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LA BELLE ASSEMBLÉE.
For APRIL, 1809.
EXPLANATION OF THE PRINTS OF FASHION.
No. 1.-ALCANTARA HAT AND MANTLE. These unique and elegant articles are derived from the Spanish costume; and in a great degree resemble those worn by the Knights of the military Order of Alcantara, in that country, on their great festivals, &c. It is composed of crimson silk, with a rich embroidered border in gold. The collar is narrow, and meets in front of the throat, where it is confined with a cordon of gold, to which is suspended the badge of the Order. The mantle is so disposed as to expose the right side of the figure, while it entirely conceals the back and adverse side, and on the bosom is a rich embroidered star of gold. The mantle is gradually sloped from the throat to its termination, near the bottom of the robe behind. A deep embroidered cape ornaments the back and shoulders, the square points of which appearing in front, give a finished relief to the whole. The hat is composed of the same material, edged with a border the same as the mantle; the crown is round, sitting close to the head, with a band of silk and gold cord tastefully blended, and terminating on the right side with a knot and gold tassel, It is turned up in front with a gold ornament similar to the badge of the Order. A plume of ostrich, bird-of-paradise, or ther feathers is placed nearly in front, one of which, of an unusual length, droops till it meets the left shoulder. The robe worn with these attractive and novel articles is of white sarsnet, with a pointed drapery border of the jonquille or primrose, or a trimming of Chinese floss. The stomacher and other ornaments are of pearl. Shoes the same as the mantle with gold rosets. This splendid costume is particularly well adapted for the Opera; and, divested of the mantle, also for the evening party-This elegant and original dress is the composition of Mrs. Villars, Lower Gower-street, Bedford-square.
No. XLIII-Vol. VI.
No 2.-EVENING DRESS.
A round robe of green velvet, with antique boddice, and stomacher of blended gold and velvet.
Short full sleeve, ornamented a-laSpanish, to correspond. A plain gold lace placed round the bottom just above the hem, and also round the waist. A shade of Paris. net across the back, edged with gold, and fastened on the shoulders with a gold or emerald brooch. A deep antique lace laid flat round the bosom and back, with a drawn tucker. above. Hair contined in a gold caul behind and in full curls in front, with the Cleopatra diadem of emeralds and gold. Earrings, neck. lace, bracelets, and armlets to correspond. Shoes, amber or white satin. Fan of carved ivory. An occasional scarf, or shawl, of creamcoloured or white French silk, with gold or coloured embroidered body.
ON THE MOST APPROVED
ALTHOUGH there still remains some little. indecision of costume amidst our fashionable fair, which generally marks the early spring months, yet is there much subject for remark in the seasonable changes which have presented themselves since our last communication. The cloth and velvet mantles and pelisses, trimmed with gold and silver lace and furs, are fast yielding to those formed of sarsuets and shawlmuslins. The former are either of plain or figured twills, variously shaded; and the latter are either of the real Indian shawl fabric, or of imitations equally rich and beautiful in effect; these are lined throughout with sarsnets of well contrasted colours. We have seen some of light-brown, salmon, and cream-coloured grounds, lined with pale-green, pink, and jonquille, and formed in the style of an Austrian Hussar clock. The Spanish mantle, Cossack pelisse, and Turkish coat, have each
the commencement of the temple, ornamented with bands of wrought gold, silver, pearl, or diamonds, or with coronets, diadems, and combs of gems corresponding with the other ornaments, now universally distinguish this species of costume. Flowers in the hair are not so much worn as is usual at this season. The Oriental turban, with a long full end and
a large share of fashionable distinction. These appropriate habits are alternately ornamented with trimmings of fancy fuss, the cheveaux de frieze, formed of narrow ribband, the flat silk braid, and some with gold or silver lace. We cannot, however, recommend this last mentioned decoration as any way consistent for the out-door garment; however splendid the effect as a coup-d'ail, it bestows no infringe, ornamented with a band and crescent dividual advantage, and robs the walking, or morning dress, of that appropriate simplicity in which consists its chief advantage and ele. gance; but fashion, amidst its various wanderings, will sometimes introduce and sanction that which will, nevertheless, always be rejected by persons of a correct taste. But to return to our subject.
We have remarked little variety in the construction of the above-mentioned articles, except the loose Turkish sleeve, which is formed full from the shoulder to the wrist, where it is cut in a point, and finished with a tassel. The close vest, with military or Spanish cloak to correspond, is seen amidst the general variety. The demi robe-pelisses are a very useful article, and are constructed so as to wrap from one side entirely round the figure in front, and meets the other side, with which (by imperceptible fastenings) it is united, and which flows loose from the shoulder to the feet. The collar is high and rounded, the back formed in cross straps, the front laced with cord, or ornamented à-la-militaire, and the sleeves are full, with deep arched cuffs; it is perhaps impossible to invent a style more calculated to display a fine figure to advantage. In bounets and hats there are some changes worthy of remark. The Spartau belmet, formed of the same material as the mantle or pelisse, possesses much dignity and novelty, across the crown of them is placed (most becomingly) a full band of curled feathers. The Jockey hat of straw; the French poke, placed greatly towards one side, and edged and trimmed across the crown with ribband in reversed plaits, or with variegated floss trimmings, with a full bunch of daisies or other spring flowers, are very genteel and fashionable. The small salk bonnet with arched fronts, formed in faucy folds or full bunches of the snow-drop, crocus, or primrose, and worn with short white veils, are conspicuous for airiness and simplicity. Caps of French net, variously constructed, and suitably disposed, form an appropriate and general appendage to the morning and half dress. The Spanish hat for full dress is somewhat on the decline.
The hair cropt, in full curls, or partially in ringlets, but exposing the ear nearly as high as
of pearl, is a very elegant and becoming ornament for such as choose to cover the head in evening or dinner parties.
The full dress robe, formed of cloth or velvet, is still worn in full dress, though many bave already laid them aside for crape over satin, sarsnets, lenos, muslins, and tissues. Coloured dresses are so exceedingly fashionable, that a few days since, at a very full and elegant assembly, it was remarked, there was only one white dress. The waist is frightfully increasing in length, and the corsets in stiffness; we may thus expect ere long to see the sugarloaf shape of our grandmothers revived. The pointed back is distinguishable for its fashionable singularity, and the stomacher is now completely of antique dimensions. These articles, with coloured sarsnets, have a good effect when formed of French net, let in with stripes of correspondent beading, and trimmed round with vandyke lace; the long sleeve to
We observed lately a most attractive dress formed of pink Spanish gauze; its form was round, with a demi train, and long full sleeve. It was worn over a white gossamer satin slip; a wide antique stomacher of lace (as described above), with a deep cuff of scalloped lace, and the same laid flat round the bottom above the hem, with the scallop upwards. White satin shoes; pearl rosary and cross; broad bracelets of the same, with rich diamond clasps; a pearl bandeau round the hair, with a Maltese cross in the centre of the forehead. Nothing can have a more becoming effect than this dress is calculated to produce, more particu larly on fair women. The generality of dressgowns are formed round, with or without drapery; but a few Polish vests, Roman tunics, and robes à-la Dido, form an agreeable exception. The Carthage cymar (as described in our last) is a graceful and favourite append age to the round dress, and if formed of consistent materials, will be found a becoming out-door decoration for the high walking gown during the summer. There can be but little novelty in the articles of jewellery in the space of one month; diamonds, pearls, white Cor nelian, and their several fancy substitutes, are exclusively adapted to the coloured dress,
fashionable singularity. She scarce ever ap. pears in public twice in the same habit; in each however, it must be confessed, she displays no ordinary share of taste.
With white, or very light shades of colours, entire suits of coloured gems are considered elegant and fashionable. Steel clasps for the cestus take place of gold or silver. White silk stockings, we are pleased to see, succeed From the description given you in my last the coloured buskin of masculine order; of the family with whom i sojourn, you will women never gain any thing on the score of readily imagine that this capricious Siren is admiration when they depart (even in the not so unacceptable to the ladies of the mansmallest degree) from the general character sion as she is to me, who am neither so brilliof their sex. Shoes and gloves need no com- ant, so beautiful, or so vain, as to feel perfectly ment since our last. The prevailing colours | at ease in the constant society of a female are purple, green, and orange; the most gen-whose beauty eclipses that of most of her sex, teel jouquille, pea-green, and pink.
LETTER ON DRESS, EXPLANATORY AND DESCRIPTIVE,
London, March 28th.
whose manners invite the generality of men, and seem to solicit advances. Never was there a more determined monopolizer. Married and single, old and young, are expected to do homage at the shrine of her beauty; and the peace of many a better woman is sacrificed by this her vain and unprincipled rapacity. She puts me in mind of the comparison made by some poet, who likened his mistress to the sun, because like it, she was a general benefit, and shone on all alike. For my part, I hate the encroaching slut, and shall be heartily glad when she takes her departure; for the beaus of our household all in a degree wear her chains; and there is no obtaining common at
interesting L—, on whom (entrenous; I had fixed my eye, declares in favour of her beauty and fascination; and feels his vanity flattered by that attention, which, though common to all, is so dispensed as to lead each to suspect that his own dear self is preferred. She manages, however, to remain a great favourite of our two young ladies, who admire every thing that is elegant, gay, and fashionable; they copy her in her dress and manners; and 1 fear will soon imitate her principles also.
THERE is my dear Frederica, a very beautiful (not to say very vain creature) arrived amongst us, not at all to my satisfaction, although it may prove to your amusement; for you shall have a sketch of her. She is the very attractive daughter of the needy Count R, who brought her over with his Countess, at the commencement of the Revolution, when this Parisian sprig was in its early bud.tention when she is by. Even the sage and Though transplanted from her native soil in her days of lisping infancy, she seems to have sucked in all that light aliment which helps to form the peculiar features of her country, and is at this moment one of the most flourishing exotics of her kind which England ever nurtured. She is now in her twentieth year; and the extreme beauty of her person, vivacity of her manners, and lightness of her principles, makes her much followed by the gay and dissi- || pated world of the opposite sex, and of course, not a little envied by the vain and frivolous of her own. She has long been the favourite Protegée of a rich old Duchess, who having no children of her own, and for many years ceasing to attract that train of male butterflies which were accustomed to flutter round her in her days of youthful triumph, now sought to collect them within her sphere by the splendided to be uncommonly crowded; the day followrays of beauty, fascination, and grace, in the person of Mademoiselle Rusée of whom she appears fond to a fault. Her handsome fortune is ungrudgingly lavished in the splendour of her household. Her carriages, liveries, and elegance vie in richuess with those of the most wealthy and youthful females of her rank, and of all these worldly goods, Mademoiselle Rusée has the supreme command, and appears as the reigning queen. Nothing can exceed the expence and variety of her personal decoration, which is ever in the highest style of
There has been one continual round of visiting, and seeing company, since Mademoiselle's arrival; and we have sometimes been to two or three parties on the same night. I really begin to tire of all this, and find one may have too much of a good thing. To-morrow we go to the Argyle-street Rooms, which are expect
ing we are engaged for Lord F———`s grand dinner; the next day to the Countess of M's concert, and so on, till we close the week with the Sunday conversatione of my Lady Wrangleside. On each of these occasions Mademoiselle Rusée is determined to out-do her former- outdoings in the variety and elegance of her personal decoration. It is curious to hear her give her orders to her milliner on these important matters. She spares no soit of expence, nor cares for what any one thinks and is most independent in her notions of ex
travagance, vanity, and impropriety. Yester-quently lets fall in glossy curis down her back, day we all sallied forth to La Rolle's, in order and over one shoulder; partially confining it to choose dresses for the above-mentioned gay with a band of the finest brilliants. What occasions; and amidst an herd of elegaut || renders her beauty the more striking is, that articles which were exhibited, not one was with this hair, she has a skin white and smooth thought to possess sufficient grace or novelty as satin; and a bloom all her own. On her to please this exorbitant creature. At length, exquisitely white and well-turned throat she drawing a seat opposite a large mirror:-"Come || never admits a necklace; nor ever covers her here, my dear La Rolle," said she; 66 now mind arms in full dress; they being ornamented on I must have a complete costume, unlike what such occasions with armlets of Oriental pearl, you make for any one else; so set your wits to and her glove is never allowed to approach work, and make me look delightfully with all farther than the rounding above the wrist. your might. The Armenian robe and corset Now after this copious description of Ma will do very well for Wednesday; and the demoiselle Rusée, you would question my simple gossamer frock, sprinkled with green candour if I were to deny that I shall not foil, will answer for the Argyle street Rooms; grieve as one without hope, when she takes her but the Thursday's dinner will be more select, || departure. Let her lay seige to as many and I shall be a ucarer mark for observation; || hearts as she pleases so as she leaves alone there are to be some of the richest and hand somest men in the kingdom, therefore I charge you make me irresistible." She then called for several pieces of various manufactories in muslins, siiks, velvets, and neis; folded them in various graceful forms round her truly ele-present portrait than I could possibly have gant figure; and at length decided on a Bohemian vest, formed of Peruvian net, wrought in a fancy border of silver lama, and worn over a blossom-coloured slip. Her hair, which is of the most beautiful bright black, she fre
those already resigned and selected. God bless you! more of this hereafter. My maid bas orders to transmit with this a faithful account of the prevailing habiliments; therefore, as I conclude I have amused you better by the
done by a recapitulation of the same matter, I shall make no apology for dwelling less on that subject which generally occupies so large a place in the letters of your ever sincere friend.