French Influence On Suit Of Aristocracy

by - April 11, 2020


Firmly becoming in the XVIII century. on the path of pan-European development, the Russian nobility, like the aristocracy of the rest of Europe, began to follow the French fashion in everything. The outfit of a Russian woman of the most enlightened circle was nothing independent and national , serving only as an unreasonable reflection of the social and political life of a country completely alien to us and in no way matching our domestic and climatic conditions. ”


However, according to the author of the article, even foreigners who came to Moscow were forced to admit that, following the prevailing French fashion, the Russians dressed “with such taste and grace that in this respect they were inferior only to Parisians”. Fashion magazines that are from the XIX century. begin to appear regularly in Russia (Moscow Mercury, Fashionable Herald, Universal Fashion Magazine, Fashion Store, etc.), as well as fiction and literary magazines Library for Reading, Sovremennik publish French models. Luxurious toilets of the Russian aristocracy are still brought from Paris or sewn according to European fashion patterns.

However, the XIX century. was the period of the highest flowering of work of both unknown Russian artists, fashion designers, tailors, weavers, lace-makers, gold seamstresses, jewelers, and the famous St. Petersburg and Moscow firms Lomanov, Ms. Olga, Brizak, Ivanova and others, creating genuine masterpieces of the costume.

Painting by Russian artists of the XIX century, fashion magazines indicate that the costume of the Russian aristocracy strictly followed in time and in forms the general European development. The fascination with antiquity was expressed at the beginning of the century in an empire style suit: women wear long light dresses made of thin silk on a dense cover. The silhouette of a female figure is characterized by a high waist position, a small bodice, a straight, narrow skirt. The top dress for walks - redingot - is also decided in this silhouette. In the second decade in women's clothing, a fascination with transverse trim along the bottom line begins, which leads to a violation of the proportions in the silhouette and its weighting. Men wear dark tailcoats, tight knickers and coat-frocks.


Fashion changes dramatically after 1825. Fabrics, finishes, silhouettes, constructive and decorative solutions, especially in women's clothing, often experience the eclectic influence of several artistic styles: Renaissance, XVII and XVIII centuries. A similar costume can be seen in Bryullov’s paintings “Natalia Goncharova” and “The Horsewoman”. In the 40-60s. in a female suit, clear proportions dominate, soft rounded lines created by crinoline. In the 70 - 80s. crinoline is replaced by long tight corsets and tournaments, (Kramskoy - “Portrait of the singer E. L. Lavrovskaya”). At the end of the century, Russian women's costume was influenced by the Art Nouveau style (Repin - “Baroness Ikskul”, Serov - “Portrait of S. M. Botkina”).

As in Europe, in Russia during the XIX century. Forms of a man's suit are stabilized and standardized, adapting to the new requirements of the time.


Russia of the 19th century in terms of social composition, it presents an exceptionally colorful picture. Developing capitalism gives rise to the bourgeoisie, which is deeply heterogeneous in its everyday life and cultural level.


Its wealthiest elite - the capital bourgeoisie, large breeders, financiers, whose way of life and customs underwent reformation even during the time of Peter I and Catherine II - adjoins the noble aristocracy. The vast majority of them are provincial merchants, petty bourgeoisie, peasants, whose social composition is constantly changing. Naturally, the tastes, the manner of dressing, the forms of the costume of this part of society are fundamentally different from the tastes and manners of the aristocracy and continue to be class in character for a long time.

In a man’s merchant costume, traits of solidity and power are preserved, which are formed under the influence of a well-fed and monotonous merchant life. The assortment of men's merchant costume includes Russian zipuns (albeit sewn from expensive French cloth), caftans, various Siberians (detachable caftans at the waist, with assemblies in the lower part, without a collar, with a fastener from left to right), long-sleeved merchant frock coats, top hats, tops , knee-high boots. Of outerwear, an overcoat with a cape and a collar, a coat, a fur coat, a Russian sheepskin coat, a warm cap, and a fur hat are common. This traditional assortment easily takes on the fashionable shape of details (collars, lapels, sleeves) and the manner of wearing. A series of drawings of merchant costumes is presented in the album “Russian Costume of the End of the 18th, 19th and the Beginning of the 20th Centuries” edited by V. Ryndin. Here we find a long provincial caftan of a negligent cut, a long-sleeved city frock coat, and a fashionable short frock coat with a double-breasted fastener, belonging to the same period - the middle of the century. Costumes of wealthy city, especially metropolitan merchants differ in form from costumes of provincials.


In a bourgeois dress, a new cut passes from the merchant in about 5-10 years.

The multi-color, pomp, overloaded details are distinguished by a female merchant costume. The bad taste of rich merchants becomes anecdotal. Many of them, buying a dress in expensive fashion shops or writing them out from Paris, find ready-made exquisite toilets too simple and “decorate” them with feathers, lace, bows, flowers to their taste. Mandatory attributes are expensive carpet or lace shawls of bright color, on top of which a white lace collar is often released.

In such shawls, merchants wrote a great connoisseur of the Russian merchant and philistine life, the artist Kustodiev.

Lace and silk mantillas, bright silk dresses with wide frame or underskirts, velvet salops (loose-fitting coats with a drape and wide long sleeves) embroidered with soutache, glass beads trimmed with fringe, lined with expensive fur in winter, with sable, marten and black-brown collars this is the most common range of women's merchant clothing.

The estate character of the Russian costume of the XIX century. perfectly conveyed in the famous painting by Fedotov, "Matchmaking of the Major."

For longer than in the costume of merchants and philistines, the cut of the Russian national dress and homespun materials in peasant clothes were kept.


Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, a critical attitude of a certain part of society towards blind imitation of Western customs and fashion appears in Russia. In the 40s and 50s, many of them put on Russian shirts, shirts, booties, tucked trousers in boots. This thoughtless imitation of the external forms of antiquity gave rise to a fashion for “Russian style” water. The wealthy Slavophile landowners wore dandyly high expensive boots with trousers tucked into them, light, sometimes red scruffy, silk shirts-shirts, embroidered on the collar, on the chest and at the bottom of the sleeves, delicate or scruffy booties, belted with a narrow leather strap with a silver set, with a red band.

Fashion During the French Revolution

Elements of the “Russian style” in clothing also used various circles of the intelligentsia as a means to stand out sharply and emphasize their distinctive features. features. For example, the nihilists, known for their sharply negative opinions about the bourgeoisie and the nobility, did not want to be like them outwardly. They wore dark shirts under a jacket or gray, blue blouses with a belt around them and trousers tucked into boots. Their costume was also distinguished by wide-brimmed black hats, long hair, beard and mustache, dark glasses. Female nihilists dressed in blouses or red shirts, long black skirts and black hats with small brim and straight top.

French Revolution Fashion

And only among the democratically-minded intelligentsia, subsequently among its advanced, revolutionary units, did the negative attitude towards blind imitation of the West find its consistent expression. For her, an exquisite fashionable costume, the frequent change of its forms, characteristic of the 19th century, as well as the petty bourgeois craving for things and the thirst for acquisition characteristic of the bourgeoisie, become a symbol of spiritual emptiness, a parasitic way of life. This is opposed to modesty, unpretentiousness, rigor, and sometimes an almost ascetic attitude to his appearance and costume.

In a man’s suit, dark chintz or linen shirts worn over trousers with a belt, canvas hoodies and sweatshirts are not an epigone fashion, but a statement of the new aesthetic principles of the suit: simplicity, comfort, modesty. The same qualities distinguish a women's suit. It has greatly simplified fashion elements, there are no cotton pads, the tournaments are replaced with a small soft drapery, a bow or the ends of a matched tunic. We see such a suit in Nesterov’s painting “Portrait of a Daughter”.

French Revolution Fashion

Especially modest and unpretentious was the costume of female students (students of the Higher Women's Courses, opened in Russia in 1872) and their teachers. They usually wore dark formal dresses with a white collar, consisting of a skirt to the ankles, sometimes trimmed on the bottom with one or two rows of narrow ruffles, and a bodice with a long peplum. Female students considered silk dresses or blouses completely unacceptable, replacing them with woolen, linen or cotton. The most complete expression of the ideal of advanced women of the XIX century, their appearance was Sofia Perovskaya, an outstanding revolutionary and a charming woman. In a letter to her mother from prison, she asks to bring a white collar and cuffs to look taut at the trial. The traditions of simplicity, modesty, an ascetic attitude to one's life, costume,

French Revolution Fashion


The rapid development of capitalism in Russia in the last third of the XIX century. contributed to a sharper class differentiation of society, an increase in the urban population mainly due to factory workers. Ruined peasants and artisans replenished the ranks of hereditary factory workers, forming a new class - the proletariat. It was during these years that the traditional form of a factory costume was formed, which, on the one hand, retains the elements of a folk costume (in aesthetic views, tailoring, assortment), and on the other, gravitates to new standardized forms that claim practicality, expediency, convenience. The most characteristic medium forming the features of the workers' costume was skilled proletarians in large industrial cities. A new replenishment of workers who had recently arrived from the province gravitated towards village clothes,

French Revolution Fashion

The men's suit for workers consisted of a cotton shirt-shirt, worn over trousers and belted with a belt or sash, dark trousers tucked into boots, a vest and a jacket. A characteristic feature of the costume was the use of factory fabrics. Along with jacket suits, long (to the knees) woolen frock coats and underwear were also worn. Instead of vests, some workers wore short sleeved jackets. As an outerwear, a woolen, draped, or beaver pea coat with a cotton pad - the so-called cotton jacket, has firmly entered into everyday life. Along with the new assortment, indoor short fur coats, ordinary urban coats, and Siberian coat are used. Of great importance in a costume, especially a festive one, are a hat and shoes - a cap with a varnished visor, fur hats, high boots - black leather or patent leather.

French Revolution Fashion

At the end of the XIX century. significantly increasing the number of working women employed in various industries. The slave costume, to an even greater extent than men's, combines the traditions of folk clothes, fashion and standard requirements. The most characteristic type of clothing in this respect was the so-called couple - a sundress and a jacket of the same fabric . A straight one-piece sundress was trimmed with a wide shuttlecock (20 - 25 cm), laid with folds on the bottom, and several rows of colored pegs. From above, a jacket with a detachable peplum, also trimmed with flounces, ruffles and beiki, was worn on a straight or adjacent jacket at the waist. Instead of a sundress, a part of a couple could be a skirt - a long straight line trimmed to the bottom. The costume was supplemented with a scarf on his head, a scarf or a shawl on his shoulders and an apron. In addition to a couple, female workers wore dresses with an fitted bodice and a fitted skirt. Details of the dress (sleeves, collars, neckline), their decoration followed the generally accepted fashion, although with a certain lag. But unlike fashionable, these dresses were without tournaments and draperies on the skirt.

French Revolution Fashion

For everyday clothes, chintz and other factory cotton fabrics were used, for festive - inexpensive silk, half-silk and half-woolen fabrics. The new assortment in women's outerwear was a knee-length short coat. His cut combined folk shapes with a fashionable urban coat: a silhouette fitted at the waist, a one-piece shelf with a double-breasted fastener and patch pockets, a back with a detachable waist line and a gathered bottom. Fashionable details, a small turn-down collar and narrow cuffs could be made of fur. For a short coat dark or bright (blue, green) pleats, cloth, wool mixture were used. Along with a short coat worn short fur coats, salops. Headgear - a scarf, shoes - shoes and cats (ankle boots, the edge of which is trimmed with colored leather edging).

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