31 Jul Rococo
One of the trends of Au/Wi 14 is “The Exhibitionists”. And this is good news because we have so many inspiring art movements in our rich history. One can vary from gothic to graffiti, from cubism to impressionism and from bauhaus to pop art.
One of my favorite art movements is rococo (also named as late-baroque) which made its entrance in the 18th century, after the fall of the Louis XIV-regime. Rococo was developed by craftspeople and designers rather than by architects and the women highly influenced and dominated this style. Rococo affected many aspects of the arts including painting, sculpture, architecture, interior design, decoration, literature, music as well as theatre.
Style & motives characterizing rococo
Where baroque is known for its dark and heavy colors, rococo is characterized by lighter and pastel colors. Opulence, grace, lightness and playfulness are its features, which are a reflection of the enlightenment period, a cultural movement of intellectuals beginning in the early 18th century where reason was valued over authority. Rococo is known for curved forms (S & C scrolls), swirly birds, animals, flowers, fruits and foliage. A new silhouette was introduced with the use of wide hoops to extent the sideways and corsets to provide contrast to the wider skirts. Light-weighted silks were used, the use of make-up and perfume evolved and the first ladies started to wear wiggs on rare occasions. Madame de Pompadour, the powerful mistress of King Louis XV, adored the pastel colors and the light, happy style. It was however Marie Antoinette, the wife of King Louis XVI, who became the leader of French fashion. Extreme extravagance was her trademark and the queen experimented with eye catching pieces. She made weekly trips to Paris to meet the world’s famous designers. By the mid 1780’s, Marie Antoinette changed her style entirely by wearing a simpler and lighter dress. The so-called chemise a la reine revealed the natural figure and a corset was not worn any longer. For that period of time, this dress was very shocking, but as we move closer to the feeling of liberation, this dress became more common.
Only a trend as from 1730 to 1780?
Rococo was not only fashionable in the 18th century. This art movement is reflected in fashion during the centuries. We recall these motives in the designs of today and again it is evidenced that current fashion and style are not so far removed from the past. We see that the notable fashion designers are still inspired by this art movement, such as Elie Saab and Dolce & Gabbana. But also young and smaller designer are influenced by this art movement and our famous female roll models. The brand Naturally Bohemian “reproduces” and creates by hand the most beautiful Marie Antoinette dresses by using antique and vintage fabrics (also available at Vive La Reine Boutique in Marbella).
Fashion and art are connected and share thoughtful, artistic and imaginary relations. The rococo dresses show pleasure, love and imagination in a playful scene and the designers of our time are again inspired and influenced by this movement. Women love to wear these designs because these clothes have allure, beautiful colors and a happy look! We do not need a time-machine to bring us back to the earlier times. Thanks to the designers of today, we can also be as extravagant and stylish as Marie Antoinette!