Dress like: Girls from Rococo paintings

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In quarantine, as never before, it became clear: we live in an era of global opportunities. Today you can watch opera or ballet in the French Grand Opera without getting up off the couch, listen to leading art critics or take a virtual walk through one of the museums in the world.
The last opportunity is often used by designers, when creating their collections, references to masters of different eras and art schools. The leitmotif of the spring-summer 2020 season was Rococo with its many frills, ribbons, draperies, corsets and elegant lace. We tell in more detail how to create a modern image in this style. The main rule is not to overdo it.

Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, known around the world as the official favorite of King Louis XV – the Marquis de Pompadour, was not only an educated intellectual and trendsetter, but also had the right to influence public affairs and patronized artists. Her beloved artist Francois Boucher portrayed an aristocrat with symbols of her virtues, deliberately emphasizing the education of the marquise. The frame was always attended by books, brushes and notes. As part of the royal dress code, Poisson was able to experiment with a palette of colors and decorative elements.

So, the first ceremonial portraits of Antoinette were executed in nude pastel shades, emphasizing infantilism and fragile position in society. And later ones are already in deep tones, with accent details to emphasize the character and influence of the marquise.

Jean-Honore Fragonard was a master of erotic plots and open meanings. His 1767 Swing work became the canonical image of the entire Rococo style. It was during this period of history that women's costume reaches equal importance in decoration and complexity with men's.

A carefree girl, frozen in the moment of flight in a powdery pink dress complete with white stockings, flaunted all over Paris. The central element of her stomacher corsage is made in white and decorated with step ribbons, and the image is complemented by a blue brooch and a hat.

Louis XV was the first to introduce the tradition of balls into the palace canon and strongly supported the development of the theater. His example was followed by the artist Antoine Watteau, taking as a basis theatrical plots, or rather the images of actors, who at that time did not attach much importance. Therefore, "Gilles" Watteau silently stands away from the secular crowd in a simple white image. The collar, like a medieval gorger, is gathered in a soft lace ring, white color adds to it detachment and at the same time depth. The only bright detail in his suit is pink bows on shoes.


In the seventeenth century, women were not allowed to work and engage in art, and yet Adelaide Labil-Guillard challenged social prejudice and became a famous artist presenting her work in the Louvre. She portrayed her self-portrait in a homely velvet robe like robe volante, with a silver brocade skirt embroidered with gold threads. And she completed the image with elements traditional for Rococo: a headdress, a shawl and bows from white ribbons.


Thomas Gainsborough is considered one of the most important British artists of the second half of the 18th century. The portrait painter wrote quickly, and the works of his maturity are characterized by a light palette and light strokes. Gainsborough later became one of the founders of the Royal Academy of Arts in London, which is still considered a prestigious educational institution.

His work "Boy in Blue" became a revolution in the world of art. The feminine image of a teenager of the 1770s in a pale blue satin suit of an aristocrat, with gold embroidery, erased the line of stable canons of perception of men in society. Several centuries later, the painting inspired Quentin Tarantino to create the image of the protagonist of the film "Django Unchained", performed by Jamie Foxx.

See also: Dress like: Queen of Spain Letizia

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