When we behold the 17th century portraits, we might be surprised to discover how much red was used in costume details. For example, red stockings. They might seem dreadful to us, however they were the fashion peak for many centuries before Louis XIV. It was Catherine de Medici, the French Queen, who brought this trend from Italy. She was very short & red stockings seemed to make her taller. Besides it was a lady’s tip: to show your sweetheart a leg covered in a red stocking. As a rule stockings were knitted from fine wool or fine silk & often embroidered or richly decorated with precious stones. Men were bigger dandies than women in this field as short pants made this piece of clothes visible.
Red heels were another fashion trend, which Louis XIV made belong to the nobility even with a special ordinance. It allowed to develop the true heel design current: red heels were painted, richly decorated with ornaments, etc. Monsieur, Louis’s brother, wore the highest heels (about 20 sm.) at the Court no matter his rather large stature. Here I should notice that 17th century shoes were made of fabric and had wooden sole & heels, while leather ones or boots used only for journeys & hunting. Due to a wide heel, they were comfortable & very steady.
As a king & moreover a serious politician Louis XIV used to wear ties. Unlike modern plain strings of fabric, his ties were laced with ribbons, brooches & other decorations. He invented this trend & it lasted far long after his reign. It seems His Majesty had hundreds of them as his numerous portraits depict various sorts of ties, mostly white. Golden laced brightly decorated with red were used in ceremonial garments.
As we may notice, Esteemed Readers, neither lace ties, nor red stockings & heels were obstacles for men to be true chevaliers & gallant gentlemen. Should we return them back for modern men to remember to be as they should be?
Vive le Roy! 🙂