In the 1870s and 1880s, noted artist, art and costume historian Auguste Racinet (1825-1893) edited a multivolume series documenting the history of world dress, furnishings and artifacts. The result was one of the most remarkable and comprehensive pictorial collections ever produced. Now 92 meticulously rendered full-color plates - nearly all those pertaining to Western clothing, 900-1800, in the rare, original edition of Le Costume Historique - have been superbly reproduced in the present volume and are available for the first time at an affordable price.
Over 950 clearly detailed, costumed figures present a magnificent panorama of clothing styles worn in major countries of Western Europe over a thousand-year period - ranging from 9th-century civil, military and religious garb to the Empire look of feminine fashion in the early 1800s. Included are figures representative of a variety of social classes, professions and nationalities - from medieval warriors, noblemen and merchants to Spanish clerics and nobility, Italian courtiers, Polish merchants and French soldiers, high-born ladies and demure middle-class damsels.
Costumes displayed are equally diverse: bizarrely ornamented helmets and jointed suits of armor from the Middle Ages; striped tights and flowing coats of the early 15th century; doublets, puffed sleeves, neck ruffs and tight bodices of the 16th century; wide collars, knee-length breeches and the newly introduced vest in the 17th century; and in the late 18th century, a change from courtly styles to country modes.
This comprehensive treasury of copyright-free illustrations - suitable for a host of design projects - will delight not only students and historians of fashion design, commercial artists, illustrators and art lovers, but will prove an indispensable sourcebook for anyone interested in the history and evolution of Western dress.