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Around 1818 begins a recession period, characterized by a repression of freedom of opinion and a retreat into a soulful, but sometimes narrow privacy. This era is known primarily under the name of "Biedermeier". It is thus no coincidence that painters produce many family pictures in domestic environments.

Men's clothing remains essentially unchanged and is at best a little easier. Tail coat, frock coat or redingote remains the daywear of the bourgeois gentleman.

Redingote 1 Redingote 2  
By the middle of the century, tail coats are also considered daywear. For festive occasions, however, tails are the only acceptable clothing. Moreover, they can be cut à la francaise - front cut in an arch - or à l'anglaise - front square . The tails of tailcoats extended behind in an increasingly bell-shaped form.
Sleeves of the 20s and 30s - parallel to women's fashion - become increasingly bulkier until they fit tighter in the 40s again.
Frack mit hohem Kragen  
Collar and lapels are quilted and follow the body shape. The Biedermeier men's elegance rests on a slim waist, accomplished at times by wearing a corset.

Knee-breeches go completely out of fashion. Pantaloons, pleated at the waist, are exclusively used. They are sometimes so long as to cover the wearer's feet. In this case, the excess length is cut over the instep and a footbridge is added and drawn under the shoe, which thus provides the necessary firmness. This form can be found until mid-century.

The initially strong colours of tails gradually fade to black over the years Matching trousers are however increasingly brighter. The West may continue to be colourful: all sorts of flowers, stripes and checked patterns are allowed. The lining, always in different colours, provides additional variety.
In the evening, gentlemen wear jabots. In the 20s, the collar is designed as the so-called 'chocer', an extremely highstructure.
Ties remain an important accessory. Indeed, they gain so much relevance that they are even used to convey feelings and moods:
Artists throw the scarf around casually, ties of free spirits and romantics are black, while Conservatives wear their white starched tie in artful arrangements. Likewise, wearing beards evidences a democratic spirit, which makes some States ban such display completely.
The cylinder holds even up to the 20th Century as a collapsible, called "Chapeau Claque". Half-boots are worn during the day while evenings are suitable for some sort of heel or court shoes.
Zylinder Zylinder und Schute Drei Zylinder
At the beginning of the 20s, women's clothing sends the waist back to its proper position. Once again, bodices strongly emphasize body shapes, skirts become wider and shorter, and free falling drapery resurfaces.
The corset also makes a comeback. Over the years, it is tied more closely. A patent corset - invented in 1833 - enables ladies to avert impending blackouts by drawing a loop attached to the bosom.
In the 30s, the slim waist is additionally emphasized by means of gigantic sleeves, the so-called "lobe" or "ham sleeves". These voluminous structures hold their shape using whalebone frames.
The actual shoulder neckline grows deeper and deeper over time, until it just starts over the elbow. However, 1836 sees an abrupt end to this trend: sleeves are now back on tightly.
The cleavage starts becoming wider in the 20s. It often features laced trimmings, the so-called Berthe.
Very often, the collar is pleated whereas pleats occasionally adorn the entire front part of the bodice.
Faltenkragen 1 Faltenkragen 2 Faltenkragen 3 Faltenkragen 4 Mieder gefältet 1 Mieder gefältet 2
The increasingly re-lengthening skirts can be gathered up. Skirts are becoming progressively wider. Lined with many small wrinkles, people lay one skirt above the other.
Petticoats are reinforced, partly with horsehair. The number is constantly increasing and reaches half a dozen. They are always white as collared underwear is considered immoral. In any case, their immoralitydoes not surpass that of wearing trousers which, since the 20s, are an integral part of the underwear. Trousers are usually knee or calf length.
As coats can be hardly worn due to the extremely wide sleeves, the exceedingly wide Rotonde is introduced. Otherwise, as protection against the elements, ladies in the Biedermeier period wear a jacket dress, cut similar to the normal day dress but made of a thicker material.
We find also capes, cloaks, Fichus, Canezous, shoulder collars reaching down to the waist and scarves.
The main headgear is the poke bonnet - an unrivalled favourite for decades. It consists of a large head with a wide brim and is tied with a ribbon under the chin. Somewhere in between a cap and a hat, it can be made out of straw and fabric. In the evening, people tend to wear turbans. Hats are kept on during visits or at the theatre.
Clothes garnishing abounds: pleated sections, endless ruffles, lace, ribbons and artificial flowers. Strips interspersed with scattered flowers but also plaid patterns grow in popularity.
At beginning of the Biedermeier period, evening cotton dresses are easy to spot although they are later replaced by silks and velvets. Particularly iridescent, light-reflecting silks enjoy great popularity.
The Biedermeier period ended in 1848 with the defeat of the bourgeois revolution. On its wake, the mechanisation and industrialisation era begins. Fashion is obviously not a major concern for manufacturers and other big employers. Conversely, clothes must be especially practical and fit for use. Thus, the male corset disappears entirely, as well as coloured vests and ties. Grey and black tones openly dominate.
Around 1850, the jacket and the non-marked waistline sports coat entered the fashion world. The tail coat remains an evening garment.
Women's fashion develops in a completely opposite direction: its role is simply to convey the men's wealth. Dresses and skirts become increasingly complex. And they do so to such extent that this era went down in fashion history as the "Second Rococo".
This development can be partly attributed to the fashion-conscious young emperors and queens as Eugenie of France,
Kaiserin Eugenie 1 Kaiserin Eugenie 2 Kaiserin Eugenie 3 Kaiserin Eugenie 4
Elisabeth in Austria,
Isabella II of Spain,
and Victoria in England.
Königin Victoria - 1 Königin Victoria - 2
Befitting to this "Second Rococo" is also the fact that - as in the first Rococo - the crinoline determines the shape of the skirt. Even the numerous petticoats of the Biedermeier eraprove insufficient to shape the vast masses of material and, therefore, further support is called for. This is done by means of a crinoline, a hoop skirtwith recessed steel rails that appears in early 1850s, and reaches its broader adoption in the 1860s.
The shape changes from a dome-like structure at the beginning of the 1850s to a pyramid-like figure. In the 1860s, skirts feature a flat front that is drawn towards the back along its length. Mass produced, the crinoline soon becomes an item affordable -and thus wearable by - to all social classes.
Krinoline um 1850 Kleider um 1850 Kleider um 1850 Reifrock Reifrock Reifrock Reifröcke der Ballkleider
In the evening, clothes often present gold and silver brocades, but also iridescent fabrics and moiré are increasingly worn. The hem may well reach ten meters and the skirt diameter attain two and a half. The cleavage is framed by a "Berthe". Muslin, gauze and tulle are also relatively common. These fabrics, just as costly as silk robes, can be worn only a few times because of their sensitivity.
They are ornated with sumptuous ruffles, flounces and flowers. At times, these delicate materials are presented in combination with heavy brocades and satin fabrics.
Atlasgewebe - 1 Atlasgewebe - 2 Atlasgewebe - 3 Atlasgewebe - 4 Atlasgewebe - 5
Silk fabrics become common also for day, typically high-necked clothes. Dress trains, one to two meters in length, are also seen on the streets. Towards the end of the 60s, the Polonaise style, known from the first Rococo, makes a comeback. In essence, it entails gathering the skirt on the back and at the sides by means of straps.
Polonaise 1 Polonaise 2
Thus is announced the bustle fashion of the Industrial era.


Costume examples from our workshop


 

Biedermeier-Kinderkleider

Period: 1850 - 1865

This ensemble consisting of two dresses each for women and children was commissioned work for the dolls museum in Fischach, which is expected to reopen in June 2012.

The dress is made of cream-colored cotton with delicate embroidery of antique pink color. The tight-fitted jacket is buttoned at the front; the gathered sleeves of the
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Biedermeier-Kinderkleider 2

These three color- and style-coordinated children's dresses were additionally ordered from the dolls museum Fischach.

Checkered patterns in all kinds of variations began to come into fashion in the 1850s – and remained fashionable until the late 60s. For this dress we chose a cotton print that repeats the colors of the green silk dress. The cut is based upon an original from ...

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Biedermeier-Kinderkleider 3

The dolls museum Fischach ordered three more children's dresses. The results can be seen here:

Again these three children's dresses were precisely coordinated with the previously designed clothing of the group.
Cotton muslin – in this case with little dots woven into it – was a very popular material during the 19th century and was already used in Empire fashion. We colored this fabric in a ...

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Blaues Biedermeier-Ballkleid

Period: Late Romantic period, around 1850

This ball gown is based upon a drawing from the fashion magazine "Les Modes Parisiennes" from the year 1853. The top on the other hand was inspired by the famous portray of Princess Carolath from 1855.
We crafted this dress from ...

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Rotes Biedermeier-Kleid

Period: around 1840, Germany

We designed the following late Biedermeier ladies' suit for the pianist Martha Enkirch. For this dress we were lucky enough to acquire original Brocade from the 19th century, which was both just stable enough and sufficient in terms of quantity.

A suit from the Hermitage in St. Petersburg served us ...

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Violettes Biedermeier-Kostüm

Period: 1850

This dress was crafted from violet silk. Only a few years back flounces were mainly applied to underskirts. With time passing this trend moved from under to overskirts, and resulted generally in more flounces.
This suit is from the early days of this period, and hence has only three flounces. The skirt is pyramid-shaped as it was common at the beginning of that time. Instead of
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Blaues Biedermeier-Kinderkleid

Period: around 1830

Little Emma – at the time 7 years old – wanted a Biedermeier dress for her birthday from her parents. With great sense of style she decided for a template from the Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe (Museum for Arts and Crafts) in Hamburg, which we translated into reality with blue silk. The full and low attached mutton sleeves with close-fitting wrists
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Blaues Biedermeier-Ballkleid

Come and see our pages with beautiful wedding gowns !