Little Lord Fauntleroy Suits: National Styles


Figure 1.--Gaughuin painted the portrait of a Breton friend's son Louis. It was painted about 1890. Note the uncurld hair and lack of a bow.

Francis Hodgson Burnett, an English-born American, helped popularize a style of dress for boys that proved exceedingly popular among romantically inclined, doting mothers. She was English and grew up in America. She lived for a time in France. It is thus difficult to identify the Little Lord Fauntleroy suit with any specific country. It was most widely worn in America, but boys throught Europe were not imune from the Fauntleroy craze following the publication of the book in many languages and countless stage productions.

National Styling

One HBC contributor wonders whether there were acually national differences in LLF suits. Rather he believes that styles differed within countries, from individually hand-tailored suits for richer boys, decently made department store suits for the middle classes (see all those catalogues) and perhaps cruder suits run up by mother at home for the "lower orders". HBC certainly concurs that there were substantial differences within countries. Hoewver, HBC does not concur that identifiable differences did not exist between countries.

Individual Countries

No where was the Fauntleroy suit as popular as it came to be in America. The suits Mrs. Burnett created, however, must have been influenced by her English birth and upbringing and the time she spent in France where her youngest son, Vivian, was born. The style was also very popular in England, France, Italy, and other countries as well. Much of the information I have on thd style is American and British. I think this is primarily brcause most of my sources are English language sources. I am hoping that our European HBC viewers will contribute information about the popularity of the style on the continent. Notably, American boys' fashions have notably, with the exception of the Fauntleroy suit and asociated ringlet curls, been much less fancy than French or Italian styles. The topic of national styles certainly requires further research. At this time HBC has only limited information identifying differences in the Fauntleroy suits worn in various countries or on the popularity of the style in those countries. And the information that I do have is largely American. This information certainly is incomplete. Any data that I obtain, however, I will archive here. Some basic patterns do appear to be emerging. Any comments that readers may have would be most welcome.







HBC





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Created: June 24, 1999
Last updated: 5:57 AM 11/6/2011