With the Advent of Valentine’s Day my Romantic Heart Looks to Paris

By February 13, 2009 In the News No Comments

When I think of romance and high fashion I think of Paris. I attribute the high fashion evolution and all the romantic lines today back to Paris in the 1600’s. It seems to me that the Middle Ages were becoming a memory. No longer did men and women wear drab, shapeless clothing. Rather, they entered a new age of enlightenment – in thought and clothing style.


In fact, in the 1600’s folks wore very fanciful styles of clothing. The men were as beautiful as the women, from the locks of hair down to the stockings and shoes. What a romantic notion! I would love to have lived in those times. Just getting dressed every day would be a special occasion. I wouldn’t need to wait for an excuse to dress up!

The fashion of the 1600’s was so exquisitely beautiful! It was the Baroque period. As I look in the mirror to dress in the morning, first I must style my hair in elongated curls and place ribbons and flowers all through my hair. Next, my dress is layers of silk and ribbons, with sleeves that roll from my shoulder to my wrist in exaggerated billows of fabric, lace and ribbons. I put on my lace collar and fasten bouquets of flowers at my neck. On this particular morning, I have chosen pastel red roses. Lovely! I’m ready for the morning tea while we discuss Paris and fashion.

Now intellectuals and literary artists will contend that romanticism began in the 1800’s while others will say it started after the French Revolution. What do I say? I say look at the fashion of the 1600’s and follow it up through the 1700’s through the 1800’s and decide for yourself.

I guess what it amounts to is what “romantic” means to the person making that designation. Would you like to explore the period with me? Maybe we can sort this out together. I know that no one in history has actually reached a consensus on the matter. So, we’ll be a little controversial. Are you still with me?

What started the fashion craze in France during the 1600’s?

The answer – Competition between royalty and the commoner.

No longer could royalty be distinguished because the common and middle class now had access to finer fabrics so they wore fancy styles. The common man tried to emulate the royal class. Personally, I would copy the Queen down to the last stitch on her under britches, if I could afford it! But I am only daydreaming because this is the twenty-first century. The last time I looked in the mirror, I was wearing my casual slacks, cotton long sleeved green shirt and hiking boots. Aye now, I do dress up for Renn Faires and Pirate Fests! But let’s go back to our investigation into the 1600’s….

Royalty found it necessary to hire fashion designers who then created more extravagant garments, hats and shoes. Then they created even more elegant hair styles and accessories. Talk about trying to outdo the Jones! I wonder if that is where that custom originated.

France. It is often said in historical literature, that in the 17th Century history of France, you will find a little bit of everything. I traced the love of roses and wearing flowers in your hair to Paris in this era. It is definitely my kind of place.

So what of Paris in the 1600’s? Is it the time and place where romance truly was born?