|Victorian Button Ornate Neoclassical Necklace by Compass Rose Design|
|A satirical 1796 contrast between old 16th-century and cutting-edge Directoire clothing styles.|
|Perhaps in a conscious move to distance oneself from the trappings of aristocratic life, the intricate lace, silk brocades and powdered wigs so popular during the 18th century fell out of favor. Idealized versions of daily English fashion crept into Parisian society style as fabrics which allowed movement and outdoor wear. Pinterest is a great research tool for tracing visual trends - like the evolution of corsets and waistlines and fashionable silhouette - you can see more historical fashion, jewelry and design photos on my Pinterest page.|
In addition to the sociopolitical transformation of the old aristocratic structure, excavations at Pompeii and Herculaneum in the mid 1750s influenced the emergence of Neoclassical design. By the mid 1790s in Western Europe, classical images of flowing gowns, carved stone cameos and idealized notions of Greek civilization reached French and English society. Tight-laced corsets were temporarily out of fashion while the women draped themselves in flowing gauzy gowns reminiscent of Grecian statues. These 1790 stays provided some support, while allowing the natural figure to be seen.
|1790 stays, undergarments worn with Neoclassical dress styles|
Les Merveilleuses, "Fabulous Diva," flourished in the live fast, die young social mentality that took over the salons of Paris after the Reign of Terror. At the center of the Neoclassical fashion moment, we find several significant and colorful women: Thérésa Cabarrus Fontenay Tallien and Joséphine de Beauharnais (later Napoleon's wife) both of whom had narrowly escaped death during the Reign of Terror.
|Napoleon's niece and adopted daughter, Stephanie de Beauharnais|
These Neoclassical fashion sensibilities, echoes of an ancient Greek past combined with sensibilities of new European Empire, have never left us. Cameos, empire waists and cascading jewels so flattering with the Neoclassical neckline remain treasured by women everywhere. The emerald and diamond necklace worn in the portrait by Stephanie de Beauharnais is in the collections Victoria and Albert Museum. The emerald drops at the back, added in 1820, can be detached and worn as earrings.
|Napoleon's second wife, Luisa Augusta Wilhelmina Amelia|
Napoleon's second marriage to Marie Louise, Duchess of Parma, satisfied Napoleon's desire to marry into legitimate European royalty. Captured by ideas of Empire, Napoleon adorned his crown with ancient Greek stone cameos discovered during excavations in the mid-1750s.
|Ruby Red Glass Cameo Double Strand Necklace by Compass Rose Design|
These neoclassical divas have captured my love and attention and inspired a new series of Neoclassical-style designs based on the jewelry of the women in Napoleon's life, including his wives, Josephine and Marie Louise sisters Caroline, Elisa and Pauline from 1795-1814. We'll be debuting some of these new designs at Unique SF this weekend!!!
|Victorian Button necklace with Greek Hero theme, |
typical of Neoclassical themes by Compass Rose Design.
The mythic theme used in the late Victorian button in the above necklace was a lasting legacy of Neoclassical themes carried through art and artifact back to France and England through excavations in the late 18th century.
|Print of a drawing by John Flaxman of a scene in Virgil's Iliad, 1795|
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