Directoire Scarlet Ribbons

A style from about 1797 to 1800, sometimes held to be referential to the Reign of Terror (along with women wearing their hair short).  Make of it what you will, here are some women wearing white dresses trimmed with red (or close enough) ribbons.  The fashion may appear outside those years– I found these looking for a different 1798 plate.

You can read a bit more about the “croisures a la victime” at this archived page (the page is still up, but its code is broken).  The writer relates the “X across the back” style to the “bal des victimes” fad, but I don’t know whether other arrangements of red ribbons, in X shapes or otherwise, are equally significant.

These are in no particular order.
This hat is the very similar to the one in the first plate in this post.
Okay, so maybe these are red and maybe they’re pink, but it looks like a related style, anyway.
This 1797 image, from the article linked above, actually refers to “ceintures a la victime” (belts like the victim) in its caption, referring (I guess) to the red straps around her shoulders, which would connect in an X shape across her back.  The caption is of particular interest because some of my hesitation to accept this explanation broadly is that the fashion plates don’t generally use the symbolic nomenclature.  It’s hard to make out the caption on the first image in this post, which features a clear X-back ribbon pattern, but I think it says “ceintures croisie” (crossed belts)– certainly it doesn’t say “a la victime,” which is how it’s commonly captioned.  Anyway, here, at last, is a fashion plate that really does say it!
From “Modes et manieres du jour.”
Aside from the red check apron and hat-ribbon, this lady has an interesting back-of-arm detail. She’s from Year 6 of the Revolution, so roughly 1797. While I’m noting details, she’s wearing a sheer long-sleeve moderate-neck dress over a much lower-cut chemise (or maybe that’s her stays), and short gloves– very much a look of being simultaneously covered and exposed. Admittedly, the apron kind of changes that dynamic once you get to her waist.
The art-printer selling this says it’s 1789, but that dress looks much more 1798-99.
Full dress, Spring 1799.
February 1799, London full dress. Not quite the same style– these red ribbons have other designs on them.
1798, with a blue dress.
Paris, Sept. 1798
If red ribbon borders are as much a statement as crossed ribbons, this lady is saying something interesting and complicated– she’s got some definite military influence, too.  Like the previous image with the red border style, this one’s from London.
Subtle red ribbons, to balance off that muff.
And, finally, another plate with “ceinture a la victime” in the caption– this one from 1797 (Year 6, same as the lady with the giant muff and the lady with the very checked apron).

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