I recently just finished my first 18th century upper class dress, and just in time for bastille day with friends!
I was very fortunate and was able to get the fabric and notions all together under $40 at a craft sale. The dress is made of real silk and the most expensive item was the feathers! I had to get creative since I only had so much fabric but I am very pleased. We had such a great time and i cant wait to work on my next projects
Pale green silk sprigged overall with ivory and peach trefoils tied with tassels, comprising: petticoat with waist ties and two matching bodices, one high fashion (for early pregnancy) in ‘pierrot’ style cut low and tight with closed front, faux waistcoat panels, short tails to the back lined in striped silk, narrow curved sleeves; the other in open-robe form with inner boned closed front panels and loose deshabillé-like outer panels, the neckline outlined in cartridge pleats, with three ribbon drawstrings to allow for expansion, lined in patches of tartan and striped silk; together with a fine white lawn fichu with whitework embroidered edges
Cinnamon and ivory satin stripes, with double engageants, English back, the interior with tapes and loops to form polonaise folds; with ivory satin stomacher covered with pinked ribbon rosettes; and a finely quilted ivory satin petticoat with overall lattice design and flowerheads within triangles to the hem; together with a modern choker made to match from Valenciennes lace and ribbon (4)
The 2017 and 1991 Beauty and the Beast is set in 18 century France. This is seen in the architecture and clothing and even some of the mannerisms of the characters. (It’s not 100% accurate because it is a Disney Fairytale and liberties were taken.)
Now about the clothing. I’ve been doing some research for some unrelated things and I found a cool video on clothing in the 18th century. (You can watch ithere.) The most intersting thing I found was the pockets. Yes, POCKETS. Ladies actually had pockets in their dresses back then!! This is the even cooler part. They were more or less small bags that hung at the hip. They were worn under a couple of layers and all of those layers had slits in them to allow access to the pocket.
Heres whats so cool about Emma Watson’s Belle. She wears her pockets on the outside of her dress. Not only are they accurate to what pockets looked like in the 18th century, but they are seen. At the time, pockets were a very private thing. They were often stolen by being cut off a lady- thus you wear them under so many layers. It was also one of your only private places to hide things (small houses or maids poking around). Belle is making a pretty big satement wearing her pockets outside of her dress. 1) she has nothing of great value. 2) she trusts her fellow towns people not to steal what she does have. 3) She doesn’t care that people can see her pockets (I mean she also has her skirt tucked into her waist band so…) 4) She has no secrets. She’s an open book. ;)
So there you go. Bravo to the costume designer, Jacqueline Durran!