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Communication Dans Un Congrès Année : 2011

"Luxury Dress at Court in Early Modern France"


The aim of this paper is to make a clarification on the luxury dress at the Early Modern French Court. The glamorous image of the very fashionable Marie-Antoinette and the increase of publications about the sovereigns and their court, material culture, luxury trade and fashion could persuade that the court dress is well known. Paradoxically enough, French research has remained somewhat behind in this area of scholarship compared to the research carried out on the subject in Italy and Britain where the court studies are certainly a more autonomous field. But recent publications show that things are changing. I will focus on how the research has been done in France on the court luxury dress and on what we can actually say about this sartorial display. Appearances create at court specific dynamics of dressing as well as for the sovereigns as for their courtiers. Their luxurious sartorial display is ruled by the competition with foreign courts, by the calendar of the court life and by the hierarchy of ranks. It expresses also the aristocrats' liberality but it became for them a necessity to stay in the race to the power which was henceforth taking place at court. In this race for distinction, the sovereigns' clothing consumption widely exceeds the others. It means their extra-ordinary status. The institution of the royal wardrobe plays a fundamental role in the supply of the sovereigns' appearances. It certainly plays an important but not yet well known role
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Dates et versions

hal-01477029 , version 1 (26-02-2017)


  • HAL Id : hal-01477029 , version 1


Isabelle Paresys. "Luxury Dress at Court in Early Modern France". Courts and Luxury in the Early Modern World, The European University Institute; Warwick Global History and Culture Centre; Monash University; Centro Studi Europa delle Corti, Jun 2011, Fiesole, Italy. ⟨hal-01477029⟩
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