Frederick the Great and His Court: Fashion forward

This is the third post in a series retelling Luise Mühlbach’s Friedrich der Grosse und sein Hof (Frederick the Great and His Court), originally published in serial form in Germany. Jill Fosse from the Libraries’ Division of Digital Systems and Stewardship is translating the German text as it was published in 1858 in the Baltimore newspaper Der Deutsche Correspondent.

When we last left them, the happy(?) couple was en route to see Pricker, the court tailor, so that Caroline could purchase outfits for her presentation at court during the king’s masked ball.

January 5, 1858.

The bride is to have a sky-blue velvet gown with silver brocade train for the presentation and a velvet and gold gown for the ball made of fabric her father had obtained from India. Mutual compliments ensue about the honor each side will gain from these beautiful garments, only they have to be ready in a week.

“In four days if necessary,” says the tailor airily, measuring Caroline with his tape.

Then comes the blow.

“I’ll leave all the decorations up to you,” says Caroline, “but of course the dress must be made in the very latest French design.” In horror, the tailor whisks the tape away from the bride’s waist.

“You want what?”

“Of course,” smiles Catherine. “No elegant and decent tailor would still make those heavy skirts with ruffles, it’s ridiculous. No, I want the tight waist and long points, with sleeves to the elbows and lots of lace—the French fashion!”

Pricker declaims his loyalty to tradition, how he would only make clothes in the German style and cut and would never betray his forefathers, generations of court tailors.

With a mocking bow, therefore, the Count and his lady take their leave of this “excellent tailor and complete fool.”

Poor, Tailor Pricker, punished for his loyalty to German tradition! But in Caroline’s defense, I suspect I also would have preferred French fashions to German…

In the next installment, the story switches gears, and we’re introduced to the namesake of the story, Frederick the Great.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s