Middle Ages








wedding dresses

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The Rococo is the last period in which courtly fashion sets the trend. Towards its end, starting from England, it transitions into bourgeois fashion, which celebrates its final victory with the French Revolution.
Beginning with the early Rococo or the Regency (named after the reign of Philip II, who reigned for 8 years after the death of Louis XIV in 1715, until Louis XV became of age) through to the High Rococo (1750-1780) and up to the Late Rococo (1780-1789), this period is characterized by a dramatic improvement in living conditions. Demand explodes for rich fabrics and precious jewellery but also and especially for refined and sophisticated arrangements. Thus, it is no longer by wealth but by education and aesthetics that people set themselves apart from the emerging middle class.
Unlike men's clothing, women's undergoes substantial change in the 18th Century. The stiff pomp that prevailed at the court of Louis XIV is gradually abandoned and the retreat into privacy commences. The negligee, a "morning robe" is not only worn at home. This garment produces an abundance of simple upper garments.

Thus, in the Regency, the Contouche or the Adrienne became very popular; a robe, loosely hanging down from the shoulder, that unfolds conically and without waistline over a crinoline.

At the same time, the early decades of the century see the development of the robe à la française, consisting of jupe (skirt), stomacher and manteau (overcoat) with marked waist and loose hanging back folds, the so-called Watteau folds.

The Manteau also exists in jacket shape, called Casaquin.

The very sophisticated Manteau was used in many different variants of the court dress and adopted, as we shall see later, increasingly pompous forms. As centuries before, clothing is made to suit the occasion. In summary, there is the ceremonial court dress (Cour), the courtly evening wear (Grande parure), the half flush (Parure), with citizens also donned and, finally, the negligee, the house and street clothing of the nobility.
At the beginning of the century, the hoop petticoat, inseparably connected to women's dress design in the Rococo, moves away from the rigid Spanish form of the "Verdugado". While still conical at first, it rapidly transitions into a dome shape to form the typical oval shape in the 30s. Overall, the hoop petticoat becomes noticeably shorter until only two side baskets remain - the so-called "pocket hoops". The wide, oval crinoline is reserved for court garments. The corset, however - also determines the shape of the dress - changed only slightly: the waist was a little shorter and less pointed. The bodice fits the corset exactly and is often provided with an ornate chest piece - the stomacher.

Even if ladies wear no coats whatsoever, they withstand the cold winter months with fur-lined capes, quilted padded skirts,
or fur-lined or fur-trimmed Manteaus.
Material selection increasingly leans towards lighter silk taffeta and damask, mostly in soft, extremely nuanced pastels,
seldom in bright colours, especially red
and sometimes in heavy brocades too.
Patterns are often made of delicate tendrils and scattered flowers, but also large-patterned flowers and/or tendril fabric are commonplace.
Finery becomes all-important: a wealth of bows, ruffles, lace trimmings, sashes and, not least, artificial flowers in all variants.
Exquisite embroideries continue to be in fashion.
Until the middle of century, hairstyles remain exceedingly simple: the hair is simply pulled back and pinned up. The only innovation lies in the white or grey powdering.
Men's clothing remains relatively unchanged. The Justaucorps is shaped tighter and cuffs and pocket flaps become smaller. Silk and brocades are also the preferred materials, with and without embroidery,
velvet is added, usually in blue, brown or red.
The shirt features a lace jabot on the chest and lace cuffs on its sleeves. A white band is placed around the neck.
Trousers (culotte) extend further to the knee and no longer end under the stocking but over it.Over the whole set, people wear the frock coat if needed, a large coat with double or single collar.
While the tricorn still belongs with a good suit, people no longer wear it as such - on the head - but hold it elegantly under their arm.
Men wear - unlike women - almost exclusively wigs whose pigtail is tied at the neck and fitted with a bow or placed inside a black rubber bag. Men predominantly use white powder.
With the approach of the French Revolution, the contradiction between aristocracy and bourgeoisie becomes a chasm. At the Court, crinolines and hairdos are becoming huge and unnatural, while finery appears invariably grotesque.
At the same time, the influence of the English gentry and upper classes begins to drive the adoption of plain, wool suits and cotton clothes, ultimately setting the tone in the continent with the so-called "English fashion".
In men's clothing, for example, the "Werther costume" - blue cloth coat with brass buttons, yellow vest, leather trousers and high boots - which countless young people adopted after the publication of the novel, even Goethe himself, can be traced back to the influence of English fashion.
Cloth fashion differs from silk Justaucorps by its material and its cut. The tail coat always features a collar and long sleeves, which extend down to the wrist.
The Justaucorps - from the middle of the century dubbed "Habit" - will still be worn in silk, brocade and especially in velvet.
Unlike the wool suit, the vest is sometimes made out of white pique or silk, and combined with a white tie. Unheard of in fashion to that date, tie and clothing had to be spotlessly clean!
In English women's fashion, paniers remained a mandatory Court garment until 1820; outside, however, these were seldom if ever seen anymore. Instead, padded hip rings or simple "pads" were used to lend further fullness to the skirt. Towards the end of the Century, the so-called Cul de Paris, essentially a band or pad worn over the buttocks, became very popular.

The robe à l'anglaise, however, also included an - albeit more comfortable - corset. Silk fabrics were sometimes replaced by printed cotton fabrics, the so-called "Indienne", which - as the name suggests - were imported from India.

Matching the robe à l'anglaise we found fabric hoods and hats, the latter mostly made of straw, and more or less richly decorated with flowers and feathers, a favourite at the time.
In France, people hardly put up with the "reasonable" English fashion. While French people were not immune to English fashion influences, they transformed and localised them much more than in other countries.
Indeed, women's clothing at French Courts - as mentioned earlier - favours completely opposite trends. By 1740s, indeed, ladies wearing paniers could only pass sideways through a door. Now, wider skirts fitted with hip pads only made matters worse!
On the other hand, etiquette demanded the reintroduction of the dress train. These huge masses of fabric, richly embellished with a plethora of gems, carry an enormous weight, which makes moving around a serious endeavour for the wearer. For this very reason, the train is buttoned to the dress and laid out only in the hall or foyer.
Outside official events, women in French Courts also wore dresses influenced by English fashion, as is plain to see in the paintings of Marie Antoinette.
Incidentally, it was also Marie Antoinette who introduced ostrich feathers in any form of headgear. This trend was to remain until the 19th Century.
From the mid-century and for first time in the history of fashion, clothes were sometimes so short that they barely covered the calf. The shape of the Manteaus became bourgeois, being tied up at the rear and on the sides (robe à la polonaise) in a baggily shape.
Breast tissues (fichu) - copied from the Dutch bourgeoisie of the 17th century - became fashionable,
shorter lap jackets (Caraco) and

even aprons, that nobility only used for pastorals and bucolic games, turn into a clothing attribute.

The development of hairdos at French Courts can only be qualified as downright adventurous. By the 1770s, people began backcombing their hair above the forehead higher and higher. Over time, wire nettings, gauzes, bands, etc. were incorporated, leading to hairdos not rarely three to four times overtopped.
Quite often, the whole set was crowned with a design recreating a scene from social or personal life. Thus, barbers were declared artists and only the finest and wealthiest women could afford a new hairstyle every day. Hairdos were usually worn for several weeks (at night, with specially constructed nettings). Not surprisingly, lice but also other animals were extremely happy about this turn of events. Funny enough, even wire bonnets against mice were offered for these sophisticated structures...

Costume examples from our workshop


Period: 1763, Russia

We created the following Rococo dress for a documentary about czarina Catherine the Great of the TV station ZDF. As model served a painting by Fyodor S. Rokotov.

The dress, based on an original cut from the second half of the 18th century, is made from hand-painted, bejeweled silk just like the original fabric. Corresponding to the painting the silk sash was ...


Robe à la francaise

Period: around 1780, Russia

This robe à la francaise of light red silk was crafted based on a painting by Alexander Roslin depicting czarina Maria Feodorovna.
The design and realization took an original cut from the second half of the 18th century as basis. The top was crafted on a linen bodice that is laced at the back to ensure the perfect fitting of the manteau


Caraco und Rock Period: second half of the 18th century

Peplum (caraco) and skirt were made of precious silk lampas with the typical wave-like Rococo pattern. The jacket's peplum is cut and fastens up the front with hooks and eyes.
The skirt is worn over a small pannier. A fichu of cotton muslin completes ....

Robe à la francaise

Period: 1780

We crafted this robe à la francaise from apricot-silver-colored silk as commissioned work for a Rococo ball.

The pattern's sophisticated color combination conveys an impression of an undefined yet very distinct color tone, which was very popular during the Rococo. The clothing has been designed based on an original cut and thus consists of a stomacher, a jupe and a


Robe à la francaise

Period: around 1780

Based on an original cut from the second half of the 18th century we crafted this robe à la francaise. It is made of a sumptuous silk-lampas fabric with the typical curved Rococo pattern of unique coloration and styling.

To show off this fantastic fabric we consciously decided


Justaucorps Period: around 1770

This justacorps – or habit à la francaise as it was called during the second half of the 18th century – with culottes (knee-breeches with front bib) and gilet (waistcoat) was crafted based on an original cut from pigeon blue brocade with the common little patterns of ...

Robe à la francaise

Period: around 1770, England

This Rococo dress is based upon an original cut, which was obtained from the Snowshill Manor in England.
The dress thereby adapted one of the rare original copies of Toile de Jouy. Toile de Jouy fabrics came up during the 18th century. They are made of cotton imprinted with pastoral scenes. This dress also reveals the


Schinderhannes und seine Frau Julchen

Period: 1802, Germany

We crafted these suits of Johannes Bückler, alias Schinderhannes, and his wife Juliane Bläsius for a permanent exhibition at the Hunsrück museum.

On the one hand the conceptual designs are based on warrants of apprehension of the famous German outlaw. On the other hand we relied on two contemporary illustrations: a colored stitch print that depicts the arrest of the ...


Robe á la francaise blaugrau Period: about 1770

This Rococo dress, a robe à la francaise that can also be worn as polonaise with hitched up manteau, was created as commissioned work for the Carnival of Venice.
The inwrought linen bodice is furnished with an inner lacing at the back. The internal straps allow the gathering of the manteau and thus the wearing of the clothing à la polonaise, which ...

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Robe_à_l'anglaise Period: around 1780, England

This rococo suit, a robe à l’anglaise based on an original cut, is heavily influenced by the bourgeois fashion from England and was crafted from printed cotton. The open front skirt is fixated through numerous...

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Rokoko Tanzkleid

Period: first half of the 18th century

There are only little literature and few paintings – let alone originals – about dance dresses from this epoch. The following suit is therefore based on the few existing paintings, drawings and porcelain figures. In this particular case it was our customer herself that tirelessly provided...

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Herrenanzug aus Samt

Period: around 1780

We crafted this justacorps, or also habit à la francaise with culottes (knee-breeches with front bib), after an original cut from dark green cotton velvet. The embroidery of the cream-colored silk waistcoat repeats this green tone. A shirt with antique lace and a silk necklet go perfectly with this justacorps.

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Hochzeitskleid Come and see our pages with beautiful wedding gowns!