Wednesday, 7 September 2011

Cotton Pierrot Jacket

This pierrot (a close-fitting, low-necked jacket-bodice with short tails)  is made from a black and silver stripped cotton and a grey cotton. It is trimmed in white ribbon. It is modelled after the one of yellow and green taffeta in The Kyoto Costume Institute and this other pierrot at the Metropolitan. These, in theory, in turn inspired this very splendid outfit in The Duchess. There is a rather excellent timeline of women's jackets on, which more or less culminates in the pierrot, which were very popular from the mid-1780s through the 1790s.

These jackets were often worn with skirt of lightweight, white "linon", a woven cloth with a high linen-like quality made of thin and delicate cotton. The white skirt in this case is of a cotton-linen mix, but quite coarse in texture.

The choice of the contrasting colours rather makes the pierrot echo the shapes and colours of a men's jacket and waistcoat. 

I'm not really wearing it with the correct underpinnings (or really sufficient petticoats) and ideally, I'd have preferred to wear it with a belt and I was definitely missing the delicate muslin neck scarf to give the outfit greater modesty.

The long-legged nature of these croquis do make short bodice-jackets look very strange. Pillywiggen remarked that the figure looks like she's balanced on top of a giant grey rock. Which wasn't exactly my intention, though in retrospect perhaps is inevitable as M. E. Riley did note that "very full skirt acted as a counter balance to the molded top."

These photos were taken at the Hever Castle Gardens, the fountain pictured being the Millennium Fountain. It was getting rather late in the day (the primary purpose of the visit not being photography, after all, and the exercise largely incidental) and the light does get rather unflattering.

To commission a similar pierrot from the Costume Mercenary would cost in the region of £50-60. 

More photos of the cotton pierrot under the cut.


  1. I think the skirt looks fine. I especially like the photo with the willow tree (if that's what it is).

    Any idea why it's called a pierrot? The name makes me think of clowns rather than elegance.

  2. I have no idea, to be honest. My guess would be that they are at some point thought to resemble garments worn by French peasants, thus sharing an etymology with Pierrot the clown (also deriving from it being the generic peasant name).


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