FASHION OF THE BAROQUE ERA

The Baroque period came into existence in the 16th century and lasted for about 150 years.Over its course in time, it completely changed the way people looked at fashion. Being a great source of inspiration even today to several fashion designers, illustrators and numerous other creative fields.

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Fig 1: Baroque grandeur

Here’s a rundown on the basic baroque aesthetics of men & women from all the segments of society during that time.
With the reigning of King Louis XIV, this period in fashion history was all about sheer indulgence and luxury. This is where architecture, fashion, music & art flourished in Europe to its pinnacle. Unlike the other periods in Europe where the lower classes didn’t have much of a choice in clothing, the Baroque period gave them more freedom of choice in that matter. This is one of the most important period in terms of development of fashion guilds which became authorized by the ruler himself. It allowed both the men and women to be members. The designers were quite in demand by the higher and middle classes as well.

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Fig 2: The notorious noble, King Louis XIV loved to flaunt the finest of clothes.

One of the signature elements visible in the Baroque period were brilliant use of colours, gold filigree natural silhouette of the body form. Since it was a time of grandeur, lace, pearls, ribbons and gold embroidery were quite prominent. Unlike the earlier period of Renaissance, the clothing were free from the extra details and ornate patterns. Clothing became much easier to wear as single outfits were being created rather than the ‘mix and match’ of breeches, sleeves and bodices. It became relatively much easier for the wearer. While the higher notch of society wore expensive garments such as a variety of silks, brocades and velvets, the poor sections could only afford to wear wool. The middle and upper sections wore dark shades of colours like black that signified wealth as dying dark colours were expensive at that time.
Clothing for women became much more comfortable than the earlier times. In those days, having a tiny waistline was admired. They were expected to wear tight body hugging corsets. A more full, flowy and natural silhouette was adopted with padded or layered skirts. This was to enhance the fuller figure of the woman. The necklines most popular during that time were plunging necklines that usually accompanied lace as well-known as décolletage. Women wore large sleeves that collected at the wrist or elbow with turned-back lace cuffs. Patterned fabrics were being replaced by solid colour silks and brocade.

sleeve cuff from marie antoineete dress

Fig 3: A sleeve cuff from Marie Antoinette’s dress.

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Fig 4: Stomacher

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Fig 5: An intricate gold embroidered and embellished gown with puffed sleeves from the Baroque Period.

Hair and makeup was equally extravagant as though completing with the outfits they wore in their daily lives. Women followed a trend known as the heartbreakers that consisted of hair tightly curled at the forehead and on the either sides. This was just the beginning in fancy hairstyles. As the years progressed, the hair styles got even higher as though it was anti-gravity. Lips and cheeks were often roughed. What was equally surprising and disgusting at the same time is that people didn’t believe in taking baths as water at that time was considered unhealthy. As though the odour wasn’t a good enough sign, they would spray profuse amounts of scent over their body to conceal the smell. Pointed toes and heels were popular among both men and women.

elaborate women hairstyle

Fig 6: Towering tresses were a fashion statement at that time.

Similar to women’s fashion in many ways, the men wore high waists, laced collars and cuffs. It was definitely quite a breather in comparison to the overtly ornate Renaissance fashion. They would wear breeches known as Pantaloon breaches which fell till about the knee and were not fitting. With the reigning power of Louis XIV, the obvious display of extravagance happened. Jabots or long lace ruffles were found at the opening of the necklines. Men wore square-toed, high heel shoes with square buckles. They often wore wigs and curled their hair. Over the course of time close-fitted breeches came into fashion that were either tied, buttoned or buckled at the knee with a hose worn beneath it.Men started wearing clothing called ‘en suit’ or the suit that we know of today. It consisted of a coat, waistcoat and breeches. Hairstyles also began towering high with the passage of time.

Dark green and beige striped velvet and silk embroidery. Gentlemans suit. 1785

Fig 7: Men’s three piece suit consisting of breeches, overcoat and waistcoat.

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Fig 8: Highly adorned men’s shoes that were pointed and high heeled.

Thus the Baroque period was quite a change from the overtly stylized Renaissance fashion but nonetheless was display of absolute luxury. These patterns emerged and evolved into the Rococo period.Even till today they are one of Europe’s proudest displays of their rich heritage and history.

inspired by baroue mcq couture gown

An Alexander McQueen Couture gown inspired from the Baroque Period.


References

1. History of Costume, 2012, The Baroque Period in all its grandiloquencehttp://historyofeuropeanfashion.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/the-baroque-period-in-all-its-grandiloquence/, Accessed on November 3, 2014

2. Ehow, n.d, History of Baroque Clothinghttp://www.ehow.com/info_8608112_history-baroque-clothing.html, Accessed on November 3, 2014

3. Fashion History, n.d, Baroquehttp://fashionhistory.zeesonlinespace.net/baroque.html, Accessed on November 3, 2014

Annexure

1. Figure 1, Pinterest, 2013, Danielle Larouche, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/495396027731891540/, Accessed on November 3, 2014

2. Figure 2, History of Costume, 2012, The Baroque Period in all its grandiloquencehttp://historyofeuropeanfashion.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/the-baroque-period-in-all-its-grandiloquence/, Accessed on November 3, 2014

3. Figure 3, Pinterest, 2014, Section-A, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/319755642267862996/, Accessed on November 3, 2014

4. Figure 4, Museum of Fine Arts, n.d, Stomacherhttp://www.mfa.org/collections/object/stomacher-46677, Accessed on November 3, 2014

5. Figure 5, Pinterest, 2013, Denise Benoithttp://www.pinterest.com/pin/446700856761398127/, Accessed on November 3, 2014

6. Figure 6, Deceased Tumblr, 2013, Pictoral of emotional frustrationhttp://deseased.tumblr.com/post/66019569376/photographed-in-paris-at-the-centre-historique-des, Accessed on November 3, 2014

7. Figure 7, Fashion museum, 2012, Huda Rz, http://fashionmuseum.fitnyc.edu/media/view/Objects/11179/42246?t:state:flow=c57d75ed-ee53-4769-9ecd-8c2f89fa25ef, Accessed November 3, 2014

8. Figure 8, Pinterest, 2013, Ladies mules, embroidered, 18th Century, http://www.pinterest.com/pin/501377370985709517/Accessed November 3, 2014

9. Figure 9, Urban Threads, The inspiring embroidery of Alexander McQueen, 2011, http://www.urbanthreads.com/blog/?p=2128, Accessed November 3, 2014

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