It’s So Ugly

We all have them; those pieces from fashion history where we can’t help but think….. What were they thinking, it’s is so Ugly!? Punch 1865 Fanchon

For me, right at the top of my list happens to be the fanchon bonnet.

Petersons January 1865And, what is so popular right now for the spring of 1865? The fanchon bonnet.

Dec 1868Really, I just don’t get it. What were they thinking? Going from beautifully shaped bonnets through the 50s into the 60s… then…”hmm, let’s just make wonky triangles to stick on our heads.”

Okay, so what I see as “wonky triangles” they saw as “Half-handkerchief” bonnets. They were very easy to make, especially at home out of a wide variety of materials.

Frank Leslies Aug 1865“The Fanchon, or half-Handkerchief style of bonnet which now prevails universally, is found by many to be “too common” – it is so easy to make at home, everybody wears a bonnet d la fanchon; and what everybody wears is not always acceptable, so the Empire shape, which is more difficult to improvise, is eulogized as “distinguished,” and adopted by a very small minority.” (The Australian Journal, 1866)

Fanchon Bonnet from Every Saturday, 1866 page 38The Fanchon was accompanied by the “la tarte”, the “Lamballe” and the Manderin. All on the smaller side. Not everyone of the time were impressed by this phase in millinery fashion. “At present the bonnet is not a bonnet…. It strikes our uninstructed minds as a misnomer to call a bason of crape a bonnet, and yet it is a bonnet according to Le Follet, and belongs to the genus of “Fanchon”…. Paying for a bonnet should be a pleasure, and we have no doubt it is; we trust, though, that the “Mandarin,” the “Lamballe,” and “La Tarte” are only temporary, and that a bonnet will not become so diminutive as to puzzle a very Owen of millinery, who might be asked to construct one from a future “Fanchon”.” (Every Saturday, 1866)

The Englishwomans Domestic Magazine 1866We quickly see the Empire bonnet come to counter the Fanchon. This is a direct response to the dislike for the ‘commonness’ of the Fanchon both by milliners and fashionable customers. “None but those who take the lead in fashion wear exclusively the Empire bonnets. These have been a good deal modified in shape from what they were when they first appeared.”Fanchon Le Follet Sept 1865

Alas, here we are, looking into a season when so many eyes are on the spring of 1865. So, I have made some straw fanchon bonnet forms.

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Published in: on January 30, 2015 at 6:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

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