ca. 1858 Empress Euegénie by André-Adolphe-Eugène Disdéri

Empress Eugenie wears a modest bonnet along with a dome crinoline with pagoda sleeves in this ca. 1858 Disderi portrait photograph.

Norris and Oswald in Nineteenth Century Costume and Fashion, p. 127 (re-issued by Dover in 1998) quote a contemporary source:  "A member of the French Court informs us that the Empress is greatly attached to this cage, which to us seems very ungraceful and inconvenient. She sticks to it in spite of the quips of the Emperor, to whom she simply replies that she does not know how she lived so many years without a cage. I can find only two excuses for this fashion. One is that women who wear it have their legs free in walking, and are not hampered by skirts and petticoats hanging on their calves and thighs and hampering their movements; the other, in her case, is that there is a sort of harmony between the amplitude of the woman and the size of the apartments in which she lives. In our little rooms, to get through our narrow doors, walking in the street and on the pavement, such a thing is as absurd as it is inconvenient. But in the great, lofty apartments, a slight woman in tight-fitting garments would be lost, would seem of no consequence. Here a dozen women adorn the salon admirably, and are in harmony with the wide spaces, the ample seats, the width and height of the doors."

Sepia tone removed by gogm.

Her crinoline features three layers of ruching and her sleeves also have ruching.

Keywords:  1858, Disderi, Empress Eugénie, Empress, Bonaparte family, French, straight coiffure, bonnet, bows, high enclosing neckline, pagoda sleeves, crinoline, ruching

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