Early Victorian Era Fashion Chit Chat - April 1839 Ladies' Pocket Magazine
Remarks on the Prevailing Paris Fashions
We next month bid adieu to winter modes; their costly magnificence and heavy splendour will then give way to the light attire of spring. We shall presently cite some of the novelties that are expected to be most in favour; but we must first say a few words of what is actually worn at present.
Velvet or satin mantles, trimmed either with fur or rich fringe, are most in favour in promenade dress at this moment. Shawls, that is to say, large Cashmere ones, of Egyptian or Turkish patterns, such as were worn last autumn, are, however, in a very respectable minority: in fact, they answer the purpose of a cloak, while at the same time they more fully display the robe over which they are worn. The materials and forms of promenade robes remain nearly as they were last month; they are composed of satins, reps, or rich pou de soie, and mostly made in the ridingote; that is to say, the pelisse robe form, with high bodies and sleeves a la Jardiniere. Hats and bonnets have note, up to the present moment, varied in the least from those we described last month.
At the period at which we write, we are within a few days of the promenade of Longchamps. We were accustomed to look to it as the opening of the summer fashions; but this year no such expectations can be entertained, as Easter falls too early to admit of any material change, at least for dresses. We have, however, seen some of the toilettes prepared for that occasion, which we consider well worthy of the attention of our fair readers.
We shall cite, as among the most striking, some pelisses of azure blue satin, lined with white satin. The corsage is made high behind, but descends in front, so as to form a demi coeur; it is trimmed with a pelerine lappel of moderate size, which is bordered, as is also the fronts and bottom of the pelisse, with a rouleau of swansdown. The corsage, we should observe, is amde tight to the shape; the sleeve is arranged at bottom and top in close folds, which confine it nearly to the arm, but it is wide in the centre; the folds are decorated with small rouleaus of swansdown, turned round them en serpente. From the number of orders that have been given for these pelisses, we have great reason to believe that they will be very much in favour during the whole of April, and most probably for a great part of May. Spencers of velours epingle of light colours, as rose, blue, or green, are also expected to be very general. Those intended for Longchamps are made quite high, and ornamented in general with rich fancy silk trimming, corresponding in colour. They will be worn with collars and cuffs of antique point lace; and we have seen a few, but very few, to which a row of lace round the bottom of the waist was added; it is placed full and deep behind but nearly plain and very narrow in front. It has a smart and dressy effect.
Some hats both of rice and Italian straw, will make their appearance, but nothing is yet positively decided as to the new shapes. Those that we have seen composed of Italian straw were of a large size, and principally decorated either with marabouts or white ostrich feathers. The ribbons are principally white, a rich dead ground, figured in satin; but we have seen some of white or straw-coloured grounds, figured in delicate hues, and in new patterns. Rice straw hats are much smaller, but they also have the brims very open. Some are trimmed with feathers, but the majority are decorated with flowers. All the early ones of the season are in request. We have noticed among the new wreaths one of violets, of a singular form; it encircled the crown in an oblique direction, descending quite to the bottom on the left side; a full gerbe of flowers issued from that end of the wreath, and crossed the brim also in an oblique direction, nearly to the edge of it; the interior was adorned with blond lace, disposed in dents le loup over the forehead, and looped at each temple by a small tuft of violets. This is a decidedly novel and very tasteful style of trimming. A few white pou de soie bonnets have been prepared for Langchamps, but they do not offer anything decided as to the forms that will be adopted, as they are principally modifications of the Bibi. One among them, we may venture to pronounce, will not become fashionable; it is a small cottage-bonnet, of quite the old-fashioned English shape. The spring colours will be various shades of rose and green, lilac, lavender bloom, pearl grey, and cherry.