Thursday, October 22, 2015

More Etiquette and Marie Antoinette

On fashion – It's "a desire to assert quality with the others, to show them that one is able to have the things they have. Then, too, imitation maybe prompted by a reverence for the person or persons imitated."

"Of course, fashion is largely imitative. There are two distinct reasons for imitation in matters of dress. The first is a desire to be like everyone else, to avoid being thought strange or queer by one's fellows. The second is a desire to assert quality with the others, to show them that one is able to have the things they have. Then, too, imitation maybe prompted by a reference for the person or persons imitated.

A story is told of the Duke Philip of Burgundy who, in 1461, suffered a severe illness during which his hair was completely shorn. More than five hundred nobles of the time sacrificed their hair that the Duke might not feel conspicuous. What was the necessity with the Duke became a fashion among the nobles."

"We are told that in 1775, the Queen, Marie Antoinette of France, adopted a chestnut brown colour for her gown. This color pleased the king and it is written that every lady in court had on a dress of that colour the following day. There has always been quick aping of the clothes and manners of the favourites."          
Marie Antoinette's image graces a square handkerchief– There has always been quick aping of the clothes and manners of the favourites.

"Many fashions were created by law. There is, for instance, a distinct order for edict concerning the shape of pocket handkerchiefs. It is dated June 2, 1785, and was issued by Louis XVI, supposedly at the request of Marie Antoinette. Up to her time, it would appear, handkerchiefs had been of all sizes and shapes. Some had been oblong, some around, some triangular, some square. The Queen believed that if the square form only were used the handkerchief would be very much more convenient. Consequently it was decreed, that, "The length of handkerchief shall equal their width, throughout my entire kingdom." Handkerchiefs have remained square since that day, and what the edict in 1785 made the fashion then, is still the fashion with us." —From Lillian Eichler's, "The Customs of Mankind"


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