Chardin, sealing the letter, 1733, Schloss Charlottenburg, Berlin Germany
In this post I want to concentrate on the attention seeking aspect of stripe fashion. As we have seen there have been “stripe moments” in the history of dress for centuries, but what seems to be the common denominator is the desire (during these particular fashion moments) to attract attention, through clothing, to one’s person. The optical power of stripes – they relentlessly engage the eye – comes to represent the “power” of the wearer in society. Although it must be said that stripes were not just for the rich and famous, they were adopted as attention seekers at all levels of western society in the past just as they are today. The ability to get people to talk about you, even if it is just about your clothing, should never be underestimated.
Robe retroussé dans les poches ,France, 1780c, Kyoto Costume Institute, Japan
By the 1700s we really see the art of Look at Me stripes being worked into the boldest female wardrobes
Il giornale delle nuove mode francesi ed Inglesi, 1787, Italy, Coll. Bertarelli, Castello Sforzesco, Milan IT
Magasine des modes nouvelles, 1789, Paris
The craze for stripes can be seen in the last issues of french fashion magazines before the revolution of 1789. Both women and men wore striped clothing and/or accessories.
Rose Adelaide Ducreux, self-portrait, 1790, Mertopolitan Museum of Art, New York, USA
The fad returns bold and bright in the second half of the 1800s:
A. Renoir, At the theatre, 1874, Courtauld Institute of Art, London, UK
Great beauties, ladies or courtesans alike, wore stripes. But also old ladies who still felt like making a fashion statement despite their advanced age and faded beauty
Countess Primoli Bonaparte, C.R.A.A., Milan, Italy