Galerie des Modes, 10e Cahier, 5e Figure

Posted by muhammad nasrudin

Genteel woman at her toilette, folding a letter. (1778)

Without extending here on the origin and antiquity of toilettes, we must confine ourselves to remark that a toilette is now an indispensable piece of furniture for all people; whether they have pretensions or are out of style.

There are closed toilettes and dressed ones; the latter are the most excellent and agreeable; the others require less of an appareil.*


The Print shows a young Lady in front of her toilette of the latter type: she has profited from a moment of her maid's absence to write a letter which she is folding as a love-note; it is destined to break a rendezvous before she forms a second, which is more agreeable than the first.

She is in a peignoir with large, open sleeves, allowing the sight of the bonshommes that trim the sleeves à pagode of her bedjacket; a band of very fine muslin serves as the peignoir's trim, and extends around its circumference.  The hair is not dressed.

* Appareil is here an assembly of items for one's personal preparations.  A "closed toilette" is probably enclosed like a desk, with a lid; the dressed one would have all the appareil out on display to impress visitors, which is why it requires more pieces.