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thing in our subsequent Numbers; at present the intelligent and descriptive have claims on our time, to which our fair readers are entitled, and we exult in becoming their faithful har
MOST ELEGANT SPRING FASHIONS.
Selected from the most tasteful public and private bingers. The Curacao cloak is formed of coloured
sarsnet, is cut like a short pelisse behind, reaching about half a yard below the waist, and continued to a point on each side, nearly to reach the bottom of the petticoat; in front it flows open, with a narrow falling cape, or lappel, on the shoulder; it is considered most elegant to trim this article all round with a broad Vandyke lace; but many adopt the variegated cord, or shaded brocade ribband.
Ours be the task each varying grace to show, When Fashion's magic art with taste combine. 'Tis ours to paint the source from whence they flow;
While all the magic, British fair, is thine.
WHILE the unfolding beauties of reviving nature awake to new life the vegetable kingdom, and usher in progressive loveliness the blooming children of Spring; while the budding fragrance of each bursting blossom steals with soothing softness over the senses, and lights anew our hopes, "Alushed by the spirit of the genial year," the more animated part of the creation step forth in rival loveliness, to welcome the season of love and pleasure. The brilliant assemblage of beauty, rank, and elegance, is not now confined to theatres, concerts, routs, and balls; but in the Park and Gardens, in drives through Bond-street, Pall-Mall, and St. James's, the eye is dazzled by the gay and splendid throng; while taste, fashion, and variety, appear as the handmaids of beauty, fascination, and grace. The cold-repelling wraps of velvet, and kerseymere, are no longer congenial to our feelings; these are now laid aside for the gentle and pliant sarsnet, or the yielding and adhesive folds of imperial satin, of gossamer softness. Of these appropriate and elegant articles are formed the Curacao cloak, and French coat and vest, now the distinguishing ornament of our fashionable belles. As at this season of tonnish celebrity and public display, the outdoor habiliment is of equal importance with that of the evening, or full dress, we shall dwell with more than customary precision on this style of costume; but our fair correspondents will remember, that we are not in the habit of describing those articles of which they can have ocular demonstration from the passing multitude, but such as are evidently select, and elegant, from being adopted by females of taste and distinction. We shall, however, attend to that intermediate style of decoration which properly belongs to those females to whom fortune has limited her bounty, and who, placed in a state of happy mediocrity, should adopt that neat and unobtrusive elegance of attire which interests rather than attracts, and which is perhaps the most difficult in combination of any other style of costume. On this subject we purpose saying some
We have seldom witnessed an article more tasteful than the French coat and vest; this habiliment is also formed of coloured sarsnet, or imperial satin. The one which attracted us in particular, was composed of a celestial blue twill sarsnet, and is formed nearly like the last new Opera coats, not a single gather being seen to unite the waist to the skirt, which sits close to the form behind, and flows open in front, dis◄ covering the graceful vest, which is composed of a width of the sarsuet near three yards long, is passed through the left shoulder-seam, crosses the back, and is brought through the bottom of the waist on the opposite side, where it meets the adverse end, and is simply tied so as to resemble a military sash. The coat and vest are trimmed entirely round with a brocade ribband of shaded purple, which has a novel and attractive contrast with the pale blue of which this elegant habit is composed. Spensers are formed in similar style, except that the lappel is much smaller, and encroaches but little on the vest, which completely finishes the spenser in front. With these articles are chiefly worn the chip or straw Gipsy hat, with correspondent triniming; or the porcupine hat, of straw, with deep tiara front. Several cloaks are seen of the cottage form, with deep pointed capes, finished with a cone, or barrel tassel; these are formed also of sarsnets. Indeed the season is not yet so far advanced as to admit of a slighter covering. The Woodman's hat, of figured sarsnet, in celestial blue, olive, dove-colour, or lilac, is an ornament where much taste and whim is united; on the youthful countenance it has a becoming and unstudied effect; for walking, however, we recommend the Cottage bonnet, or Gipsy hat of imperial straw, tied across the crown with a silk or patent-net handkerchief. There is in these articles a sort of retired elegance at once appropriate and distinguishing. Dress gowns are worn much ornamented, chiefly with lace or needle-work; and for occasions of public display we have witnessed coloured borders on crape, of India muslin; either in painting, embroidery, or
foil; we have seen a border of ivy, of liburnium, || for the head, and though we have seen inventi-
a dress of this formation at the Duchess of G—'s || lilac, and dove-brown.
It should be remembered that the morning costume, according to the present standard of fashion, is considered vulgarly deficient without a cap. Shirts, as an intermediate article, are as much in esteem as ever; they are often made without a collar, and worn with a double frill of Vandyke lace, sometimes with a fall of Mechlin lace; and those who cover the throat in public, have adopted (instead of the collar) a buffooned net, which is gathered into a large brooch of various compositions, in the centre.
An entire new trinket has made its appearance since our last communication; it is a composition representing the diversified shades of the cockleshell, set in gold; it is worn as a brooch, as a necklace, linked with gold, as a sort of coronet
LETTER ON DRESS.
ILLUSTRATIVE AND DESCRIPTIVE.
IF you would permit me for once to break through my agreement with you, dear Jutia, in my present communication, I would gladly substitute persons for things; and instead of delineating the costume, give you a sketch of cha. racters. Our house is at this period the very centre of gaiety, and mart of fashion; and while Mary appears the magnet that attracts the men, cousin John is the loadstone which collects the women. Oh! what a history could I give you of beaux that flutter round the one, and belles that flirt (nothing loath) with the other.-Of fawning sycophants in the shape of humble interlopers. Of selfish flatterers, who at once aid the vices they expose, with a long train of et ceteras too numerous for insertion. After all, my dear friend, there is something strangely enigmatical in your people of haut ton; and I am not yet able to fathom them. They are like a set of pleasing puzzlers, which entangle you in a maze of enchantment, and amuse while they perplex you. Thanks to the precepts of the dear Vicarage, though moving within their circles, I am not bound by their spells; for while surrounded by the great and the gay, I still retain a venerated recollection for all that I learnt amidst the humble and the good. But away with sentiment! A style which cousin John assures me is considered by the fashionable world, as completely gothic and canaillish. At first, dear Julia, his assertion surprised me.. "And how is this, dear cousin?" I replied. "False sentiment is, I allow, both dangerous and ridiculous; but a purity of thought and expression, arising from a just sense of right and wrong, is so blended with correct principles, that if we sink into the ridicule of one, we shake the fabric of the other."
“But, my pretty moralizer,” he returned, “have you not yet found out that we people of fashion have very delicate nerves? Our refined feelings cannot stand the shock of vulgar truths! And you must allow it would appear rather incongruous to hear a fair nymph, with arms highly exposed, and bosom courageously displayed, moralizing on the degeneracy of the times, and Iraranguing on the captivating graces of modesty." You may suppose, dear Julia, that I readily gathered from this irony of my cousin's, what were his opinions on the present too gegeneral exposure of the person; and although I followed, in a very moderate degree, a fashion which my early notions of delicacy led me to condemn, yet, since this conversation, I have been more careful to preserve that chastity of attire which we are told should be one of the distinguishing qualities of our sex. But to the main purport of my letter!
My dear Julia, all the elegance and beauty of England seem now collected in this charming city; it were impossible to give you an idea of the innumerable attractions which claim one's attention, and conspire to cheat us of our time, The Opera's brilliancy, the Drawing-room splendour, the Assembly's agile grace, the taste and beauty of the fashionable throng, which meet the eye in quick succession in our morning drives, the ingenuity and decoration exhibited at public parties, &c. &c. absolutely bewilder the mind, and leave it a chaos of pleasurable emotion, while the eye and the ear reign despotic over the other senses. But I know, dear friend, you wish me to hint my intelligence to personal decoration. I hasten therefore to give you a few choice delineations; for were 1 to descend to particulars, my task would be (like Penelope's web) without end. First, as to style, there is little variation since my last communication; and the quick transitions of the present changeful season, from Spring's mild warmth, to Winter's chilling cold, render it difficult to report what may (on the arrival of my packet in Cornwall) be deemed a faithful transcript. Last week Mary and myself were engaged a whole morning in selecting our Spring costume; but scarce had their beauties met the partial rays of an April sun, before Winter, in savage malignity, encroached on her mild dominion, and obliged us to pay a willing homage to her invidious usurpation. Velvets, nay, even coats of kerseymere, and seal-wool cloth, are now dragged forth from the recesses of the wardrobe. But as it is possible that before this packet is lodged in your fair hands,-"Another May new buds and sweets may bring," I will disregard the present monopoly of the sombre god, and no longer "Snatch my rays of brightness from the storm." To
Spring then, dear Julia, with all her beauteous sylvan train, I pay the willing tribute! Oh! how shall I paint her pure and spotless loveliness? whose influence extends to things seen and remote, who warms the opening blossoin to maturity, who lights anew the thought of genius, and gives to talent force to perpetuate her various beauties. Though amidst our groves no primrose blooms, nor gentle violet exhales its sweets, yet are their varied tints and beauties owned even at a distance from their shades.
Mary's French coat rivals the primrose hue, while my Curacao cloak the violet's shade assumes. Our Gipsy hats, of chip, are decked with wreaths, in imitation of these beauteous offspring of the season. We have also hats of satin-straw, for half-dress, with the high tiara front, and globe crown, the most novel and ele gant article of the kind I have witnessed for many seasons. I send you one to astonish the natives of your island, together with a military sash, and spenser of celestial blue, a colour selected by our first rates; and which, you know,
always thought associated most advantageously with the delicacy of your complexion. Mary was at the last Drawing-room, and wore a most splendid dress of fine silver net, over white satin, with an entire new set of hair ornaments and trinkets, of the finest garnets. I never saw her look half so beautiful, or attired with more chastity and elegance. Time will not permit me to say much of court-dresses; but I will just steal a few moments to give you a description of a dress prepared for the Princess Amelia :-It is composed of black net lace, quite plain; and round the bottom and drapery, is seen the most elegant, rich, and beautiful border of the oakleaf and its fruit. The leaves and acorns are formed of satin, shaded to nature, with chenille, in tambour. This dress (whose ground-work is of most transparent texture) is worn over an under-dress of highly-polished white satin; and has the most novel, beautiful,' and splendid effect I ever witnessed. The head-dress worn with it consists of a bandeau of diamonds, set in the form of an oak-leaf, and an aigrette of acorns in front, over which waves" a military plume of white ostrich feathers. Ovaa Ball-dresses, dear Julia, were never more at tractive than this spring. Frocks of French net, over white satin, painted in natural flowers. Dresses of white Imperial satin, with a silver brocade ribband at the bottom, and French aprons of net or lace, bordered all round, and or namented at the pocket-holes with Chinese roses. Round train-dresses of Moravian muslin, let in all round with fine footing lace, and fastened up the side with clasps of embossed gold or steel. These dresses, amidst many others, ara
conspicuous for their taste and elegance. I no longer remark the long sleeve in full-dress, except on women who have passed their maturity. I hope, Julia, you have never worn the backs of your dresses immoderately low, a correct taste must ever condemn a fashion so disgusting. I am happy to tell you, that at the last Opera, and at the Marchioness of D's grand assembly, the most elegant women wore the backs of their dresses much advanced, or shaded with gentle folds of muslin or lace.
Do not be displeased that I fulfil not your commission for the long stay. Believe, Julia, your slender form, gently and simply rounded by nature, needs not this unnatural compression; they can only be requisite for such females as exceed the embonpoint, to others they give a most ungraceful stiffness; and, I should think, must be as uneasy as they are inelegant and unnatural. Besides, dear Julia, if we consult the painter and the sculpturist, we shall find that the natural beauty of a form consists in a moderate roundness, not in contracted flatness. I positively will not allow of your destroying the symmetry of nature, by the distortions of art. We are justified, my fair friend, in obviating her defects, but not in abusing her gifts. Continue, therefore, your simple corset; and do not, with your plump cheek, and round arms, exhibit the body of a caged skeleton. Thus much, dear Julia, on this subject; but not a letter too much, if it prevents your thinking more of an article never designed for you.
You must wear your morning dresses very high in the neck, laced or buttoned behind, with work Jet in in three separate divisions, round the bottom, and in the form of a triangle on the bosom and sleeves; or otherwise your morningdresses may be formed, with little variation, like the lappeled opera-coat. The hair is still turned up tight behind, flowing in irregular curls on the crown of the head; sometimes in a plain band on one side, with ringlets falling in various directions on the other. The half-handkerchief is still prevalent; but bandeaus, entirely round the head, are considered more genteel. Your watch must ever be worn on the outside, both in the morning and evening costume.
A contrast of colours is now exceedingly fashionable, but it requires much taste to unite them with effect. The celestial blue and purple is one of the most striking and novel unions; but the primrose and lilac, the pink and dovebrown, are mixtures far more pleasing.
Good night, dear Julia!-A thundering rap at the door warns me of Mary's return.-The dial points at half-past one. I run to my chainver, after signing myself Yours,
No. XVI. Vol. II.
THE promising buds of an early spring begin already to unfold, and the mild weather has rendered the country so pleasant, that many people have already quitted the noisy town in order to watch the opening beauties of the year. As I am forced by my present situation to remain here, I will amuse my leisure hours by sending you as much information as I can gather; but you must expect none of a political nature.
The Stage being one of the most interesting objects that can fall under my glance, I will begin by passing in review the numerous theatres that continue to allure the Parisians, but not always for the purpose of amusement.
Les Français announce every night new debuts; but these votaries of the tragic muse appear on the stage for the single end of bidding an eternal adieu to the public, as after the curtain has dropped they are never heard of any more.
The Opera is still the same; crowded with indifferent singers and excellent dancers. Ladies repair to this place, with the wish of spreading their charms and elegance to public admiration; and gentlemen to enjoy the prospect of the boxes and the stage. Ennui is all that can be gathered here, and when the spectators withdraw, they look like school-boys that have been compelled to listen to a long sermon.
At the Opera-Comique you see a crowded stage, and an empty house.
Louvois presents nothing but gloomy characters, and here, even gascoons breathe melancholy.
The Vandeville was formerly consecrated to light, satirical, and at the same time moral pieces, but now it has launched forth into pathetic plays.
Montansier will soon, it is reported, be the only theatre where taste will preside, as none but old plays will, it is said, be acted there.
I have not yet spoken of the theatres on the Boulevards; there we find so many good dramas, and distinguished actors, such a variety of new and original spectacles, that the crowd forsakes other places of amusement to fill these: and if any one want to see performance he must hire a box at least eight days before-hand.
This is the shortest account I am able to give you of the present state of the French stage, which is by no means flourishing. Now I will relate to you what I saw in my last visit to the museum, during the exhibition of pictures. I had ill chosen the day, for it was Sunday, and I found it impossible to be a close observer of talent
and genius in a crowd of curious and noisy badauts. As soon as I arrived, I attempted, but in vain, to draw near the pictures; a group of five or six people plied their elbows with success, and threw me farther than ever from the object of my observations. Pushed to and fro, I could see nothing, when at last perceiving that the former group knew how to force their way through surrounding crowds, I resolved no more to contend with them, but to join them, and following step by step their progress, succeeded in catching partial glances of the pictures at a distance. I had not long joined their party when I was struck by their conversation, of which 'I will send you as much as I am able to recollect.
"Do you see yonder mother," said the one, "she kneels with her son before the tomb of her husband. She must be a good woman, but her dress bespeaks her a foreigner. Look at her hair, you will see no plaits, no curls, no diadem after the antique, and the little boy is clothed in silk, and wears a girdle, just as in the year 1789: if he were a Frenchman he should be dressed like a Lussar."
"And what do you think of this picture, does That is, I am sure,' it seem good?”—“ claimed the other; "for, without looking any further, examine this pair of boots, I swear that Colmant, who invented boots without seams, could not have done them better."
"Oh! look at that young man, how handsome he is."-"Which, he that is in a full dress?""He that is playing with his sister!" "No, that young man who is listening to his father with an air of submission and respect, while the father gives him a lesson."-" What, that one who receives a lesson from his father; pho! it is not at all fashionable, I tell you, I understand these sort of things; I am not an artist for nothing."
next new theatrical representation, and ten new ways of placing the shawl round the head, or disposing of it about the shoulders."
"How much fashion there is in that corner; courage gentlemen, let us make use of our elbows, come then."-" Impossible, we shall never be able to approach, it is Isabey's drawing, that corner is always crowded; I should, however, like to take a peep; they say there is a very graceful and majestic female figure.”—
But we don't get on at all; I am determined to see it; I will come some day and view it at ease." my
"Oh! Gentlemen, do look at those beautiful horses! they are by M. Vernet, how well they are shaped; I have been at Longchamp, at the Bois de Boulogne, at Ranelagh, and at Franconi's Circus, and, upon my word, there were none to be compared to these ""Pho, he only pays attention to horses, and the men, and the landscape, and the order of battle? What do to these?""Gently, gently, why, it is only a sketch."-"Oh! what then will the picture be when it is completed."
"You may be in extacy, gentlemen, but look before you, there is effect, colouring, and design; it is so dazzling that it makes my eyes "Oh! the fine Egyptian costumes! what, ache." drapery! what shades!-Why, looking at this picture, can but improve the artists; here are at least twenty turbans that may be copied for the
"Look at that old ewe, dressed lamb fashion." "Where?-Oh, horrid! horrid!" I raised my head, and could not help exclaiming with them, horrid !
"Lord bless me, it is twelve o'clock," exclaimed one of them; "and Monsieur Floridor is waiting for me, I was to have taken him home a pair of new shoes."-" You make me remember,” said another, “that I promised Madame Lucival her gown."
They immediately ran out; and I mentally exclaimed, Gentlemen artists, you are then shoemakers and tailors yet your judgment is not always erroneous, and would be more favourable perhaps to painters than that of men of their own profession.
[To be continued.]
INTO THE ORIGIN AND DIVERSITIES OF COSTUME.
[Continued from p. 165.]
THE ladies' hair was curled and frizzled with the nicest art, and they frequently set it off with Sometimes a heart-breakers (artificial curls). string of pearls, or an ornament of ribband, was worn on the head; and in the latter part of this reign, hoods of various kinds were in fashion. Patching and painting the face, than which nothing was more common in France, was also too common in England; but what was much worse, they affected a mean betwixt dress and nakedness, which occasioned the publication of a book entitled, "A just and seasonable Reprehension of naked Breasts and Shoulders, with a Preface, by Richard Baxter."
It appears from the "Memoires de Grammon” that green stockings were worn by one of the greatest beauties of the English, court; it is also generally believed, that beaver hats were first worn by old women in this reign.