#01 the unassuming
A Star Is Born
At the beginning of the 19th century in Europe, Greco-Roman Antiquity is looked to as a model in the fields of thought and design and constitutes the foundation of the Empire of Napoleon I. Neoclassicism, characterized by a purity of line, symmetry and balance, spreads through all of the arts.
The fashions of the Incroyables et Merveilleuses tend toward simplicity and white. Women’s bodies are freed as they don dresses imitating ancient tunics, in light and diaphanous fabrics. Napoleon revives the luxury industries and promotes lace production by reestablishing the wearing of lace at the court. Mechanical lace sees its day thanks to the importation of the first tulle looms from in England – in Calais in 1816 and in Caudry in 1823. The ancester of the Leavers loom, they produce an ecru cotton tulle that serves as the support for hand embroidery patterns and the imitation of handmade lace.
It is at the court of Napoleon where Juliette Récamier (1777-1849) is noted for her beauty. She holds her literary salon to which political and artistic personalities flock. An influencer in the fields of fashion and art, she dresses in a Grecian style and her distinctive color is white, in all its shades and nuances. Conscious of her own image, she is one of the most portrayed women of her time. She employs several painters to create portraits, thus producing her icon status. Her most famous portrait by Jacques-Louis David remains unfinished.