Paris Fashions for DecemberIllustrated London News (1 December 1860): 515.

Commentary and captions from the Illustrated London News

In spite of, or rather on account of, the fine weather which has occasionally broken through the monotony "of the penultimate month of 1800, the Parisian dressmakers are in a flourishing condition, and busily occupied in the production of dresses for the demi-saison and, in some cases, already for winter. Woollen textures for robes enioy a decided preference over all others this autumn. They are, for the most part, so beautifully manufactured at present that they bear off the palm from their rivals, the cheaper descriptions of silks, to which they are undoubtedly superior.

The fashions for the 465th leap year of the Christian era terminate with a quieter tendency. Few bright colours, even for visits of ceremony, are admitted just now; dark shades, black ribbons, black bonnets (or those composed of two tints, black being one), have superseded the gay roses and feathers of another season.

Apropos of bonnets, we are somewhat puzzled, so great has been the spirit of defection in their ranks of late: deserters have adopted so many different styles of chapeaux— à la Garibaldi, à la Diana Vernon, à la Magenta, Spanish, American,Italian, cum multis aliis—that we most clearly state that the few words we have to say on the subject apply only to bonnets proprement dit. White bonnets are altogether out of favour at present. Generally, the bonnets of the legitimate category continue to improve in good taste—that is, in their simplicity; a simple bow, or a flower placed to advantage, is found to be more becoming than a profusion of gaudy floral or gilt ornaments, however costly. As to sire and shape, no change has taken place since our last.

For the winter season a charmjng description of cloth glove has just been adopted by the Parisian ladies for all occasions except those of grand ceremony, when kid gloves are de rigueur; we allude to the gauntlet glove in black or chestnut-coloured cloth, the former embroidered with red silk, and the latter with white, green, or blue. During the cold weather these gloves must certainly be preferred to kid.


Fig. I. Visiting Dress. — Robe of plain colour, having near the bottom of the jupe a wide band of black velvet, edged with a narrow ruching of rose-coloured taffeta. On the front of the drera there is also a narrow stripe of velvet interlaced with the serpentine omamentation shown in our Engraving, and similar to but narrower than that on the bottom of the skirt. The long hanging sleeve is bordered to match, and is still further decorated by four velvet macaroons. The bonnet is composed of crape and taffeta, with a lace trimming on the top and a black and white aigrette on one side.

Fig. 2. Walking Dress. — Our second illustration is of a dark-coloured merino dress, long-waisted. A band of velvet, trimmed with a narrow guipure, is attached brace-fashion in front and behind the shoulders. The waistband, fringed out at the long flowing ends, and fastening with two large flat bows, is of the same material as the robe. The bonnet is of mauve-colored silk; the bavolet is covered with black lace; and the bows seen in front are in mauve velvet, edged with narrow black lace. A total absence of flowers characterises this chapeau.

Fig. 3. Evening Dress. — This dress is of black silk, ornamented with six flounces separated, and surmounted by a silk plaiting of the game colour as the robe, and edged with narrow lace. The corsage is low-necked, descending with a long point in front of the waist; from each shoulder down to the waist-line a graduating trimming of silk plaiting serves as the principal ornament, which a large bow in the centre completes. The sleeves consist of three small flounces, and the under-sloeves are of white tulle. The simple head-dress is composed of marguerites attached to the back hair in such a manner as to conceal the comb.

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