Over the past few months, while working on the project that has now become The Book of Haps, I’ve examined countless images of wrappable textiles. I’ve encountered many ways to wear such textiles, and also reflected on the many different contexts for their wearing. Some of these groups of images were very useful for me, but less so for the book – such as the fashion plates I’ve reproduced here, all of which are taken from Pierre de la Mésangère’s Journal des Dames et des Modes between 1798 and 1813. As you can see, these images depict the many different varieties of châles and fischus and écharpes popular in France (and elsewhere in Europe) around the turn of the nineteenth century. This is one of my favourite eras in the history of dress (as well as other kinds of history) and I find Mésangère’s beautiful illustrations of female figures with simple muslin dresses and artfully-draped châles particularly pleasing. There are woven kashmir shawls, and shawls of fine lace; veils and wraps and little shawlettes; textiles worn triangularly or on the square, draped around the shoulders or worn to drape across the waist and lower body, always extending and enhancing an outfit’s elegant line. The plate above is probably my favourite – I just love the shallow peach-coloured triangle worn high up on the neck with its long points extending downward, and who can argue with that matching coquille bonnet? Here are some others you may like.
All plates from between 1798 – 1813, and published in Journal des Dames et des Modes.