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Introduction:

Les belles robes d'époque...

Qui n'a jamais rêvé de pouvoir reculer le temps pour participer à une de ces grandes réceptions typiques du 19e siècle, où les femmes étaient vêtues de leurs plus beaux corsages, et les hommes, de leurs habits?

Mais quelle était la différence de confort entre ces merveilleux vêtements et ceux d'aujourd'hui?

À défaut d'être né un siècle trop tard, vous pourrez tout de même, dans notre circuit, découvrir quelques exemples de ces tenues vestimentaires.

Marie-Ève Gagnon
Mélanie Desroches
Polyvalente Chanoine-Armand-Racicot


M969.1.11.1-4
© McCord Museum
Dress
Maison Soinard, Paris
About 1868-1869, 19th century
Fibre: silk (taffeta, fringe, tulle), cotton (lining); metal; bone; Sewn (machine & hand)
Purchase from Mme Roch Rolland
M969.1.11.1-4
© McCord Museum

Comments:

L'invention de la machine à coudre, mise au point par Thimonnier en 1829, a débuté par effrayer les couturiers. Mais en 1872, on en comptait déjà 24 000!

Vous pouvez constater que sans cette nouvelle invention, la robe ci-contre n'aurait pu être confectionnée, dû à la complexité de ses détails.

Description:

The puffed skirt is the new important stylistic element in this garment. The basqued bodice is short-waisted and has a low wide neckline edge with pleated tulle and embellished with a flounce of pleating under which fringe is attached. A flat bow is superimposed at the shoulderline on each side. The short puffed and gathered sleeves are edged with a ruche of pleated tulle. There is a draw-tape at the neckline in front, and a front closure with five self-covered buttoms. The underskirt is gored and pleated to the waistband at front and sides; at the back it is gathered to the band. There is a deep gathered flounce at the hemline, topped by a smaller one of pleated fabric. The gored overskirt is also pleated or gathered to the waistline. It has an apron front created by gathering at the sides near the hemline which results in puffing : this area is marked by a bow at each side. The back is longer than the front and is gathering at the center near the hemline which again creates puffing : a third bow is found here.The bouffant form at the sides of the skirt was reffered to at the time as a panier. The base of the overskirt is trimmed with a pleated flounce and fringe. The date is substantiated by those of Caroline-Virginie de Saint-Ours-Kierzkowski's honeymoon in Europe and her documented Paris visits in 1868 and 1869, which determine when she bought the gown with the Paris label. Caroline-Virgine de Saint-Ours-Kierzkowski was fashion conscious. In a diary written during her European honeymoon in 1868-1869 she remarked on the dress of New York women, finding them, to her taste, over-dressed. In London, she commented on her enjoyment of window-shopping. And while visiting Paris, she wrote of La Messe des Élégants at the Église de la Madeleine : she wryly observed that at this late mess, people seemed to be moved more by the display of the toilettes than by the service. (Excerpt from: BEAUDOIN-ROSS, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion : Nineteenth-Century Montreal Dress, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992, p. 34.)

Keys to History:

The discourse on the benefits of physical activity was directed more to men and children than to women. Doctors perceived women as vulnerable, believed them to be too frail to take part in sports. It was thought that women who did sports became over-agitated, and that this impeded their ability to have children. Women were thus generally urged to take up passive activities such as reading and sewing. According to Victorian ideology, men and women evolved in different spheres: women, as protectors of the home, were expected to confine their interests to the domestic sphere.

What:

Fashion in the Victorian era clearly reflected the constraints placed on women, in particular, on well-to-do women, who dressed for appearances.

Where:

This dress, very much in style at the time, came from the renowned Parisian dress shop Maison Soinard.

When:

What was considered the height of feminine elegance in 1870? Puffed sleeves, tight waists and duscreet necklines in keeping with the moral standards of the era.

Who:

This dress was acquired by Caroline-Virginie de Saint-Ours for her honeymoon in Europe in 1868-1869. Caroline-Virginie de Saint-Ours was the daughter of the Quebec politician François-Roch de Saint-Ours (1800-1839) and the wife of the Polish-born military officer Alexandre-Édouard Kierzkowski (1816-1870).

M971.105.6.1-3
© McCord Museum
Dress
About 1870-1873, 19th century
Fibre: silk (taffeta, faille); Sewn
Gift of Mrs. J. Reid Hyde
M971.105.6.1-3
© McCord Museum

Comments:

Tout le monde a probablement déjà entendu parler du fameux corset qui donnait l'impression que toutes les femmes avaient une taille de guêpe. Certains même s'étendaient jusqu'aux genoux, soulignant la rectitude et la raideur des femmes. Certaines finissaient même par s'évanouir tellement elles étaient comprimées sous leur corset.

Ce genre de robe, appelée faux-cul, fut inventée pour changer cette apparence de droiture. Le derrière était si proéminent qu'un dispositif rétractable, le strapontin, fut inventé pour permettre à la femme de s'asseoir.

Description:

The puffing at the back of the skirt, as seen here, has evolved into what became known as the bustle style of 1870. Then it was usually supported by a substructure, called a bustle, often made of horsehair. The short-waisted bodice with a short basque has long sleeves with deep cuffs bordered by self-fabric bands in the darker taffeta and decorated with two buttons, these and all other buttons being covered in faille. The lower edge of the jacket is bordered with the self-fabric bands which are also used to create, in the front and back, a V-configuration to suggest a yoke. The basque is longer at the back, forming a box-pleated postillon that features buttoned revers and hip buttons. The overskirt is gored and pleated to the waistband at the sides, and gathered to it in the back. The sides of the front are slightly gathered at their edges to a central back panel which is longer than the front : the gathered areas are embellished with bows. The back gathering results in puffing which is supported by interior vertical tapes. Bands similar to those used in the jacket form a border near the hemline of the overskirt. The underskirt is also gored, pleated to the waistband at the sides and gathered to it at the back. The hemline is embellished with a deep self-fabric flounce and banded with the darker taffeta, except for the front area of the underskirt. Here, near the hemline, there is instead a rectangular panel of decoration with banding, gathering, flat pleats and bows in both taffeta fabrics. From 1870, the puffing was supported with vertical interior tapes. At this time the bodice was often short-waisted and had short basques, as in the McCord model. Subtle evidence of its lengthening into a more normal waist is increasingly noted in portraits in the Notman Photographic Archives in 1873, and becomes well-established by 1874. (Excerpt from: BEAUDOIN-ROSS, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion : Nineteenth-Century Montreal Dress, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992, p. 36.)

Keys to History:

The puffing at the back of the skirt, as seen here, has evolved into what became known as the bustle style of 1870. It was usually supported by a substructure called a bustle, often made of horsehair. The short-waisted bodice with a short basque has long sleeves with deep cuffs bordered by bands of dark blue-green taffeta and decorated with two buttons covered in faille, as are all of the buttons. The lower edge of the jacket is bordered with the same taffeta bands, which are also used to create a V in the front and back, suggesting a yoke. The basque is longer at the back, forming a box-pleated peplum that features buttoned revers and hip buttons.

The gored overskirt is pleated to the waistband at the sides and gathered to it at the back. The sides of the front are slightly gathered at the edges to a central back panel, which is longer than the front. The gathered areas are embellished with bows. The back gathering results in puffing, which is supported by interior vertical tapes. Bands similar to those used in the jacket form a border near the hemline.

What:

The underskirt, like the overskirt, is gored, pleated to the waistband at the sides and gathered to it at the back. The hemline is embellished with a deep self-fabric flounce banded with the darker taffeta, except in the front, where there is a lower rectangular panel of decoration with banding, gathering, flat pleats and bows in both taffeta fabrics.

Where:

Published in Montreal in the 1870s, the Canadian Illustrated News and L'Opinion Publique were lavishly illustrated with often identical pictures of places where the latest fashions of every sort could be admired.

When:

As of 1870, the back puffing was supported with vertical interior tapes. Bodices then were often short-waisted and had short basques, as in the McCord model.

Who:

This dress was worn by Mrs. Hugh McLennan (née Alice Stewart). According to Lovell's Montreal Directory for 1870, Hugh McLennan worked for J.B. Auger & Co., shippers and shipbuilders.

M968.2.1.1-3
© McCord Museum
Dress
Fry and Co. Glover
About 1890-1891, 19th century
Fibre: silk (satin, satin brocade, lining, cord), cotton (lining); glass (beads); metal; bone; Sewn
Gift of Mrs. Charles Taschereau
M968.2.1.1-3
© McCord Museum

Comments:

Comme vous pouvez le constater, l'attention est maintenant focalisée sur la poitrine, au lieu de l'être sur le derrière. Le faux-cul laisse place à un petit coussin sur le corset au sommet des seins. Cette silhouette se nomme sablier, dû à la minceur de la taille comparativement à la grosseur de la poitrine et de la jupe.

Imaginez gagner deux livres à la poitrine en une journée seulement... Ce n'était sûrement pas très bénéfique pour le dos!

Description:

Sleeve puffing is in evidence and will continue to develop until it becomes the large gigot sleeve of the mid-decade; the fullness of the bustle has now disappeared and has moved around to the sides in the form of modified paniers. A desire for fullness will continue to express itself in the growing sleeve. The upper part of the fitted cross-over bodice is made of brocade and has a vertical central-front closure with a small faille buttons. The lower part of the bodice is of satin, is draped and crosses over fasten at the left side with hooks and loops. Satin is used for the back. Puffed and fitted long sleeves are fashioned from brocade and trimmed at the wrist with Leavers lace frills. The Medeci collar is of brocade lined with satin, and is embellished with the same lace as that in the wrist frills. Passementerie in a design of running leaves with flowers embellished the upper and lower edges of the cross-over section of the bodice as well as the lower front area of the sleeve. The skirt has gored central panel of brocade; satin is used for the paniers and the remainder of the skirt. The back is full and gathered to the waistline, descending into a long train. A variant of the panier effect or slight side-puffing, a stylistic element of the Taschereau dress and popular earlier in the 1870s, was revived in 1890. 1888 was the year that a small puffed sleeve reappeared; it was worn until 1893, the year in which the larger sleeve becomes popular. The latter was established one year later. Stylistic dating of the Taschereau dress can then be determinated as being between 1890 and 1893. However, a more precise date may be suggested. Donor information indicates that the gown was worn by Adine Dionne for her début, which must have occured before her marriage to Louis-Alexandre Taschereau on May 26. 1891. This brings the end-date for the grown to that year, or the previous year. Glover, Fry and Co., whose label is founded in the Taschereau dress, was an old established Quebec City firm, importers of "High class dry goods,millinery, mantles, laces" : it was founded in 1842. (Excerpt from: BEAUDOIN-ROSS, Jacqueline. Form and Fashion : Nineteenth-Century Montreal Dress, McCord Museum of Canadian History, 1992, p. 42.)

Keys to History:

By the late 19th century, fashionable dresses had become much narrower, making it easier for women to pass through doorways. The narrow skirts still restricted mobility, however, forcing women to take tiny mincing steps. The new dresses also gave their wearers a rather unnatural shape because of the exaggerated trains in the back. But young middle-class women concerned with the latest fashions were unlikely to allow comfort to get in the way of a stylish look!

What:

This dress was worn by Adine Dionne for her debut-the special event that marked a girl's coming of age as an adult member of her social circle.

Where:

This dress was made by Glover, Fry and Company, a Quebec City dry goods and millinery firm founded in 1842.

When:

The stylistic details of this dress suggest that it was made between 1890 and 1893.

Who:

Young women making their formal debut, or "coming out" into society, would have worn special and very formal dresses for the event.

M19789.1
© McCord Museum
Bodice
About 1894-1897, 19th century
Fibre: silk (taffeta, velvet), cotton (lining); metal; Sewn (hand)
Gift of the Estate of the Late Mrs. R. S. Logan
M19789.1
© McCord Museum

Comments:

Pour continuer l'accentuation du haut du corps, le volume des manches grandit de plus en plus, faisant évoluer l'appellation de "manches à gigot" à "manches à ballon". Ces manches étaient probablement loin d'être accomodantes.

De plus, les corsages étaient habituellement faits de dentelle et couverts de garnitures qui les alourdissent.

Description:

During the early nineties the sleeve expanded, reaching an immense size in the mid-decade. The fitted and choke-collared waist-length taffeta bodice has large melon sleeves trimmed with a tied band of velvet under the puff. On either side of the front closure there are four vertical groupings of narrow flat pleats which become gathered in the upper area, some of the gathering continuing up to the collar. Flat pleating of the taffeta with velvet trim at the centre simulates a belt at the waist. The back has vertical narrow flat pleating at the centre, this also becoming gathered as in the front. A large velvet bow finishes the collar at the back. The narrow parts of the long sleeve are attached under the puff to an independent camisole inside the bodice; the lower sections of the sleeves may be removed with the camisole, so that the garment may be worn for more formal wear. The skirt is a reproduction. During 1894-1896 the large sleeve of the 1890s, as seen in the taffeta bodice, was at its largest. In 1897, the year of its collapse, we still see examples of large sleeves in the Notman Photographic Archives. But we also see smaller ones, and ones where the reduced puffing is higher up on the arm. The smaller sleeve, in a variety of styles, is established the following year.

Keys to History:

Sleeves expanded during the early 1890s, reaching an immense size in mid-decade. This fitted and choke-collared waist-length taffeta bodice has large melon sleeves trimmed with a tied band of velvet under the puff. On either side of the front closure there are four vertical groupings of narrow flat pleats that become gathered in the upper area; some of the gathering continues up to the collar. Flat-pleated taffeta with velvet trim at the centre simulates a belt at the waist. The back has vertical narrow flat pleating at the centre, gathered as in the front. A large velvet bow finishes the collar at the back. The lower, narrow part of the long sleeves is attached under the puff to an independent underbodice. Removing the underbodice made the garment appropriate for more formal wear. The skirt is a reproduction.

What:

This bodice is of yellow silk taffeta with an all-over sprig design warp-printed in green and wine, and wine velvet.

Where:

The standing collar and long sleeves of this dress indicate that it was daytime wear.

When:

A plate from the fashion journal The Delineator (Canadian edition, October 1895, pp. 407-408) illustrates a dress with large sleeves similar to those of this dress (M19789.1). The picture is captioned "Ladies Costume (in 1830 style)," a sign that the writer considered this 1890s sleeve to be a throwback.

Who:

Mrs. R. S. Logan was the owner of this bodice.

M7417
© McCord Museum
Jacket
1860-1870, 19th century
Fibre: wool (broadcloth, tapes); animal; porcupine quill; synthetic: plastic; Sewn (hand)
Gift of Mr. David Ross McCord
M7417
© McCord Museum

Comments:

Croyez-le ou non, cette veste a été faite pour être portée par des femmes! Bien qu'elles ne soient pas encore rendues au stade des camisoles "spaghetti", on peut remarquer une certaine évolution dans la mentalité des gens à la fin du 19e siècle. D'après nous, ce changement démontre bien une certaine lassitude des femmes face aux corsets, faux-culs, dentelle et manches à gigot.

Description:

This remarkable woman's wool jacket features a striking embellishment of colourful porcupine quill embroidery. The floral embroidery is thought to have been sewn by a Huron woman at L'Ancienne-Lorette, Quebec. Though the Huron produced many articles embellished with quillwork embroidery at the turn of the century, this example of embroidery on fashionable feminine clothing appears to be unique. The cut of the garment is very stylish. To accommodate a bustle, which was in vogue at the time, the jacket's design includes three slits - one at either side and one down the middle.


M991X.1.1.1-2
© McCord Museum
Two-piece bathing suit
1910-1920, 20th century
10 x 87 cm
Gift from Eaton's of Canada
M991X.1.1.1-2
© McCord Museum

Comments:

Même si ce maillot de bain a été confectionné quelques années plus tard, cet exemple montre bien qu'il n'y avait pas beaucoup de parties du corps de dévoilées à cette époque. Probablement inconfortable et encombrant, ce n'était peut-être pas l'idéal pour aller à la plage!

À cette même époque, les pantalons pour femmes faisaient leur apparition.

Keys to History:

Towards the end of the 19th century, swimming was becoming a more and more popular pastime in Quebec, particularly enjoyed by the middle class.

During this time, women's bathing suits were like long dresses and were difficult to swim in since they were often worn over a corset until the 1890s. A practical, comfortable women's bathing suit, which only became available at the beginning of the 20th century, would be adopted by woman who wanted to do more than dip their toes in the water and really wanted to swim. However, this type of bathing suit, more acceptable but still not very convenient and following the outlines of outer garments, remained common.

Of course, not all women swimmers could afford the latest fashion in bathing suits. It would take until the 1910s and 1920s before this wardrobe item was mass-produced and so became really affordable.

What:

Chemical dyes for textiles were perfected during the last quarter of the 19th century. These innovations facilitated the production of coloured fabrics.

Where:

Starting in the 19th century, some people had the privilege of holidaying at the riverside resorts of Quebec, particularly in the Lower St. Lawrence region. Renowned for its therapeutic benefits, sea bathing was very popular.

When:

Wool serge and flannel are two fabrics used to make bathing suits at the beginning of the 20th century. However, wool would be used almost exclusively until the 1930s.

Who:

The well-to-do took advantage of the riverside resorts, while the workers had to make do with the rivers, streams and lakes.

M18005.1-3
© McCord Museum
Suit
About 1780-1790, 18th century
Gift of Mrs. Herbert Molson
M18005.1-3
© McCord Museum

Comments:

De même que pour le maillot de bain, cet habit n'a pas été confectionné exactement au 19e siècle. Nous n'avions pas beaucoup de pièces masculines à notre portée, mais cette photo démontre bien le style de costumes qu'ils portaient. Cependant, cet habillement n'était pas tout à fait adapté à toutes les activités d'une journée de la vie quotidienne.

Plus les années avanceront, plus les costumes deviendront ternes, raides et austères. Les collants seront ausssi substitués par des pantalons.

Description:

The owner of this elegant suit was Dr. Philippe Louis François Badelart of Québec City, who listed his profession as surgeon. He was known as a man of excellent reputation, financial substance and social prominence. Dr. Badelart often treated the sick free of charge, and frequently gave monies to the poor. He held many positions, including that of Surgeon of the Canadian Militia and President of the Quebec Medical Society. Made of salmon-coloured cut velvet in the collared style of a "French frock", the garment is typical of the era's trend in masculine clothing away from more elaborate dress.


M979.7.1-5
© McCord Museum
Suit
1896, 19th century
Fibre: silk (velvet, taffeta, corded) cotton (lace, lining); shell: mother of pearl
Gift of Miss Shirley Bradford
M979.7.1-5
© McCord Museum

Comments:

Les petits garçons restent en robe jusqu'à trois ou quatre ans. Ils portent ensuite une culotte mi-longue accompagnée d'une blouse bouffante ou d'une tunique. Le velours noir s'éclaire d'un grand col et de manchettes en dentelle et le garçonnet porte une coiffure à longues boucles. Pauvres enfants! Ils devaient être restreints dans leurs jeux.

À partir de 1903, ils découvriront les joies des culottes courtes qui apparaîtront peu avant la guerre.

Description:

The McCord's collection of rare children's costume dates from the 18th century to modern times. As with the adult costume, much of the clothing was intended to be worn on special occasions. This Little Lord Fauntleroy suit was so named after the child who wore such garb in Frances Hodgson Burnett's 1886 novel, Little Lord Fauntleroy. Velvet suits with a sash and lace collar and cuffs became very popular as young boy's party wear during the late 19th century. Such attire, however, was undoubtedly a reflection of adult rather than childish tastes! This particular suit was worn by Walter Russell Bradford when he served as a page boy at a wedding in Granby, Quebec, in 1896.


Conclusion:

Tissus flamboyants et habits bouffants, les vêtements au 19e siècle étaient très esthétiques, mais probablement pas favorables aux mouvements! Ils ne dévoilaient pas une grande partie du corps non plus, en grande partie à cause de la religion.

Par contre, vous avez probablement aperçu une légère évolution à travers le temps.

Nous avons beau rêver de froufrous et de dentelle, avouez que les bons vieux jeans restent tout de même beaucoup plus confortables!


© Musée McCord Museum