Incroyables ensemble, ca. 1790-95. Image: LACMA.
Happy quatorze juillet! For Bastille Day, here’s a pattern for an Incroyables tailcoat.
The tailcoat, which dates to Revolutionary France, was part of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art’s 2016 Reigning Men exhibit, currently on view at Sydney’s Powerhouse Museum.
Incroyables and Merveilleuses were the dandies and fashionistas of the revolutionary period. Today, Directoire style evokes glam rock, Marat/Sade, and John Galliano. The style famously inspired Galliano’s 1984 graduation collection, entitled Les Incroyables, as well as his work for Givenchy.
Adam and the Ants, Prince Charming (1981) Image: Discogs.
David Bowie at his 50th birthday concert, 1997. Image: Pushing Ahead of the Dame.
John Steiner and Glenda Jackson in Peter Brook’s Marat/Sade © 1967 United Artists.
Linda Evangelista in Givenchy Haute Couture by John Galliano, Vogue, December 1996. Photo: Steven Meisel. Fashion Editor: Grace Coddington.
Here are the museum notes:
This handsewn silk tailcoat, with its high collar, wide lapels, short front, and long back exemplifies how French fashion extremists (incroyables) adopted and exaggerated traditional wool riding coats from England. The sleeves of this tailcoat, set unnaturally close together, forced the wearer to hold his shoulders back and thrust his chest forward to create a “pouter pigeon” silhouette which was fashionable in the late eighteenth century.
Detail, 1790s Incroyables ensemble. Image: LACMA.
1790s Incroyables tailcoat, back view. Image: LACMA.
Back detail sketch by Thomas John Bernard. Image: LACMA.
Download the pattern here.
Note: Gridded pattern. Does not include seam allowance.
Length at centre back: 49″ (124.5 cm)
Notions: 14 1 1/8″ (2.9 cm) buttons for front and coattails; 6 3/4″ (1.9 cm) buttons for cuffs.