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My professor claims “David himself was greatly responsible for such a collapse of high art and ephemeral fashion. The example of his paintings combined with his impact as Revolutionary iconographer had encourages a pervasive adoption of classical dress, particularly by women.”
This makes me so angry I shook my fist at the book (and then the screen again when I wrote it out). I’ve never read such horrible inaccuracies ignorantly and shamelessly proclaimed as truth. I cannot handle this.
Marie Antoinette en Chemise by Madame Vigée-Le Brun, 1783
My art history professor claims that Jacques-Louis David is responsible for the shift in fashion from the ornate, structured eighteenth century garments to classically-inspired, columnal gowns of the Regency period - but I, however, credit this woman right here. I daresay a woman in power and in the public spotlight had much more stylistic influence than a man painting Roman women on the sidelines of his history paintings, no matter how beautifully rendered his paintings or how popular he was!
Just as a kicker, this portrait predates David’s Oath of the Horatii, showing women in Roman garb, by one year.
EDIT: I meant my prof. is claiming David brought about the shift to EMPIRE/REGENCY style dresses, not that he caused the chemise/gaulle dress trend. My point is that M-A’s initial popularization of the gaulle dress gradually transformed into a more relaxed, simple, and classical mode of fashion that we see in the very late 18th century and first quarter of the 19th century. There were also other factors, like an adoration of classicism (history of the Roman republic, Latin and Greek language, Roman and Greek authors, etc.) in general, and of course the French Revolution’s condemnation of overtly gaudy representation as debased. I don’t know about you, but if my noble friends were being killed as disgustingly ornate examples of society’s downfall, I’d tone down my dress a little too!
Queen Louise of Prussia by Nikolaus Lauer, 1798
That’s quite a unique and lovely bodice!
Day Dress | 1880 | Met Museum
Madeleine Vionnet Evening dress | 1938 | Met Museum
I haven’t seen this movie and I don’t plan to because from what I’ve heard it’s absolutely horrid, but SWEET JESUS LOOK AT THIS DRESS. Eiko, why did you have to go?
Bringing this back for Eiko.
Eiko shoulda won for being Eiko.
As a costumer myself, it’s impossible to look at this and not understand the sheer time that the complexity and detail would have required. And true, the designer themselves don’t necessarily assemble their designs, but they are involved in every aspect of their pieces, including picking out and approving the very trims and embroidery designs that are applied on gowns like these. Eiko most definitely deserved a win.
Cover art for Ladies Home Journal Feb 1922
Yours truly was lucky enough to land a summer internship at the famous Western Costume in Hollywood - so it looks like I’ll be gaining more expertise to apply to this blog! And we all love some good research and information, right?
Portrait of Marie-Gabrielle Capet, 1798. by Adélaïde Labille-Guiard (1749-1803).
Adelaide Labille-Guiard was the great rival of Elizabeth Vigée-Lebrun, but without family or artistic connections. Her skills were developed over a period of years, and she only began to exhibit her works in her late thirties. She first learned the art of miniature painting, the traditional art form in which women not only participated but dominated.
In the 1780s, she was admitted to the Royal Academy, and she attracted a number of prominent clients, including King Louis XVI’s sisters. Her exhibitions were popular, but she never quite equalled the fame of Vigée-Lebrun. Their rivalry was part of the Parisian artistic scene before the Revolution. Frequently, their pictures were hung side by side, inviting comparisons.
Unlike Vigee-Lebrun, Labille-Guiard was a supporter of reform, and painted a number of figures who had criticized the court and the crown. Subsequently she stayed in France during the Revolution. In 1791, she exhibited fourteen portraits of the political elite including Robespierre and Talleyrand. She used the Revolution to further the cause of women artists, and in 1790 she addressed the Academy on lifting the quota for women in that institution. The motion was opposed by David and failed.. Nevertheless, her tenacity during the Revolution gained her many commissions. The passing of the first divorce laws permitted her finally to marry her partner of many years. She died in Paris three years later, in 1803
This post doesn’t mention that she not only attracted the sisters of Louis XVI as one-time clients - she was the First Painter of the Mesdames! That’s very official. She was one of only four female Académicians admitted at once, along with Vigée-Lebrun, and they were both extremely popular and successful. We’ve all but forgotten about Labille-Guiard in favor of Vigée-Lebrun now, but it wasn’t the case then.
After all, Labille-Guiard was the artist chosen by the Académie to paint Louis XVI before his execution. One other artist was also chosen to depict the king. And his name? Jacques Louis-David. If this female artist was deemed just as worthy to paint a portrait of the king as David, she enjoyed a great amount of prestige and fame at one point in her life. (Note: neither of the portraits were completed.)
And as a side note, I know the date “1798” is all over the internet connected to this portrait of Labille-Guiard’s student, but I really think it must be 1789.. because 1798’s fashions looked like this!
EDIT: the new tumblr set-up 100% sucks, so I have to link to the fashion plate. http://pinterest.com/pin/236790892879676980/