Douceur Azurée-Art Cloumn-

Ribbon Adornments: Echelles & Stomachers

 Stomacher, often seen in the attire of noblewomen during the Rococo era, is the triangular piece that covers the chest to the abdomen. Known as "stomacher," it was not attached to the garment at the time and was fastened with pins when worn. The stomacher was considered the most ornate part of the attire.
 When it comes to the ribbon adornments that are most recognized in the Lolita fashion community, it's the rows of ribbons lined up vertically. This arrangement is called "échelle," meaning "ladder" in French. In 18th-century France, it was favored by ladies of high society, including Madame de Pompadour, the mistress of Louis XV (1721-1764). The number of ribbons depended on one's social status, with more being allowed for those of higher rank.
 In contemporary times, échelle has been revived in Lolita fashion, although the ribbons are often evenly sized. The échelle ribbons in Juliette et Justine dresses are made to decrease in size from top to bottom, following the traditional method.

Left: "Madame de Pompadour" by François Boucher, 1756, Alte Pinakothek (Germany)
Right: Dress "Douceur Azurée"

Festoon: Celebration Decoration

 A festoon, also known as a floral garland, is a semi-circular decoration made of flowers, fruits, leaves, etc., strung together (the circular ones are called garlands).
 In ancient Greece and Rome, when offering animals as sacrifices to the gods, altars were adorned with garlands woven from flowers. "Fest" is related to the word "festival," so festoons symbolize abundance.Later, festoons became decorative patterns and became popular as sophisticated architectural decorations, sculpted or painted on building walls. Since the Renaissance, when ancient Roman culture and art were revived, festoons have been reintegrated into architecture, interior design, and painting.
 The lace on this dress incorporates a luxurious lace pattern inspired by festoons used in such celebrations.

The Holy Family with Flowers and Fruits," painted by J. Bruegel the Elder between 1620 and 1623, is housed in the Alte Pinakothek (Germany)

Right: Dress "Douceur Azurée" lace

Gold braid for nobility

  Braid refers to a tape-like cord made by weaving. The popularity of attaching braid to clothing among Europe's affluent class dates back to the 16th century. During this time, a German fashion trend called "slashing," which involved cutting holes in garments to reveal the layer beneath, became widely popular across Europe. Braid was used as decoration for these holes as well as other parts of the garments.
 In the past, there were no synthetic gold-colored materials like those we use today. Instead, gold itself was hammered thin or melted into cord-like shapes for use in handicrafts. Gold-trimmed clothing was considered an incredibly luxurious item. Gold braid, which was probably only allowed for use by royalty and nobility, was a symbol of extreme wealth. Wearing clothing adorned with such braid would undoubtedly make one feel like royalty.

"Henry VIII" by Hans Holbein, circa 1537
  The braid of the Douceur Azurée dress

Written by Mariko Suzuki
(Published the book "Gothic & Lolita Language Dictionary" in 2024)


"Encyclopedia of Jewelry History" by Catherine M. Voir, Beth Viola O'Hara, translated by Keiko Koga, published by Yasaka Shobo
"Easy-to-understand European Decorative Patterns: Traveling through the World of Beauty and Symbolism" edited by Mayumi Tsuruoka, published by Tokyo Bijutsu
"Decorative Patterns of Europe" by Hiroshi Umino, published by Pie International
"Encyclopedia of European Patterns" edited by Visual Design Institute, published by Visual Design Institute