A Matter of Style: Fashion in 17th Century France and New France Essay examples

A Matter of Style: Fashion in 17th Century France and New France Essay examples

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Queen Marie Antoinette started a fashion revolution in France when she began ordering and wearing muslin dresses from “the Americas.” Muslin dresses would have been plentiful during the 1780s when the Queen sought a simpler more comfortable wardrobe. In addition to this, the climate of the southern portion of New France and its islands caused an abundance of cotton to grow and foster a budding fabric industry.
This paper compares the fashions of women in 17th century France to those of women living in New France. For the purposes of this paper, New France includes the Caribbean islands that France colonized as well as the Louisiana Purchase which spanned fifteen current U.S. states and two Canadian provinces. Through the study of fashion designs and trends, the social customs of the time can be explored. People create and wear clothes that best express their beliefs, social status and aspirations. The garments of the past are the “silent witnesses” to history. They were present during distinctive historical events.
French Class Structure
In Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries clothing was not a mere necessity; it was a fashion statement from which people could determine whether you were a common figure or a figure of nobility. Prior to Spain’s domination of fashion innovation, the Burgundians set the trends in clothing. Spain’s courts held the political powers that were most dominant and therefore their fashions were the most sought after. Even during the domination of Spain as the fashion capital, however, France was widely respected for its production of luxury goods. Especially during the reign of Francois I in the mid-16th century, France was admired for its elegance.
France first began to see the ad...


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...le position of rank. No one was permitted to contact the King by knocking on his door. All visitors had to use their left hand’s little finger to scratch on the King’s door until he acknowledged their presence and permitted their entrance. Many courtiers allowed their little fingernail to grow quite long so that they could scratch on the door. This also allowed others to admire their long nail as a signifier that they had access to the King.
While the laborers used by the royal family and their loyal courtesans resided and worked in Paris. Hence a series of tailors, weavers, embroiders, dressmakers and milliners were able to establish themselves as fashion experts and promote the wares of nobility to Parisians. Wealthy fashion patrons and actresses worked with all types of designers from this burgeoning industry in order to create personal wardrobes as well as

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