A combination of the French rocaille, or shell, and the Italian barocco, or Baroque style, having its emergence in the 18th Century is the Rococo style of art in France. Critics have used the term to derogatively imply that the style was merely fashion. The Rococo period is now widely recognized as a major period in the development of European art. It was in this era that people set themselves apart from the emerging middle class not by wealth but by education and aesthetics.
Fig1. Rococo period clothing
Women in this era apparently wore wigs only on rare occasions and more or less preferred to have their own hair powdered and coiffed. Until the middle of the century, the hairstyles both in men and women remained exceedingly simple. If not the wigs, then hair was simply pulled back and pinned up. Men’s fashion didn’t change much during the whole era however. The justaucorps, waistcoats and breeches were worn throughout. They were introduced during the late baroque era. Although they were changing slightly in shape. The waistcoat below became ever shorter until it only reached the hips. It was in this era that finery becomes all important making way for a wealth of bows, ruffles, lace trimmings, sashes and, not at least, artificial flowers in all variants.
Fig2. Woman dressed in a classic rococo period outift
Embroideries, mostly exquisite, continued to be in fashion. Manteau was used in many different variants of the court dress and adopted, as we shall see later, increasingly pompous forms. The Manteau also exists in jacket shape called Casaquin. Even if ladies where no coats whatsoever, they withstand the cold winter months with fur lined capes, quilted padded skirts or maybe fur trimmed manteaus. The French robe, very famous in this era, had large so called Watteau pleats which followed elegantly down the back, which the English robe was a direct descendant of the mantue with sewn-d own back pleats.
Fig3 : Famous dressing style and clothing of this period
As it was evident, men’s fashion had not changed much during this era. The shirt features a lace jabot on the chest and lace cuffs on its sleeves. A white back placed around the neck. Mean wear, unlike women, almost exclusive wigs whose pigtail is tied at the neck and fitted with a bow or placed inside a black rubber bag. Men predominantly use white powder. By the 1770s, people began backcombing their hair above the forehead and made it higher. Thus, barbers were declared artists and only the finest and wealthiest could afford a new hairstyle on a daily basis.
Fig4. Classical men’s clothing of this period
However, from the mid century and for the first time in the history of fashion, clothes were sometimes so short that they barely covered the calf. Breast tissues became fashionable in this era. If we move on from clothing to the fabric meant to be used for a perfect touch was mostly light, pastel colors chosen in fabrics like taffeta, satin and damask.