Month: Last updated Aug 12, 2020 | Published on Jul 30, 2020

1818-1907 – Elizabeth Keckley

Elizabeth Keckley, a remarkably successful dressmaker, built her career upon exacting technical standards, graceful clean lines, and an understanding of Parisian fashionable trends. She is well known for her work for the political elite of Washington DC, particularly for Mary Todd Lincoln. Keckley was one of the first African American women to publish a book and was an impassioned activist who created a relief organization for newly freed enslaved persons.

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1690-1699

The 1690s silhouette for women was extremely vertical and linear with the long-trained mantua being amplified by the towering fontange lace headdress. The more modest jacket-style mantua bodices are often attributed to the influence of Madame de Maintenon, the secret wife of King Louis XIV. Men’s coats gained fuller skirts and their wigs were now two-peaked and, by the end of the century, powdered gray or white.

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1680-1689

In the 1680s, the bustled and trained mantua became the dominant dress for women, often in dark silk brocades. Men continued to wear the justaucorps, which was now slightly shaped at the waist, with a lace cravat and curly full-bottomed wig.

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1670-1679

1670s womenswear saw the advent of the looped-up overskirt along with a growing enthusiasm for brocade fabrics. Men of the period uniformly adopted the long collarless coat (known as a justaucorps) and full curly wigs became the dominant hairstyle.

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