Paris Fashions for December
Illustrated London News
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Damas, lampas, Ottoman velvet, watered silk, antique watered silk, plain or figured, merinos, cashmeres, woollen cambric, and woollen poplin are in fashion. Cloth in no longer worn for dresses; but it is used to make cloaks, round behind, very full, and to cut out that when the arms are raited it forms two points in front, like a shawl. This cloak is very warm and comfortable, but the shape is scarcely yet decided for engraving. We should also mention a novelty, a long shawl of black velvet, folded in four like a cashmere; instead of the palm branches, there are five rows of black watered silk, as wide as three fingers, and two round the edges. The fur which is still most in fashion is the sable, from its exorbitant price, increased this year.
The taste for ornaments is decidedly in favour of jet; lace, which hitherto was warn alone, and seemed rich enough with its splendid patterns, is now chiefly worn for the jet with which it is embroidered.
With evening dress lace scarfs are worn; hitherto ladies were contented with a piece of square or long lace. This year they acquire a more graceful form, by rounding the scarfs behind, adding flaps in front much narrower. This is more dressy than the shawl shape, which is not in keeping with an evening toilete.
Evening head-dress is not yet decided, and all kiqds of shapes are made—such as wreaths of sweet peas, with four branches; a head-dress of double corn poppies, with velvet leaves, and black jet, called the Andalusian wreath, quite short, is much in vogue. A new flower has just assumed a brilliant place. This is a lilac, celled Caraibe, with the heart of small ostrich feathers. The slight white down covering the flower, which can be made of any colour, is charming in effect.
We have nothing new to say about the shape of bonnets.
Head-dress à la Marie Stuart, trimmed with ribbons called pompadours; dress of plain reps, trimmed with quilling grandmamma fashion in ribbons of the same shade as the dress; body open in front, and closed by three knots of ribbon; high fichu open down the middle, and fastened by diamond buttons; the groundwork of the fichu is of embroidered India muslin, trimmed with Malines lace; pagoda sleeves, trimmed with lace of the same; skirt plain.
Head-dress of antique guipure, with two lappets falling on each side ; little pardesus of black velvet, fitting rather close to the waist, which is only worn in-doors. Close-fitting body, waistcoat-shaped; high guipure collar and frill, in front of the same; the sleeves are also trimmed with a guipure frill, skirt of Italian taffetas, pearl grey, quite plain.
Boy's Dress. — Dark green velvet blouse, trimmed with velvet ribbons a shade darker; sleeves wide, and fixed to the waist by a belt of the same stuff; paletot of the same velvet, trimmed like the blouse; under sleeves of jaconet; short trousers, made of English embroidery; striked stockings, and button cloth boots.
Men's coats are worn quite after the English fashion, slight In front, with the tails not very wide, and rather short; the trousers are cut straight, round at the foot, with or without straps. Waistcoats are of watered velvet, with large patterns, or of plain cashmere . . .
"Fashions for December." Illustrated London News (6 December 1851): 667-68.
Last modified 29 September 2006