18th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Fra Galgario’s Count in patterns

We missed last week’s Rate the Dress because I was down sick. ¬†Sorry ūüôĀ

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.

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

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.

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

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.

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

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.

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

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.

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

Portrait of Count Giovanni Battista Vailetti by Vittore Ghislandi (also known as Fra Galgario), ca 1740

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

 

13 Comments

  1. Lynne says

    9 out of 10.

    I’d really like to have dinner with this man (all I’m interested in these days is good food and good conversation) but I have nothing magnificent enough to wear! He does indeed look to be an intelligent and interesting man.

    I really like the two strong prints. The green and the oranges go well. I’d gladly wear the banyan myself. The turban is also a fine thing, and I like the little ankle boots. It’s just in the area of the legs that I have some reservations. He has good legs, no problem there, but after all that exuberance of pattern and cut, the legs look a bit bare and orphaned. I know it is the line of the time, but it is not flattering.

  2. Sue Miller says

    9 out of 10

    When you consider the embroidery would have all been hand-done, it is truly a work of art. My husband constantly complains about how drab and boring men’s clothes are now and this painting re-enforced it for him!!!

  3. Fascinating history. I’d love to talk with this guy! Somehow he reminds me of an Enlightenment Andrew Logan. (The performance artist/jewelry maker/founder of Alternative Miss World.) I’m not keen on big bold allover floral prints or the general 18th c sensibility, but he sure pulls off an eclectic outside-the-box look for his time. Casual avante-garde chic, 18th c version. And he gets at least an extra point for the turban, which totally beats a wig or hair powder. 9 out of 10.

  4. I’m not normally one for combining unrelated patterns, but I think the Count’s outfit is splendid. The green silk banyan is a marvellous foil to the paler, but still exuberant waistcoat, and the all black look for shoes and hose is pure genius. The only thing about the outfit I dislike is the hat. It’s the right color–black–but it’s too tall, tilting the look away from extravagance and too close to absurdity. If he wore no hat, or the hat were about half the height that it is, the look would be perfect. As it is, a 9.

  5. I like the colours, but the garments don’t quite seem to create a complete picture somehow. It’s the waistcoat… maybe the proportions? And the hat is much more intense than anything else he’s wearing, which seems a bit weird.
    I love the banyan though. Yum.
    5/10 overall.

  6. Jenny Wren says

    I really like the overcoat, but the whole thing is just too much. If he walked in the room, my knee-jerk response would be to snigger, “Show-off”.

    6/10.

  7. Want the banyan for myself! I like the overall exuberance of the outfit in terms of color and pattern (less so in terms of bulk), which is an interesting contrast to the quiet contemplativeness of his facial expression.

    8 of 10

  8. 6/10. I love the banyan and the waistcoat and I love how comfortable and relaxed he looks, and yes, how intelligent. However, to my eyes, much as the black does represent luxury, it is also much too harsh for the beautiful brocades and sticks out like a coal-scuttle dumped out in the middle of a celestial satin bedspread. Also, slightly unsure about the bulk, but I’m happy with scoring him at 6/10.

  9. I rather like it which surprised me as I’m not normally a fan of combining prints. I think he has the right attitude to carry it off though which is helpful.
    8/10

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  11. I do like a man who wears his intellectualism on his sleeve. I also like the use of pattern and colour. 10/10.

  12. Daya Dika says

    I would rate 10/10 .His dress has rich looks!

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