Empress Eugénie shows how to dress for the outdoors while wearing a crinoline on a cold day in this photo.
Continuing from Fleuty: "The inventor of the crinoline was Auguste Person who died not many years ago in Champagne at the advanced age of almost eighty, I am told. I have also heard that he did not make much money from his invention, for he sold the patent for four thousand francs (maybe to someone who has a great grand child working on Wall Street -gogm). But those who brought it gained over a million. For its popularity grew very rapidly. Toward 1860, all the elegant ladies were submissive to the tyranny of this very wide piece of stiff twill, surrounded with metal hoops. The crinoline was at first called in France 'a cage,' and the women who put on the new invention were said to be 'caged.' ...
This strange fashion had been set by tall, stout women who were always very influential in the elegant world; but it was soon followed by all. Thin, small women persuaded themselves that 'it suited their style of beauty,' which was not the case; and though their husbands and brothers protested and ridiculed them, still the crinoline continued to hold its sway. The Nain Jaune, Charivari, and Figaro, the annual theatrical 'reviews,' and the more pretentious plays like that of Blum at the Vie parisienne – all made fun of the innovation, but its vogue did not begin to wane till the end of the Empire. Surprise is sometimes expressed that it lasted so long..."
Reunion des Musées Nationaux has a portrait of her and Napoleon III taken by André-Alphonse-Eugène Disderi when she wore the same dress.
From Paul Frecker; sepia tone removed by gogm.