7th century, King Louis XIV was crowned king and he ruled the throne at the young age of five in France when his father had died. This ruler was notable throughout European history and in this period of time, civilization was marked by an uneasy way of life within the social classes. His style of ruling was defined as an absolute monarch where he was in full charge of the government and his power had no regulation by a constitution or the law, meaning the actions he make is based on his own order and ruled by himself as being the top authority; orders and commands revolves around him. As being the highest leader of France, there were workshops that consisted of artists and architects such as a painter named Hyacinthe Rigaud, who became an important painter to the king. This French baroque painter painted a portrait of King Louis XIV in the year 1701. Some of the articles of clothing that the king wore were the breeches, mules, and cravat. These items are from the 17th century. According to research, the authors stated, “At the beginning of the 17th century, trunk hose were still being worn. The name refers to a specific style of voluminous gathered breeches that were attached to the waistband with a buttoned closure down the center front” (Blanco, p. 34). The trunk hose were padded to give the wearer its shape, especially worn by fashionable men of that period. The materials were made either from silk or velvet. As time goes by, the trunk hose was later on called breeches. According to the author, “By the end of the 18th century, it was common for breeches to be made from a different material than the coat.” (Blanco, p. 38). The shoes worn by the king helped make him appear taller and the illusion of the heels gives that appearance. In the textbook, “During the 1730s-1740s, a weighty Louis heel, with stout proportions and slightly upturned toe, became more popular” (Blanco, p. 111).
King Louis XIV wore his high red signature soles not because he was short and to appear taller. He wore it to signify his importance in the position as the king; a manifestation of royalty. The color red was a notable color that displays the king’s status of France and only the ones related to royalty were granted the period of wearing high heeled shoes with red in it. (Campbell, 2005). This period were a time of transition, and the silhouette of the body changes throughout through dress. The cravat was also seen being worn by the king, and these neckwear in general plays an important part of a person’s daily wear. Evidence was found in illustrations of the cravats in paintings and fashion plates. In addition to the information of the cravat, “The neck cloth was simple to wear, being a long narrow piece of linen or muslin that was tied just once around the neck in a loose knot, with modest lace or fringed ends” (Blanco, p. 200). Unlike the Northern Renaissance, where the neckwear was bigger and fuller, in the period of the 17th century, the ruff had disappeared and the collar was flat and made of lace. This form of evolution gradually changed throughout time.
In another example of a portrait of Antoine Singlin, painted by Philippe de Champaigne in the 17th century, the man was shown wearing a flat collar. Men and women both wore the similar styles of the collar but the styles for men were much less voluminous than the women. This style indicated the wealth of that person as well. According to the textbook, “Flat collars and the wide circles of gathered linen that made up ruffs had to be held up at the back of the neck in order to frame the face properly” (Blanco, p 159). This was from the 17th century because at this time of period, the ruff was no longer in fashion, and men and women were seen wearing a flat version of neckwear.
In one of the portraits seen at the museum, there was a man wearing knee-length breeches, and a woman in a gown. The title of the painting was called, “Before”, painted by William Hogarth in the 18th century. The author of the textbook stated that these breeches, “Were worn by gentleman in the 18th century. Below the knee, the legs were covered by stockings or by boots for equestrians and those in the military” (Blanco, p. 37). The materials used for the breeches indicated the social ranking of the wearer as well as their job position. Although the differences between of the breeches were the type of materials used to produce this garment, and also the length and voluminous style of it. In this period, the breeches were at knee-length and less fuller compared to the breeches in the 17th century. The textbook started that, “For the first half of the century, the knees of the breeches were usually covered in by stockings that were rolled up and fastened by garters” (Blanco, p. 38). Men wore these breeches in different styles and usually a form of accessory to their outfit. Women of this period wore corsets, which is a device to make the waist appear narrow. The huge emphasis on the narrow waist is still prevalent in modern world today. According to the author, “A woman laced her stays, a corset stiffened with whalebone, pack thread, wood, or metal, onto her upper body over her shift” (Baumgarten, 2005). The front of the corset would be designed with cords through the eyelets either at the front or back. Women can move in them even though they were tightly laced on their body. The corset was also worn as support garments and not only to have a waist appear smaller (Koda, 2006). In the 18th century, the middle class or the aristocracy were fashion conscious as machines were invented to produce garments at a faster rate. The neckline of the woman in the painting was either square or oval, the style of her hair was in a bun, her dress was a bell-shaped gown, and the sleeves were set low on the shoulder. The gowns were often produced to be open at the front and the bodice was supported by a garment called the stomacher. In addition, “The size and shape of hoops varied during the century as fashion dictated; ladies’ skirts took on their most exaggerated width in the middle of the eightieth century” (Baumgarten, p. 20).
The importance and usefulness of studying primary historical costume source is to reveal the definition of the noun. It is like a time machine that traces back to the past and learn more about the historic components. Having this kind of access to a primary source offers and authentic documentation of what was then compared to now. When reading a book or having a professor explain about a historical figure or artifact in class, it does not relate the experience that would be received versus visiting a museum in person. This gives the viewer of sense of reality, such as walkthrough for tour guide because they are able to see that historical figure up close and in details. Nonetheless, this is a gateway to establish a real connection between the work of the artist rather than observing it visually in books or a classroom setting. The point of experiencing a museum in person is being able to grasp the physical details of ancient artifact and to embrace it. The mesmerizing rarity of a historic object would date back a couple hundred years or a thousand years, and this is what makes it extravagant. Obtaining a genuine response when viewing and studying from primary source can be a great educational tool and an inspiration for students. Instead of listening and reading about a distant figure or object that may or may not have to do anything with that student, the historical interpretation of what is explained can be moved onto the next level of education and feeling. It is important to have some sort of emotions when someone reads the title and description of the plaque on an artist’s work and brainstorm thoughts about it. It gives viewers a sense of empathy which can be applied to everything in order to understand the meaning behind it. A painting is not just a painting. Displaying empathy is an important skill for an individual to cultivate in daily life whether if it is good or bad. The textile industry is rather impressive in which people expressed their role and wealth through dress like how modern world is dressed today. The backbone of all these garments have its place of role in history as they all evolved as time passed by. They are the reason why fashion is how it is today, and the inspirations that the designers look up to. This helped shaped the styles of clotting and the impact that it made in the fashion industry.