from Rome, Italy, to the french era of the rococo’s ornate style and the Marie Antoinette’s extravagance and well-documented cloth expenses. Bottom-line: Rococo is therefore characterized by grace, playfulness and lightness in contrast to the heavier themes and darker colors of the earlier baroque period.
Can you imagine how a visit to the toilet must have been with all those hoops of skirts? A pain in the butt for sure. The skirts were shaped like the basket in which chickens were carried to the market (panier = korg in swedish), to a gradual change to simplicity and comfort with the bumroll or the bustle. Now you know why the “french doors” were invented ; )
Hairstyles in the Rococo were ridiculously elaborate and I am sure hair was subjected to various tortures. Wigs or hairpieces with decorations like ribbons, silk flowers and even tiny false birds in miniature cages was common.
The make up was white, the more pale face, the better. This was a way for nobility to indicate their greatness and superiority towards the peasants. The rest of the face accompanied with ravishing cheeks, dramatic eyebrows, big, round shiny eyes, an alluring mouth and flourishing beauty spots. But just like the ancient egyptians they made use of harmful minerals to color their skin. The heavy foundation and powder contained lead. Oh, dear… no scientific laboratories of course, so after the body easily absorbed the poison, the side effects of severe pain, nausea blindness, paralyzation and even death was a fact.
Anyway here are some photos I took of Linnea B. Enjoy!