Thursday, March 03, 2011

"New Things in Fashion": Fashion Plate No. 23, August 1795, a "Luxus" Translation

A Translation from Journal des Luxus und der Moden

Now, what you just may have been waiting for...the fashion plates and their descriptions from Luxus. So, what's the news for August? Because of the time lapse from reporting to publishing, the reporter dates his news the second of July. Here is the translation of the introduction to the two fashion plates for the month, and then the first fashion plate and its accompanying description.
Photo: Plate 23, August issue

As always, click on any image to see a larger version.

Page 394

2. Aus Teutschland
* * den 2. Jul. 1795

Zu meinem lezten Berichte vom 10. Jun. habe ich Thnen (???) noch beiliegende zwei Figuren nachzutragen, weil sie zwar keine auffallend neuen Moden enthalten, sondern, eben so wie meine vorigen Zeichnungen, nur Muster, wie unsre eleganten Damen sich anjezt kleiden, liefern.

Die erste Figur, (Taf. 23.) ist eine junge Dame in einer Chemise von Linon, mit kurzen Armeln, woran der Leib under der Schärpe mit gefalteten Spizen garnirt ist. Die Schärpe von blauem Bande ist vorn unter der rechten brust in eine Schliese gebunden davon die Enden herabhängen. Das Halstuch ist unter den Armen durchgezogen und unter den Schultern geknüpft. Um den Hals ein schmales Collier von weissen Spizen; das Haar geschlängelt-

page 395

raus und fliegend; der Aufsas ein Bandeau von weissem Linon mit zwey Schleifen, und Festons von Perlenschnuren, worin ein Puf von blauem Atlas steht, welches nach hinten-zugetheilt ist, vorn ein kleiner Federstuz -- vollenden das eleganten Negligee meiner Dame.

2. From Deutchland
the second of July 1795

To my last report from June 10, I have still the adjacent two Figures to add, because they indeed contain no fine, remarkable new fashions, but rather, as with my previous examples, they furnish only patterns of how our elegant Ladies are now clothing themselves.
The first Figure, (Plate 23), is a young Lady in a Chemise [dress] of linen, with short sleeves, whereof the body under the sash is garnished with folded lace. [See my note, below.] The sash of blue ribbon is tied in a bow right under the right breast, from which the ends hang. The fichu [literally, necktowel] is drawn through under the arms and tied under the shoulders. Around the neck a narrow collar of white lace; the hair curled [geschlaengelt-raus] and flying; the headdress [Aufsaz] a bandeau of white linen with two bows (?) and festoons of pearl strings, wherein a pouf of blue Atlas [satin] stands, which is distributed towards the back, in front a small feather aigrette -- completing the elegant Negligee of my lady.
Here's hoping that translation got things fairly right :} Any corrections or clarifications you wish to add? (March 4 note: thank you again, Sabine! What a kind help you are!)

Let's have a look at the text again, along with image details. First, the dress is made of linen. Not cotton. Many costumers have been leery of linen for chemise dresses, thinking that cotton would be the most fashionable choice. As we learn here, a fine linen was fashionable too,

The dress itself is quite plain: all the effect is in how it's worn and its accessories. The bottom hem is undecorated (see full plate, above) and the sleeve ends are plain (see detail image below). Also look at the neckline. I am fairly sure that the gathering string in the neckline is set down a bit so that you get a bit of ruffled header. If it were lace whipped on or a tucker, the text would say so, given the other fashion plate descriptions I've been reading in the same magazine. In linen this gathering would drape and fold very nicely.

Now, to that bit where the reporter says "whereof the body under the sash is garnished with folded lace". If we look at the plate in detail below, it would appear that there is a gathering of extra fabric just under the sash. Apparently this is at least in part lace? So that there is a sort of peplum effect. A Grecian-ish sort of styling I haven't seen much of elsewhere. Interesting.

Our fashionable lady's morning toilette does not include drawing her neckerchief over her decollettee chemisette-style. You can see this a number of times throughout Luxus, and you can also see it in some Gallery of Fashion plates, too. So, at least as reported in this issue, covering the neck and upper chest was not de rigeur for morning dress/daywear. Instead, the neckerchief, which must be a long one, decorates the shoulders and then is tied in back. In the drawing it appears that the fabric is a square, folded in half into a triangle so that the striped golden edging is doubled. Pretty.

A side note. In some Gallery of Fashion plates, you can see long shawl-like or fichu-like or neckerchief-like contraptions treated rather similarly; those are often ruffled. A further side note: this way of wearing a neckerchief/fichu was to become very popular in the late 1860s to early 1870s. At that period, the thing was labeled a fichu. See Frances Grimble's Reconstruction Fashions for numerous examples.

The sash is of blue ribbon, not particularly wide. I love that it's tied in what may be rosette-style or double bow. Note that the ends of the ribbon are dagged.

Plus, look at her gloves. Can you see the small tucks and/or topstitching over the back of the hand? The gloves are elbow length and not particularly tight. In fact, I'd call them a little baggy, wouldn't you?

We have talked about the pretty lace choker collar already in The 1790s Project: 1795-1800 Fashion Details. I've not seen any costumer try this effect yet.

The headdress is especially interesting, as it's multipart. The reporter describes the linen bandeau with its bows -- clearly rosettes -- and then how some blue Atlas fabric is set within it and atop the head, but not covering all the hair.

"Atlas", according to Neues und vollständiges deutsch-englisches Wörterbuch (1808), is satin, of silk, but in Germany also of wool or linen. I assume that the term is more about the satin weave than the fiber used. Here is the full dictionary term, from the dictionary:

2. der Atlass, des-sses, plur. die-sse, from the Persian; satin, made generally of silk, but the Germans say also wollene [woll] and leinene Atlasse [linen Atlas].
das Atlassband, satin-riband.
Atlassen, adj. and adv. of satin. Ein atlassenes Kleid, a satin coat, it (?) what is in imitation of satin. Ein atlassense Band, a satin riband.

The pearl strands are a rather ornate addition, and overkill in my opinion, especially when worn with big hoop earrings.

Look careully at the earrings. There is a small hoop at the earlobe, and then the big hoop is appended to it, or that's the way I read the image. Other fashion plate descriptions for 1795 describe the earrings in some detail and perhaps I will get to a sample for you.

Hope the above was helpful. It was for me! Next time, plate 24 from the same issue.

Translation resources. I have found that using multiple sources works best, because some words, expressions, and constructions are spelled or used in an archaic way, and some words have simply disappeared from the modern German lexicon. The best resource, though? The kindness of readers. Thank you all so much!


Kleidung um 1800 said...

Perfect translation and explanation!
The two words you've put in brackets are "geschlaengelt", regarding the hair it means curled. And the headdress is "Aufsatz" ( a word that isn't used in our modern language anymore).
I really wonder about period fabrics and their modern equivalent today, too. Especially the qualities of cotton and linen.

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Sabine,
Hooray! So good to hear. Am finding reading the texts somewhat easier now, so that sometimes I'll make it through an entire sentence before getting stuck. Sometimes I Since some of those sentences are enormously long, that's saying something. Sometimes I can even read an article sans Woerterbuch and get the gist...but that's still rare, and then I have to go back and read it again and work out the details with pen and paper.

I've translated another article from 1795 that's all about batiste and linen, and plan to get that online soon. Still, it doesn't help with the "Atlas" issue.

ZipZipInkspot said...

Dear Sabine,
I tracked down the meaning of Atlas in an 1808 dictionary by Adelung. Online there are two versions, one entirely in German and one with English translation. See the Resources section in the amended post, above.

Atlas means satin!

Very best,