*** French skeleton suits

French Skeleton Suits

French skeleton suits
Figure 1.--This is a detail from David's monumental painting of Napoleon's coronation (1804). Here we see some of Napoleon's family. Among them is a biy in a red velvet skeletin suit, presumbly one of th Emperor's nephews. Cick on the iage to see the full painting. .

We are not sure yet in which country the skeleton suit first appeared or who designed them. We believe, however, that it was probably France, which was already setting clothing and hair styles throughout Europe. French fashions clearly set the standard for women's fashions. This dominance was not as apparent for makle fashions. Here we bekieve the British had considrable impact. We are less sure abouut children's fashions, especially boys' fashions. We see European royalty and the aristocracy dressing boys in skeleton suits after breeching. This of course included the French. The epitome of a dressy, formal occassion was the coronation of Napoleon Bonaparte as emperor (1804). And among all the fashionably dressed notables in attendance was one boy in a red velvet skeleton suit, presumably one of the Emperor's nephews. Notice that the skeletn suits were done with long ants. At the time well-dressed men still wore knee breeches. The sleleton suit was the first dedicated garment for children--in this case boys. It would take some time before dedicated garmets for girls appeared. They continued to wear smaller versions of the dresses that their mothers wore for some time. About the same time the issue of the very nature of childhood was being addressed in Europe. French authors in the late-18th century had begun to address the question of child raising and education. The most famous was Rosseau and his classic Emile. They advanced the idea that children should wear unique clothing designed to accomodate their special needs.


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Created: 7:09 AM 12/23/2023
Last updated: 7:09 AM 12/23/2023