In the 17th century France became the undisputed leader of European style. The modern fashion industry is rooted in France, Paris of the 1670s, when new fashion journals and boutiques promoted seasons, looks and novelty as drivers of change. This process is sinonymous with King Louis XIV, who reigned from 1643 to 1715, but also with the influence of his finance minister, Jean-Baptiste Colbert, who funded state sponsorship of the textile industry, conducted Louis's wars, and created the wealth that the king and his courtiers wore on their backs. Colbert himself was rarely seen out of black and seemed a reflection of the glorious king as seen in the painting of Henri Testelin from 1667.
King and his clothes reflect the power, grandeur and wealth of the monarchy. Meanwhile the king's finance minister, Colbert - dressed in black - wears a lace collar and cuffs. The son of a draper, Colbert understood the allure of luxury products, such as silk, tapestry and become the centre of fashionable luxury consumption. The Gobelins tapestry workshop in Paris weaved portraits of Louis's feats for the palace at Versailles and created furnishings for chateaux across France. Traders of luxury accessories and jewels were encouraged to establish shops in the newly built royal squares of Paris. Lace workshops were established in Alençon in 1665 and their output included lace accessories and lace ornaments. These high-quality materials became required trimming for all formal court dress.
Court dress achieved an unparalleled level of splendour and from 1661 to 1789 made France the model for other European monarchies. Access to the French court was theoretically open to all subjects, but one had to be properly attired. For occasions such as coronations, marriages and balls, this meant wearing the grand habit (as you can see in the picture above) that was the pinnacle of sumpturay clothing, displaying the wealth and status of both - the wearer and the state that produced it.
Share this story & Flip it!
Other Stories In This Section
My name is Edīte Parute and I am a fashion historian and researcher from Latvia, association member at "The Association of Dress Historians" (UK) and author of the book "Stila un modes enciklopēdija"/"Encyclopedia of Style and Fashion" (2010) as well as author of many publications.
Message to Ad-Block users:
Almost nothing in this world is free, but there are still things that are original, interesting, useful for many of us and they are created by people who give them to the world for free. They create it by investing their knowledge and effort so that you can use it - to learn, to find out what's new ...
The ads shown on this site help me to create a new content, and they are just as useful to learn about new opportunities, goods and services. This site uses the most intelligent and polite way of displaying ads and it NEVER spams you with them! If you like the content that you can read on this page (for free), please be so kind and disable your Ad-block or just whitelist this site. By doing so, you will prove that this content is of interest to you. If not, then keep in mind that
ad-blocking prevents me from continuing to produce the content that I do provide free of charge. Therefore a creation of a new content
will be slower and more difficult to implement, due to your Ad-block. Thank you for understanding!