Friday, 12 April 2013

Fashion Plates Galore!

I just realised I've been a bit bad at sharing some of the truly awesome resources out there and thought I'd remedy that, by letting you in on a pretty little secret - Collection Maciet.

Source: Collection Maciet, Mode. [XIXe siècle]. 1886
It is hosted by Les Arts Décoratifs, which is a private not-for-profit association and recognized as being in the public interest under French law. It originated in 1882, in the wake of the Universal Exhibitions, when a group of collectors banded together with the idea of promoting the applied arts and developing links between industry and culture, design and production. Thus, it is a thoroughly Victorian product which in itself is rather nice, n'est-ce pas?

That's all very well, you're saying now, but what is it good for? Why, old chap, says I. Fashion, of course! Lots and lots of fashion!

Source: Collection Maciet, Mode. [XIXe siècle]. 1842 à 1843, image 10

You see, the Collection Maciet contains a great number of fashion plates, going back to the 18th century and up to 1940. Well, they have later stuff too, but it's not available online, and, anyway, that's not what we're her for, is it? No, we want the 19th century stuff, right? No worries. There's plenty of that to be had.

The trick, however, is that the search function is in French. If you speak the lovely language of Molière and Racine, that's fine of course, but if you don't it's not entirely simple how to find what you are looking for. Because of that, I thought I'd provide a short guide.

Go here, and pick Consulation du Catalogue (or click that link obviously, but I wanted you to be able to hack it for yourselves without having to start here, appreciated that your visit is). Then pick "Recherche simple". If it isn't obvious, it means "simple search". You then get this menu:

Do what I have done here - fill in "mode" under Termes de recherche and select "Album Maciet". Then click Rechercher and you'll get a list of fashion related material, in chronological order. Scroll down to the years you are interested in. Say you want the fashions for 1868, for example. Just scroll down until you find the listing Mode : [XIXe siècle] : 1868 .- ... .- [éditeurs divers] .- 1868 .- Collection Maciet. Click the number next to the listing and you get this window:

Click "Voir les vignettes Maciet" and you get all the images as thumbnails. Select the ones that look interesting and enjoy - you can zoom rather far and also adjust contrasts and lighting, so you won't miss a single detail.

Source: Collection Maciet, Mode. [XIXe siècle]. 1868, image 2

Hope it proves useful to you. If nothing else, there's plenty of eye candy for the Victorian-ly inclined!

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