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Fashion Periodicals

Many of today's traditional wedding customs saw the light at the beginning of the 19th century and the first known fashion plate representing a bride wearing a white dress and a veil appears in 'Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes' of 1813. The French Revolution had shaken up old customs in all stratas of society, hence the new regime looked to the Classical era for inspiration. The wedding veil became popular again, weddings became more of social occasions than the family affairs of old. Where French fashion lead the English was sure to follow and soon the English bride wore white at her wedding just like her French sisters.

Ackermann's Repository 1816 11

Although the English fashion journals are rather silent on wedding dresses during the Regency era, there is a rare print in 'Ackermann's Repository' o for June 1816 p of a wedding dress in white satin with an overdress in striped gauze and trimmed with Brussels lace. It was to be worn with pearl jewelry, white satin slippers and white kid gloves but no veil.

The second picture is an unique print of a bridal couple of 1826 q. This one is from the German edition of 'Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes' r, one of the leading fashion periodicals of the time.The bride is wearing a white dress, lavishly trimmed with blonde lace, white shoes and a white veil. The groom has a white waistcoat and a double-breasted coat in cloth with a velvet collar and Cashmere pantaloons. A beaver hat and a fine striped cravat sets of the whole, no buttoniere though.

Bridal couple Journal des Dames 1826 12

The German (and Belgian) editions of the magazine differed from the French edition by often combining prints from the original edition. We cannot then say for certain that the male in this print is dressed in a special wedding suit. However, we CAN draw the conclusion that the magazine editor considered men's morning wear suitable for the groom.

In Journal des Dames (Costume Parisien) of 1820 s we find the first reference to the use of orange blossoms as the flower of choice for the bride. The dress is white lace over satin, tied back with a wide sash that ends in a bow, and trimmed at the bottom with a satin rolleau. The gown has short puff sleeves and is worn with long white gloves. It's noteworthy that the veil is referred to as d'Angleterre -in the English style. We are tempted to draw the conclusion that the veil was popular in England before the fashion spread to France!

Journal des Dames 1813 13
Journal des Dames 1820 14
Journal des Dames 1823 15
Journal des Dames 1824 16

By 1823 t fashion had changed and now dictated long sleeves worn with mittens rather than gloves. The sprigged white gown is trimmed with a double lace flounces and a lace trimmed veil, white mittens and white kid slippers complets the picture.

The same journal had a plate in 1824 u picturing a bride all in white: White dress, white lace trim, white lace veil, white gloves, white shoes, the lot. Attending her is her maid or of honor in an elaborate gown of her own, if we can believe the print, also in white. Since all but one known fashion print comes from Journal des Dames we could call it the bridal magazine of the age. To be sure the fashion of creating a wedding dress especially for that occasion appears to have started in French and spread from there to other parts of the Western world.

Next: Historical Wedding Gowns

11. 'Bridal dress' Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion and Politics, June 1816.
12. Bridal couple, plate #15, Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes (Costumes Parisien) 1826
13. 'Une Mariee' (A bride) Journal des Dames 10 September 1813
14. Journal des Dames 1820, plate #1913
15. Journal des Dames 1823
16. 'Mariee et de Demoinselle d'Honneur' (The bride and the maid of honor) Journal des Dames 1824

Notes on the text:
o: Properly "Ackermann's Repository of Arts, Literature, Commerce, Manufactures, Fashion and Politics," published 1809-1829 by Rudolph Ackermann. Ackermann was a German carriage designer by trade when he moved to London 1783. By 1800 he was the leading publisher of the Regency era, publishing well over 300 books, plus innumerable prints and periodicals over his career. Ackermann was more than just a printer. A major patron of the Arts, he ran a drawing school, employed his own artists (Thomas Rowlandson worked constantly for him over three decades) and also manufactured art supplies such as watercolor paints. He shop was technologically advanced, 1811 he had gas light installed at the premises at 101, The Strand. The quality of his prints were second to none, using the Alois Senefelder's process of lithography which he patented in England 1817.

p: Plate 33, 'Bridal Dress' from No 6, Volume 1, Ackermann's Repository, June 1816: "A frock of striped French gauze over a white satin slip; the bottom of the frock is superbly trimmed with a deep flounce of Brussels lace, which is surmounted by a single tuck of byas white satin, and a wreath of roses; above the roses are two tucks of byas white satin. We refer our readers to our print for the form of the body and sleeve: it is singularly novel and tasteful, but we are forbidden either to describe it, or to mention the materials of which it is composed. The hair is dressed low at the sides, and parted so as to entirely display the forehead: it is ornamented with an elegant aigrette of pearls in front, and a sprig of French roses placed nearly at the back of the head. Necklace, earrings and breacelets of pearl. White kid gloves, and white satin slippers.

We have to thank Mrs. Gill, of Cork-street, Burlington Gardens, for both our dresses this month; and we must observe, that the one we have just described, is a wedding-dress which she has recently finished for a young lady of high distinction."

q: Bridal couple, plate #15, Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes (Costumes Parisien) 1826

Fig. 1 (Bride) Wedding costume. Hairstyle executed by Monsieur Croizat forming a kind of enclosed bonnet to which is fitted the veil of blonde lace. Dress of blonde lace, white shoes & white gloves.

Fig. 2 (Groom) Beaver hat, fine striped cravat. Double waistcoat of pique (a patterned white fabric). Double-breasted coat with velvet collar and round gold buttons. Cashmere trousers fasten in front and button on lower part.

Text translated from the original French plate, description courtesy of Brenda Sneathen Mattox of Fancy Ephemera Paper Dolls

r: Costume Parisien par Le Journal des Dames et Des Modes, published June 1, 1797 - January 5, 1839. The magazine was small, containing, besides the cover, only eight pages of text and one engraving. The engravings were colorized by hand. Not to be confused with the earlier 'Le Journal des Dames', published 1759–78 and considered the first true women's magazine devoted to health, education and fashion.

s: Journal des Dames 1820, plate #1913 Title: "Coiffure de Mariée, ornie d'un croissant de fleurs d'oranger, d'une branche de tubireuse et d'un voile d'Angleterre. Cette Coiffure composée et exicutie par Mme Plaisir. Robe de dentelle, dessous de satin. (Bridal hairstyle decorated with a crescent of orange blossom, a sprig of tuberose and an English veil. Hairstyle designed and executed by M. Plaiser. Lace over satin dress.)"

Text translated from the original French plate, description courtesy of Brenda Sneathen Mattox of Fancy Ephemera Paper Dolls

t: Journal des Dames 1823

u: Journal des Dames 1824 Title: "Costume de mariée et demoiselle d'honneur. Les robes de la facon de Mme Hyppolite" (Clothes for the bride and maid of honor. Dress fashions from Mme Hyppolite)


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