Cabinet des Modes, 16e Cahier, 1ere Figure (part two)

Posted by muhammad nasrudin

(Because yesterday's post was very long, I decided to cut the bottom section off and post it today.)

July 1, 1786
A manner of dressing to ride a horse, which is surely not less elegant than than that of our drawn Man, is that which consists of wearing well very white Breeches and a Gilet, with Boots matching those that we have described, and a Dragoon green Coat, all plain, with a scarlet lining. There is in this ensemble something that allures us. We require with this outfit a tricorn Hat, furbished à la Suisse. You can say all you like; but we find that these Hats always gave and give to those who wear them, a much more frank, much more proud, and much more decided air than all thee round Hats do.

It is only in wool that these Dragoon green Coats can be made, with a scarlet lining, which must also be of wool. But wool Coats seem to be Coats for riding on horseback in all seasons. It is necessary to confess that only wool Coats clothe perfectly; and it is necessary to be well dressed for riding. Without that, beware the stable air.

But, though the Petite-Maîtresse suffers from it, and some regret that she had to abandon wool, it is necessary, in summer, to take on Coats for this season. Choose those which dress you the best; but take summer Coats, Fashion wills it. One has made them for this year which can compensate somewhat, and which redeem in éclat what they lose in form and contour. Some are made in serpentine, others in gragrame, others in chiné taffeta, and others in silk stuff clouded with a thousand dots.

Serpentine is a light fabric of hair and cotton. It has been imitated in cotton and in bourre de soie;* but these have neither the same éclat, nor the same durability. They have stripes down the length, rather wide, and in two or three colors; with little checks in two or three colors; with violet stripes, and with flame-red stripes.

Gragrame, which is either striped or chiné, is a rather firm worked silk fabric and bourre de soie.* What could be seen as one of the prettiest, has puce stripes or violet stripes; and green stripes, with a little white edge.

(These gragrames are found in the shop of M. Fortin, Merchant Mercer, at the corner of the rue Buffy and rue Mazarine.)

Everyone knows chiné taffeta and thousand-spotted silk fabrics. These latter began to be seen last year, and they must be perpetuated in their composition.

Of these different fabrics, there is only that of silk shaded with a thousand dots, which can be used for full dress coats; the others should be worn for frock coats.

Independently of these diverse types of fabrics, one still wears light cotton cloth of very-mixed colors, nearly of the vermicelli type that was worn two or three years ago. These vermicellis were puce, violet, red, or otherwise; those of today are mixed with black, blue, white, melted together.

One hardly wears, this year, these siamoises** with black and white stripes, black and green stripes, green and red stripes, as were worn in a great quantity last year. They were replaced with the serpentines and by the light cotton cloths.

* Silk made from cocoons that have not been unwound. Something like silk noil?
** A linen or cotton fabric imitating some sort of Siamese cloth
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Cabinet des Modes, 16e Cahier, 1ere Figure

Posted by muhammad nasrudin

July 1, 1786
WE are convinced that if there is a situation where one must more particularly follow Fashion, which is nearly always representative of taste and elegance, it is when one goes to ride a horse. There are such obstacles to avoid when one is riding; we mean there are such riders that one does not want to resemble, so that, in order to prevent the comparison, there is hardly any other means to take than dressing stylishly. However, this is not necessary, if one carries in one's air a grace, a facility which emphasizes the class where one would be tempted to confound us, because of our simple and unceremonious habit.

We may not be reproached for always recommending grace, poise, facility, and the other matching qualities, because it is there that, to speak properly, all Fashions reside. Be sure that they do not change as much because people of taste present themselves in public with dress of a new color, than because they dress with grace and facility, when another color has barely been adopted. Fashions are thus less the fruits of satiety and disgust, as the Poets say, than the children of natural graces. Everyone wants to seize the éclat which shines from these people of taste, everyone believes that the dress they wear gave it to them, and everyone adopts their dress. But they did not know how to take an agreeable composure, and the dress, hardly on the body, no longer allured anymore. Another person of taste may be seen with a dress of another color, she may have composure; her dress will flatter like the previous; one will believe that it will be better, and one adopts it.

See, as the Fashion of the Dress and attire of our Man has come, ready for riding, figured in the 1ST PLATE. His Coat, with lapels, is Dragoon green. The lining of this Coat is a buras of the same color, or a color near it. The lapels, the pockets, and the sleeves à la Marinière are trimmed with buttons of white pearl. Under his Coat our Man wears a Gilet with gold stripes and wide green stripes.

He wears Breeches of fallow deer skin, light yellow. On his legs are English Boots of a very-glossy black (a) from the shoe to the calf, and a natural yellow from the knee to the bottom of the calf. It is easy to see that this yellow part is the leather of the boot, reversed on top from the knee to the bottom of the calf.

On his heels are two silver or silvered copper spurs, very brilliant. He wears on his head a round Hat à l'Anglaise (b), trimmed, all around the crown, with a very-wide black ribbon and a bow on the left side, made with this ribbon, and attached with a very-long steel buckle, fashionable, worked. His hands are covered with gloves of violet leather, and he holds a long switch (c).

In the gussets of his Breeches are two watches. From one hangs a cord with tassels and trinkets, and the other a cord of braided hair or ribbon, at the end of which is uniquely attached a very-long and very-large key.

We show him with one hand in a pocket of his Coat, and in an attentive attitude, because he is watching to prepare for his horse (d).
(a) We remember that we have forgotten to say that men's Shoes are still a very-glossy black, whether in full dress, or whether in undress. Several Merchants in Paris sell Oils, Waxes, and Varnishes which give this gloss.

M. Basseras, Master Cobbler, rue du Four, near the Red Cross, sells an elastic Varnish or lettuce Wax, approved by the Academy of Sciences.

M. Hardi, Master Cobbler, rue Grenetat, in Saint Denis, sells chemical Oil.

A Spicer, rue de Baune, in Saint Germain, sells whale White.

(b) This round Hat à l'Anglaise is a folded Hat, which has neither silk edges nor velvet around it, as at other times, and which no longer takes the shape of a boat, but which descends all smoothly, and only has the shape that the head gives it.

(c) There is a practice of carrying very-thin and very-pliant canes, when one does not carry a switch. These canes thus serve two purposes, when getting off a horse. That does not mean that switches are forbidden.

(d) The horse that must be ridden is also subject to Fashion in its harness. Formerly horses' hair was braided on their necks with a red or blue ribbon, matching that used for bows near their ears: their tails were cut, and even the tips of their ears. This hideous shape was close to reappearing some time ago. Today no more ribbon on their necks; their long vagabond hair hangs with liberty. They may rise, they may lower, they may shake their heads with pride, they have all their parure, and their pride no longer seems ridiculous. Their ears can be trained, and mark their sentiments; their long and bushy tail clouds the brilliance that their mane gives them: all foreign ornament that they borrow now, is a rather large bow of red, or yellow, or blue, or violet ribbon, that is applied to the bottom of the croup, at the root of the tail, and two bows similarly placed near the ears.
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