Category: 1860-1869


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1866 – Auguste Toulmouche, The Hesitant Fiancée

In The Hesitant Fiancée, Auguste Toulmouche steps away from his usual depiction of beautiful yet idle women Emile Zola described as “Toulmouche’s delicious dolls.” He refines his style by painting a more complex subject–one of an arranged marriage that the bride clearly rebels against, as evidenced by the subject’s direct gaze. Despite the shift of the subject matter, Toulmouche keeps to his standard of painting lavish gowns and luxurious backdrops.

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1867 saw an increasing popularity of princess-cut dresses (those without a waist seam) as well as a greater emphasis on back volume as the crinoline begins to disappear. Men’s trousers began to be more narrowly cut in the “French style.”

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In 1865 the shape of the crinoline had shifted—flattening in the front, with greater fullness in the back. Blue, neutral, and striped fabrics were quite popular and often accented with contrasting trimmings.

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1863 saw the crinoline still reigning triumphant with full bell-shaped skirts and tiny, nipped-in corseted waists the ideal silhouette—in part due to the support of the French Empress Eugénie. In more avant-garde circles, some were beginning to abandon the crinoline.

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