Auguste Racinet. The Costume History by Françoise Tétart-Vittu.

Racinet's Costume History is an invaluable reference for students, designers, artists, illustrators, and historians; and a rich source of inspiration for anyone with an interest in clothing and style. Originally published in France between 1876 and 1888, Auguste Racinet’s Le Costume historique was in its day the most wide-ranging and incisive study of clothing ever attempted.

Covering the world history of costume, dress, and style from antiquity through to the end of the 19th century, the six volume work remains completely unique in its scope and detail. “Some books just scream out to be bought; this is one of them.” ―

Louis-seize. Fabrics. French Silks hanging patterns.

Louis-seize, design, 18th, century, fabrics, French, Silks, hanging patterns, Louis XVI, style, Rococo,
Louis-seize. Fabrics. French Silks hanging patterns. 18th century

French Silks hanging patterns. 18th century fabrics.

The silks, the designs for which form the subject of our plate, all come from that branch of French manufacture to which Golbert, under Louis XIV, gave so powerful an impulse, and the productions of which, thanks to careful academical studies, and the wholesome traditions of the studios, have never ceased to influence all title European manufactories engaged in the production of these fabrics.

The twelve examples given in title accompanying plate may be classified in the following order. To this classification we have added a scale showing the relative proportion of each to the original (the patterns are shown reduced from their original size).

1. Hangings for furniture and walls. — State robes – Fig. 1 to 6,
2. Idem, in two colors (Louis XVI) – Fig. 7 – 10,
3. Light silks (Louis XVI) – Fig. 10 – 11,
4. Border (Louis XVI) – Fig. 12, In the first four of these, traces of the influence of Asiatic art on the national taste may be observed. Numbers 3 and 4 deserve special attention from the manner in which by means of reflected rays richness and fulness are imparted to the primary simple designs. Lastly, as a peculiarity in the process of manufacture, we notice in Numbers 2, 3, 4, 10, 11, the use of silks figured with zonal patterns.

Source: Polychromatic ornament by Auguste Racinet. London, H. Sotheran and Co., 1877.


Note:  Ralph Barton. Sketch for a catalogue cover, c. 1918.

Support and Seduction: The History of Corsets and Bras (Abradale Books) by Beatrice Fontanel.

Thoughout the ages, women's breasts have been subjected to the endless whims of fashion. From the ancient Greeks to Mae West and Madonna, this light-hearted book charts the changing shapes of female beauty. The elegant and amusing images - including fashion drawings, paintings, photographs, and film stills - illustrate the often surprising history of the garments women have worn for support - and seduction.

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

The American Duchess Guide to 18th Century Beauty: 40 Projects for Period-Accurate Hairstyles, Makeup and Accessories by Lauren Stowell & Abby Cox.

Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail by Avril Hart & Susan North. From cut and construction to fabric and trimmings.


Couture: then and now Clothes define people. A person's clothing, whether it's a sari, kimono, or business suit, is an essential key to his or her culture, class, personality, or even religion. The Kyoto Costume Institute recognizes the importance of understanding clothing sociologically, historically, and artistically.