elegant company


Leopard in the 18th Century

Yes, not only The Nanny wears leopard print, back in the 18th Century it was quite a fashion forward and exotic print to wear, especially for men. Breeches, waitcoats, frock coats, dresses, cuffs and lapels were seen in this pattern that feels so modern to us, but that may be not be so.

Apparently the print became popular first with Italian men and then it traveled via the young English men who traveled the Grand Tour to Europe back to England.

It is really funny the way all trends have traveled and still do: the trendy ones were the Italian men, then the early adopters were the macaroni, it moved to the aristocracy and then to the “mainstream”. Just like anything now that begins in the catwalk and it ends in Forever 21. But in a more elegant version XD

Photos from top:

  • “An Interior with Elegant Company”, Venceslao Verlin.
  • Dress fabric, silk brocade, made in France, 1760s, V&A Museum.
  • Dress fabric, silk brocade with satin stripes, made in Spitafields, England, 1768-1770, V&A Museum.
  • “Portrait of Jean-Georges Noverre”, Jean-Baptiste Perroneau, ca. 1780. Louvre Museum.
  • “Portrait of John Campbell, 1st Baron Cawdor”, Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1778.
  • “Portrait of Jean Victor de Rochechouart, Duc de Mortemart”, Jean-Marc Nattier, 1756.
  • “Madame de Moracin”, Louis Carrogi Carmontelle, ca. 1780.
  • Robe à la Française, silk, French, ca. 1770, MET Museum.
  • Frock coat, turquoise velvet with leopard pattern, French, 1785-90, V&A Museum.
  • Robe à la Française, silk brocade, French, 1755-60, Fashion Institute of Technology.