Paris Fashions November 1887
Parisians are gradually returning to their gay and brilliant capital. Women of fashion and of independent means linger as long as possible in some health resort of the sunny South, or they settle down for a few months in their beautiful chateaux to enjoy the freedom and pleasures of a refined country home, and to take a share in the outdoor sports of the sterner sex.
To shoot in the fields, and to hunt in the forest, sportswomen are anxious to don unique though dashing costumes, copied as much as possible from those worn by their male friends, but transformed, so to speak, by the fairy touch of feminine taste and grace. The horsewoman being the most intrepid, we will for this reason first attend to her attire.
There is, however, really nothing new to report; the riding-dress belonging to the classic type allows of but a few changes. It has to be always of perfect fit, quite plain, and usually in black or dark blue cloth, although sometimes a green or an otter cloth may be preferred.
The clinging skirt just touching the ground is wisely provided with a curved seam, forming a slight fullness, in which the knee is molded; this slight curve is hidden when walking into a fold, obtained by looping up the extra fullness with a button.
The glove-fitting habit-bodice is fastened with small grelots (bells) in either silk crochet-work or plain gimp; the throat is encircled by a straight linen collar secured with a man's pin, and the close-fitting sleeves button over linen cuffs.
Below the breeches or tights, in grey, red, or beige elastic silk, the cloth gaiters reach, matching, like the silk stockings, the color of the habit. The high silk hat, de rigueur in town, is replaced in the country by a small hat in black, grey, or maroon felt, similar to those worn during the summer by our youthful élégantes who affect tailor-made costumes.
Such is the correct style of the riding habit as understood by French equestrians, but it is highly important to specify that this ordinary dress, if tolerated, is not considered in the best taste. The true elegance is to have the riding-habit harmonizing with the equipage or retinue of the hosts.
Short skirt, habit-bound with velvet, coquettish three-cornered hat in felt, lined with velvet, and trimmed either with feather or with a plain galleon, the whole chosen with a due regard to the specified colors, is considered a garb of supreme bon ton, and a compliment paid to the hosts.
It has, however, the great drawback of being an expensive fashion for women who during the season visit several friends, and to obviate this difficulty it has been decided to wear red habits.
When inviting her guests the chatelaine, frequently forwards them the bouton de Equipage, which is many a rosette in the colors of the retinue.
To receive this bouton from a princely house is a compliment If the Amazon dress does ant give much scope for the whims of fashion, such is not the case with the costumes adapted for carriage wear in which to drive to the meet. They must be rather dashing yet treated with a certain masculine simplicity.
The Picturesque Attire of French Fashion
The Directoire redingote, the Louis XIII and Louis XV vests, and the large Gainsborough felt hat decked with nodding plumes, are the salient features of the picturesque attire, made in special materials, notably in velvet encrusted with leather, in Rob Roy green cloth, perforated with open-work embroidery, and mounted on a bright foundation of scarlet flannel, and in several kinds of homely cheviots smartened up with velvet.
A short skirt partly concealed with a drapery deftly caught up in formal folds, a velvet waistcoat or a kid plastron, combine the most suitable accoutrements invented for such occasions.
Promenade Costume or Carriage Visiting Outfit
A costume in green silk velvet with scrolls in bronze kid is also admissible, as well as neater one in beaver-colored cloth, with a front in fur or Swedish kid, and a small partridge-wing or woodcock's head added to the waterproof felt hat.
The new jackets too, with their military braiding and froggings, completed with gimp epaulets and stylish hoods, are in excellent taste in such occasions when worn over a redingote of shaggy cloth.
A glance at our illustrations reveals the style of promenade costume and hats we are now wearing in Paris—for, truth to say, French women much affect stylish hats during this demi-saison.
The Outdoor Dress
The outdoor dress, designed by Mme. CavaIly, Boulevard des ltaliens, consists of Vandyke cloth, pinked out at the edge, and draped with a moyen-âge pleat over a black velvet skirt; the visiting outfit is formed of the two materials.
The Bragance bonnet has a crown, strings, and bows of pale green watered ribbon; the sides are black velvet with picotees embroidered in gold, and the aigrette is a graceful amalgamation of feathers and wings.
The Dubarry and the D'Estrées Hats.
The hats in the second engraving are designed by Mme. Virot, Rue de la Paix. The Du Barry is in moss-green plush, with a bow and strings of white and maize watered ribbons.
The aigrette is white. In the D'Estoées hat, which is of gray felt, the brim is turned up at the back, the large bow is of gray satin ribbon, and gray feathers intermingle with its loop.
Fashionable Activities for November 1887
The month of November is likely to be very gay in Paris this year. Many wealthy and aristocratic families have had to return to town unusually early to attend a few grand marriages, such as the one of the Duchess de Castries with the Vicomte Emmanuel d'Harcourt, and that of Mlle. De Behague with the Comte de Janay.
Numerous brilliant parties and festivities have necessarily been given to celebrate those fashionable weddings, and plenty of gaieties are in store for some, and plenty of work for others, which will impart a great impetus to all branches of trade.
Meanwhile, the principal firms devoted to women's requirements have for some time been busily preparing wonderful creations, both for these ceremonies and for the autumn season.
Mlle. Corbay-Wenzel has already on view a splendid assortment of new costumes and mantles to suit even the most fastidious taste. Amongst the choice, it is somewhat puzzling to select a few models illustrating the leading types of winter fashions.
Leading Types of Winter Fashions
There is quite a furor for antique watered silk, and the bright material, with its rippling waves, is seen on almost every dress and mantle, either as a sash, a bow, a drapery, or a panel.
Here, for instance, is an extremely ladylike costume in brick-red cloth, with a plain skirt in moire silk; a panel of the same material also brightens up on the right side the drooping drapery of the tunic, whilst on the left, it is raised high over the hip to display the skirt.
The Directoire bodice is fastened across a puffed front in pink gauze, by a wide tab secured on each side with glittering clasps of beaded gimp. Pekin, or striped silk, has been employed for two demi-toilette gowns.
In one, very wide satin stripes cross the moss-green Sicilienne ground and are used not only fur the skirt and the bodice, but for the paniers, which are gracefully looped up over the hips.
This drapery, carried to the back, falls in straight folds. The tablier and shirt are of self-toned China crape, sparingly but tastefully embroidered to correspond with the bands which frame the puffed front and are continued at the back as braces.
The other model of striped black moire and faille is much in the same style, but more suitable for a matron, as it is trimmed with black Chantilly lace instead of with embroidered crape; and with this lace, the blouse and graceful coquilles pleatings are formed.
Satin merveilleux is not altogether set aside, as proved by a charming gown made entirely of satin in the quiet tint known as "Cordovan leather;" the tablier is arranged in soft waves, and the back in rigid though artistic pleats, on each side of which sparkle pentes wrought in iridescent jet and chenille; the plastron displayed on the coat-bodice, matches these pentes or panels.
Corbay-Wenzel has also a great variety of pelisses prepared for the cold weather. The shapes do not apparently exhibit anything strikingly new, but the materials and trimmings are extremely elegant—indeed, gorgeous. The skillful weaving, artistic designs, and kaleidoscopic coloring are almost beyond description.
The wraps—out of the common run—are made generally of two rich stuffs. A graceful coat, in superb Genoa plush, close-fitting at the back, has its straight and semi-loose fronts in green velvet, as well as the pendent sleeves, which reach to the edge of the garment, and are all aglow with gimp silk and emerald beads.
The lining, in light green satin, contrasts softly with the deep emerald-green of the glossy pile; from the opening at the back a few pleats or kiltings of the dress-skirt escape, also in the plain green velvet.
Another cloak cut as a mante, loose in front and close-fitting to the figure at the back, is in black luminous moire silk, over which have been lightly thrown delicate traceries of plain satin; the skirt, kilted fan shape, is in velvet, and fastened at the waist by a huge gimp motif in silk and jet, shining between two hands of marten-tail fur; the quilting is in warm shade of garnet satin.
A redingote, in coarse-tinted vicuna, describing in front pilgrim sleeves, is closely gathered at the bend of the back, where an insertion is placed of otter-brown velvet between two gold galloons.
The small visite shape is still in favor. Here is one in green Bengaline, cut short at the back where the cape finishes at the waist.
It is ornamented in front with a plastron and long stole ends of blue fox, over which are attached beaded fasteners, alternating with fluffy bows of moss-green satin.
A simpler model is made with Tabac d'Espagne adorned with open-work, silk rosettes, and black jet. A motif in passementerie, with drops, secures the garment at the waist.
The pagoda sleeves, and likewise the collar, are bordered with black musquash fur, whilst the Louis XIII waistcoat is in black velvet.
As regards novelties in headgear, a visit to Mme. Virot, the "queen of milliners," will at once initiate us into the secrets of the most recherché styles.
In the renowned showrooms of the Rue de la Paix, the toque is the leading model. The beret (a kind of Tam O'Shanter), in gray cloth, appears as a souvenir from the seaside, where the picturesque cap was in great vogue.
However, when worn in town it is rendered more ornamental-- for example, with marabout trimming cunningly arranged as a scarf, and intermingled with large, upright loops of ribbon in silver gray satin, spangled with steel balls.
The same shape in willow-green moire is stylishly veiled with gold lace and encircled with a band of black feathers. The stiff loops, in black velvet, are caught up with tiny buckles in paste diamonds.
The Zamoijska toque, in moss green velvet, is bordered with a frilling of mordoré plush, blending of colors at present most fashionable. At the side and in front bows of green moire stand erect, and a cluster of quills or couteaux feathers in tinted green bronze.
The toque chasseur, in old-gold velvet, has its pleated crown crossed with a scarf in fawn-colored watered silk, whilst its peculiar high and pointed front is flanked with two quails, placed with their wings upward, to simulate aigrettes.
Another type of hat is in chestnut-brown velvet; maroon corded silk is used for the soft crown, and at the side is arranged a lovely aigrette, composed of a nest of loops, in moire ribbon, shot willow-green and pink, against which a woodcock is very cozily resting.
Varieties of Toques the Cocotte Model
To complete this enumeration of varieties of toques the cocotte model must be mentioned: in flame-red velvet, and with a crown of tan-colored moire, folded deftly so as to form two ears, framing on each side a large cock, with its glittering metallic plumage slightly flattened down over the top of the hat, and proudly raising its head in front with its cockscomb in flaring red velvet.
Imagine a sprightly brunette wearing such cap! Not less quaint, if less showy, is the Russian toque in phosphorescent green velvet, surrounded with a wreath of ears in fur in the center of which a delicate sable's head peeps out.
Johnstone, Violette, "November Fashions: Paris," in The Woman's World, Cassell & Company, Limited, London, Volume 1, No. 1, November 1888, p. 46-48.