The Language of Fashion | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: The Language of Fashion

March 29, 2010

The Language of Fashion

The Fashion Poll votes are all in and accounted for. The entire time I was shocked at how close each gown was in number of votes...there was never a difference over eight!

Total Votes = 84
Robe à l'anglaise 40 (47%)
*Robe à la française 44 (52%)*

Looks like the tradition french court gown is only slightly more preferred than the practical English styled gown.  Seems clear that we love both equally!

While on the subject of fashion, I wanted to share a description of a gown Mademoiselle Duthé wore one evening to the Opera in Paris, mind you she was always to be seen in remarkable fashion as she could afford it and didn't mind showing it off:

“...wearing a dress of withheld sighs (split with an underskirt), adorned with superfluous regrets (a gathered looped band of material), with, in the middle, some perfect naivety (knots of lace); it was garnished with indiscreet complaints (appliqué silk flowers) and ribbons of marked attention (wide bows); her shoes were hair-of the-Queen color (ash blonde), embroidered with diamonds in perfidious attack (a ray-like design) with the come-hithers (embroidery on the back of the heels) in emeralds." 

Now isn't that a lovely vision? I happen to have a pair of shoes that have the come-hithers in silk (well maybe in cotton)!  Can you imagine reading the fashion blogs of the 18th century?!

*I included the above picture to demonstrate emeralds in perfidious attack


  1. My Goodness! I love the excerpt. Such a gorgeous, lavish, devine subject matter!!!
    I Love them all!

  2. That is a fun way to describe an outfit. Was that kind of language common place or was this a particularly fanciful review? I think describing the embroidery on the backs of the heels as
    'come-hithers' is so perfect. it makes me think of the 'Follow-me-home-and-f--k-me' stilettos of today, though thankfully both less crude and less stalkerish.

  3. @Paul you are right, it is similar to the, ahem *stiletto. And women (men alike) were familiar with this 'language' as there were lovely "poetical" names given to fabrics, colors, cuts, styles, hats, hairstyles...

  4. Lauren, I recommend some posts on this language. It is neat. As for me, I've just tightened a knot of conformity [necktie] and must toodle on to work. Monday morning.

  5. As always, a visit to your blog is such fun!

  6. Hi! I've been going through computer withdrawal, but now that i got my brand new fix, I can catch up on all I've been missing around here! Love the gown, for sure:)

  7. Love both the dresses, and I think that they would have loved blogging way back then.....almost as much as we do in 2010.

    Leeann x

  8. all the reasons why we love the
    18th cen. Dirty gossip and high fashion :D

  9. I agree with Paul, a post on the language! Absolutely delish and the explanations in parenthese were delightful.