We missed last week’s Rate the Dress because I was down sick. Sorry 🙁
The week before, most of you were quite taken with Toulmouche’s blue dress. There was only one dissenting view, and not that many 10s (there have been many dresses with lower overall scores but more 10/10s) but with a whole swathe of 8 & 9s, the outfit came in at 8.6 out of 10.
This week I’m combining the just-finished HSF theme of ‘Art‘, with the just-started HSF theme of ‘The Politics of Fashion.’ This portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti is a beautiful piece of art, but his garments also gives us a glimpse into societal changes in the early 18th century.
The Count’s waistcoat and banyan are made of exuberantly patterned ‘bizarre’ silks. As the Age of Enlightenment progressed, patterns became smaller and more naturalistic, reflecting the 18th century obsession with botany.
His banyan also shows the increased exposure between the West and India, and the influence that India would have on fashion, and through the demand for Indian goods, commerce and politics, in the later half of the 18th century.
Along with the banyan, his hat and stock make the claim reinforce the Count’s claim to be a worldly man of intellect. This is in direct contrast to portraits that demonstrate military prowess, or wealth, and reflects a distinct change in the politics of portraiture, and how status was portrayed.
While not as pointedly, wealth is certainly expressed in the painting, from the luxurious bizarre silks, to his dark stockings: the black dye would be particularly desirable and expensive.
From top to toe, the Count has picked his outfit with a specific purpose: to show himself as a wealthy, enlightened, educated, worldly man, aware of the latest trends and newest knowledge.
What do you think?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10