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Picture of the Month


Fashion Plate, 1710s (estimated)

Detail image of the small figures on the right

I have no background information on above print except that it was made in Augsburg, Southern Germany. I have selected it because of some interesting features in the fashion displayed.

First, there is the lady's cap that looks a bit like a mug placed upside down atop her head. It seems to be made of lace. A ruffle and bow in front are reminiscent of the fontange, which was in the process of dying out in the 1710s. The dress appears to be a typical mantua with pleated sleeves, somewhat limp cuffs (later, the cuffs became stiffer) and a train. The narrow robings (lapels) are of a different colour from the rest of the dress - that's a relatively late style. A short apron, trimmed with ruchings, has a pocket, apparently with a handkerchief hanging out of it. What's interesting about the engageantes is that they are made neither completely out of lawn nor completely out of lace as was usual, but of lawn with a lace edging.

The gentleman wears a periwig with strange knots in front, a large tricorn hat under his arm and a very close-fitting justaucorps with relatively (for the era) small cuffs. The stockings with clearly visible clocks are pulled over the breeches. The shoe fronts are high, the buckles small and the toes square.

The small figures in the background are interesting because the two ladies to the right wear middle-class costume, i.e. jackets instead of robes. Information on middle-class costume of that era is hard to get by. The one to the right wears a late version of the fontange, a neckerchief, an apron and a patterned skirt that could be made of indienne, i.e. madder-dyed cotton. Augsburg had had a chintz manufacture since the late 17th century. Her vis-à-vis wears a close-fitting cap that may have a bow in back, like the Riegelhaube that was to become so typical of Bavarian costume. Do you see what she has on her shoulders? It looks to me as if the front is turning into a hood there, but it may also be a neckerchief.

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