Today we're pleased to welcome author Loretta Chase to Heroes and Heartbreakers. Loretta's latest release, Vixen in Velvet, is the third book in her Dressmakers series, and its heroine Leonie is the third Noirot sister and co-owner of the Maison Noirot dress shop. Clothing and fashion is an integral part of the series, and Loretta shares some of her fashionable findings with us today. Thanks, Loretta!
Readers have asked this Nerdy History Girl some wonderfully nerdy questions about my dressmakers and their profession. Did successful shops like Maison Noirot, run by women, actually exist? Were the rivalries as vicious as as I’ve painted? And just how big a deal was fashion then, anyway?
To start with the crucial-to-my-dressmakers-question, fashion was a very big deal for a class of people who consumed conspicuously. The 1835 Court Journal (one of my main resources) describes the dresses Royals and certain other important ladies wore to major events like Royal Drawing Rooms. Ladies’ magazines went to the expense of including hand-colored fashion plates, often featuring both London and Paris fashions. Magazines had a Paris Correspondent who described what fashionable Frenchwomen were wearing. These notes were guides for both aristocratic English ladies planning trips to Paris and dressmakers wanting to be in fashion’s forefront. Magazines unable to afford a Paris Correspondent simply copied what the other magazines printed. Piracy was rampant. In fact, Godey’s caused a stir when they dared to copyright their contents.