Regency Women’s Fashions by Suzi Love
Who loves Regency Fashion? Everyone?
Of course we do, because these fashions are elegant and pretty and sometimes afford a gentleman a tiny glimpse of a well-turned ankle. Though to me that sounds like the lady has sprained her ankle rather than looking fashionably slim.
Empire style gowns, named after Napoleon’s first Empress, became popular at the turn of the century and were high waisted with skirts gathered under the bust. Fabrics were thinner, sometimes almost transparent, so outerwear became thicker and more practical eg Redingotes and half cloaks and accessories such as oversized fur muffs became popular.
Colors became more popular in the early 1800s, replacing the basic white clothing worn around 1800 when fashions were Greek styled. Women embraced the chance to show individuality. Bonnets grew higher, with lace, ribbons, and often plumed, and were made to match gowns and cloaks which meant that fashionable women were taking the time to put together complete ensembles from shoes, to gloves and hats.
Regency Fashion Women by Suzi Love
History of Christmases Past
On the countdown until the release of History of Christmases Past, my collection of information about the history of Christmas.
Coming This Week!
History of Fans
From Earliest Times Through Regency Era
‘Ready for the Ball’
Fans had an erratic history as in some eras, their use died away.
In others, fans were resurrected. They were used to keeping flies and insects away or for cooling the face.
‘Lady reclining with fan.’
Dance engagements card for showing list of dances
Origin of Fans
- 2nd century BC : The oldest existing Chinese fans are a pair of woven bamboo side-mounted fans.
- 4th century Greece : Fans were in use at least since then.
- In the 6th century : The flabellum, the Christian ceremonial fan, was used during services to keep insects away from consecrated bread and wine.
- In the 13th and 14th centuries : hand fans were brought back by Crusaders from the Middle East.
- In the 15th century : fans were brought to Europe from China and Japan by Portuguese traders.
- Rigid style fans hung from a lady’s skirt but as they were often flimsy, few have survived. In Spain, flamenco dancers used fans and their popularity grew.
- In the 17th century : East Asia’s folding fans were adopted by the nobility and high-born women often had portraits painted holding fans. Folding fans became status symbols on par with elaborate gloves as gifts to royalty.
- The earliest folding fans had leather leaves with cut outs in a lace-like design or a more rigid leaf with inlays of more exotic materials like mica.
- The supports were bone or ivory sticks with leather leaves slotted onto the sticks rather than glued as later folding fans were.
1788 Grand Tour Fan
1830-40 Unmounted Fan Leaf
- In the 18th century : Fans were made throughout Europe by specialized craftsmen using silk or parchment and painted by artists, or were imported from China by the East India Companies. Mechanical fans, similar to wind-up clocks, were invented.
1770 Peeping Fan
Ivory Chinese Cockade Fan
1774 Cockade Calendar French Fan
1820-40 ca. Horn Fan
- 18th century Late : Political turmoil meant that fans became “less work intensive” and small brise ( painted scenes on individual ivory sticks held together by an interlacing ribbon) fans regained popularity while printed fans of every kind were available to most classes.
1850- 60 Tortoise Shell Fan
1840 ca. European Fan
In the 19th century : Fashion grew for fans and they became elaborately decorated and varied in materials, shapes, and sizes. Many of the leading Impressionists painted fan leaves, inspired by Japanese art and culture.
Japanese Rigid Fan
1850 European Green Silk Fan
Bengalese Fan Indian. Handle wood, fan silk and satin. First Indian fans made of palm leaves. Tail of yak also used.
1870 Spanish Brise Fan
Weird and wonderful of Fans:
- Fan language as a way of communicating was a marketing ploy started in the 18th century and carried on by fan makers like Cussons and Sons who, in 1954, produced a series of advertisements showing “the language of the fan”.
Japanese Fan, Fan Museum, Greenwich, UK.
- The Japanese used fans as surprise weapons and several types were used by the samurai class of feudal Japan and Kunoichi, female ninja, also used them.
- 1991 The first Fan Museum opened at Greenwich, London, and owns over 4,000 fans, fan leaves and related ephemera
- ” The art of “fluttering”, (fanning one’s self in a graceful, and at times, meaningful way) was said to take three months to master, and many girls doubtlessly spent hours practicing.
1920’s Compact Fan
1845 ca. French Mother of Pearl Fan
1770 Peeping Fan
19th cent Late Venetian Wedding Fan
1925 French Fan Coloured
1920s Red Feather Fan
1850s Italian Lithograph Foil Inlay
1890s Tiffany and Co Fan
If you want to read more about fans, or see more examples through history, go here.
Historic UK Houses – Best Places to Visit. The historic houses in the United Kingdom are an eclectic mix of houses, abbys, manors, halls and … well lots of other names. But they have one thing in common. They are all gorgeous!
Continue reading →