My planned short break from Regency fashion plate blogging extended into a month and a half-long hiatus, due to illness, holiday planning and travel, snowstorms, and a cold snap with several days of no heat in my house. But now that 2018 is underway, I’m determined to get back on a regular blogging schedule, bringing you the fashion plates and descriptions from Ackermann’s Repository from 1815 and 1816.
Ackermanns opens its 1815 year with two pale-colored dresses: a full dress in celestial blue, and an evening or opera dress in light pink. Both dresses feature wide bottom borders—a new trend for 1815? Both borders are white, the celestial blue dress’s embroidered “with shaded blue silks and chenille” in a pattern of circles or wreaths, the light pink’s plain, but edged on top and bottom with tufts of lace. My fingers itch to reach out and touch these two different embellishments, don’t yours?
I’m intrigued by the accessories featured in these prints. Nothing in the copy describes what it is that the young lady in plate 3 is holding. Is it something like a modern-day compact, which would hold a small mirror and face powder or blush/rouge? Or is it more likely to be pair of linked painted miniatures, perhaps of the owner herself and her beloved? Or of loved ones now departed?
The copy for plate 4 does describe its unusual short cape, as a “shell lace tippet.” I wonder if the tippet was knit, crocheted, or tatted? I can’t recall seeing anything like it in any fashion plate of the period I’ve seen before.
The new year brings a return of the fabric sample page at the issue’s end. Only three samples instead of four, and only two intended for dresses. Interestingly, where the fashion plates both feature light colors, all these fabric samples are on the darker end of the color scale.
I have to say that I don’t find the first sample, No. 1/2, intended for furniture upholstery, all that appealing, despite the description’s terming it “choice.” Sample 3, which is recommended for morning or domestic wear, is a more appealing black and green striped “tabinet,” a fabric that Fairchild’s Dictionary of Textiles reports is “a poplin produced chiefly in Ireland, made with silk warp and wool filling and given a moiré finish” or, more simply a “thin taffeta with a moiré finish” (558). Sample 4 is also a blend, this time of cotton and silk “toilinette,” which Fairchild’s explains is “a plain, figured, or printed fabric made of silk and cotton warp with a woolen filling” which was popular during the period for women’s dresses and men’s vests.
Can you say “tabinet and toilinette” ten times fast?