Chemise set

In the late 19th century, feminist ideas changed women’s fashion, both outerwear and underwear. Rigid bodices and full skirts were abandoned in favour of shorter, narrower dresses. Underwear evolved, too, from loose chemises and pantaloons to “combination” undergarments that reduced bulkiness and better suited the streamlined women’s fashion of the 20th century.


Collection Connections 

  • Chemise set

    Chemise set

    Europe: Western Europe, France

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  • Chemise set

    Chemise set

    Europe, Western Europe, France

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  • Chemise

    Chemise

    Europe: Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Denmark

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What does this chemise set communicate about 19th century France?

responded: Jan 30, 2012

Posted by Kelly Oh

211
Recommend this Response
Leading up to and during the production of this chemise set, French society underwent dramatic changes politically and economically with advancements in technology and medicine. One of the most paramount political upheavals that revolutionized women's lingerie was the French Revolution, during which French women publicly discarded petticoats, corsets and other form restricting garments in an act of defiance against the French aristocracy. This would later influence the transformation of undergarments. The subsequent era, called the "Belle Epoque," was short-lived until World War I in 1914, nevertheless had a great impact on the structure of French society, in which the standards of living and security for the upper class increased. The industrial outputs in France also tripled during this time which generated notable increase in mass consumption as well. Although corsets and underwear alike came into favour by the populace, the decadence and modernization of this era would most likely have contributed to the intricate lace detailing and delicate attention to the functionality of this particular undergarment. Lastly, at the end of 19th century, developments in medicine gave rise to health concerns regarding the movement-restricting and body-deforming nature of the corset. And as France entered into the warfare of World War I, French women also found themselves fighting by their men, whether on the fields as health officials or in production lines, they needed more freedom of movement which also would have lead to this chemise set's materialization, suitability for the time, which would eventually come to be fashionable through fashion house's, such as, House of Poiret, and Chanel.

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