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Remember the Incroyables?

September 14, 2016

Do you remember the Incorybles and the Merveilleuses?  Of course not, unless you are a student of the French Revolution, Regency and Imperial fashion, Napoleon, or Regency England. In many ways they were today’s version of Hillary Clinton’s Deplorables.  Once upon a time, thanks to the influence of Thomas Jefferson, very evil men decided to purge the country of France of anyone who was aristocratic, Christian, or who disagreed with them.  It was one of the largest prosecutions of Christians in history, with thousands of priests, nuns, and simple country folk who were devoted to Christ being slaughtered by liberals who allowed no one to disagree with them.  If you disagreed, you were dead.  Tens of thousands of people were murdered by those who took the philosophy of Jefferson just a little too far.  The survivors were known as Incorybles and Merveilleuses – the Deplorables of today.  The comparison is ironic.  Even though they were part of the aristocracy, they had been forced underground, their lives destroyed by the Revolution.  They did everything possible to rebel against anything which reeked of the Revolution, of liberal culture and politics.

“…The Incroyables (“incredibles”) and their female counterparts, the Merveilleuses (“marvelous women”, roughly equivalent to “fabulous divas”), were members of a fashionable aristocratic subculture in Paris during the French Directory (1795–1799). Whether as catharsis or in a need to reconnect with other survivors of the Reign of Terror, they greeted the new regime with an outbreak of luxury, decadence, and even silliness. They held hundreds of balls and started fashion trends in clothing and mannerisms that today seem exaggerated, affected, or even effete (decadent, self-indulgent). Some devotees of the trend preferred to be called “incoyable” or “meveilleuse”, thus avoiding the letter R, as in “révolution.” When this period ended, society took a more sober and modest turn.

Members of the ruling classes were also among the movement’s leading figures, and the group heavily influenced the politics, clothing, and arts of the period. They emerged from the muscadins, a term for dandyish anti-Jacobin street gangs in Paris from 1793  who were important politically for some two years; the terms are often used interchangeably, though the muscadins were of a lower social background, being largely middle-class…”

Quite often they cut their hair short, or wore wigs, symbolically to prove their family or loved ones had been beheaded by Madam Guillotine.  They would wear red ribbons around their necks to symbolize blood.  They were basically conservative.  Through their influence modern horror literature was born.  Music exploded with the works of Beethoven and the Romantics.  They changed the world of fashion and decor forever.  Their lives had been destroyed and they were attempting to regain them.

“...Some young people began to rebel against this serious and repressed atmosphere. They began to wear clothing that was a comic exaggeration of the new styles, making them almost as lavish and ridiculous as the finery that had been worn by the nobility before the revolution. Young men, who were soon given the name Incroyables, because they looked incredible, wore a cartoon version of the English country suit. Skintight pants with extremely short vests, often made of flowered fabric, were topped with a jacket made so long its wide flared tails reached the ankles. The coat sleeves were so long that they hid the hands from sight, and the lapels were so large they often stuck out several inches beyond the wearer. The back of the bulky coat was bunched in folds, and the front was cut to look uneven when the jacket was buttoned. The jacket collar stood up high behind the head in back, and a huge cravat, or screen-shot-2016-09-13-at-8-13-33-pmneck covering, was wrapped so high around the neck that it covered the chin and mouth. Incroyables cut their hair raggedly, and it hung long and shaggy on the sides of their heads, in a style called “dog’s ears.” They wore large, two-cornered hats, carried oversized eyeglasses, and often wore two watches.

The female counterparts of the Incroyables were called the Merveilleuses. The Merveilleuses exaggerated the Greek style, wearing loose gowns made of several yards of fabric so sheer that they were almost transparent. They often increased this “naked” look by dampening the cloth of their dresses to make them cling more closely to the body. Their simple, cropped hair was adorned with plumes of ostrich feathers. Both the Incroyablesand the Merveilleuseswore large amounts of heavy musk perfume, which led some to call them “muscadins.”

When the military leader Napoleon Bonaparte (1769–1821) rose to power in France at the beginning of the 1800s, he brought a more severe and simple style of dress, along with less tolerance for the outlandish behavior of rebellious youth, and the humorous styles of the Incroyable sand the Merveilleuses disappeared….”

As with most ultra liberal regimes and experiments, the era of the Revolution was replaced by the evils of one of the worst dictators and madmen in history – Napoleon Bonaparte.   By the time he was defeated, at Waterloo, 201 years ago this past June, he had destroyed an entire generation of not only French youth, but men throughout Europe.  Millions of people died from starvation and disease.  Following Waterloo, in 1818 came the Year Without a Summer, which ushered in near revolution, even in Great Britain. The simple fashions of the era were forced to evolve into something warmer.  The climate had cooled so drastically, the world is only now beginning to warm up – again.

In their world, Incorybles and Merveilleuses were almost marginalized by the ultra liberal world trying to maintain power.  The moderate Jacobians thought they were strange.  All they were trying to do was take back their world from the ravages of the ultra liberals.  Today, you could put the average Trump Deplorable in their world and they would be basically fighting for the same thing.

Our problem, today, is the arts,  humanities, and history are not being taught in the Obama world.  All that matters is STEM.  When this happens, we have created a generation individuals who don’t know who they are.  They don’t know our history, our past.  They have substituted super-hero special effects for reality.  They seek to bully and silence anyone who dares to disagree with them.  Like the intellects of the French Revolution, contrary opinion was not to be allowed. It’s rather simple, yesterday’s Incoryble is today’s Deplorable.

Something else you might want to note.  Modern fashion began with the Incorybles and Merveilleuses.  If you pay attention or even know your Jane Austen you know the modern man’s suit began to evolve from casual clothing of the Regency Dandy.  A version of Incoryble day ware is today’s ultra formal black tie ‘morning’ suit. The man’s hat eventually became the slouch hat, then the cowboy  hat.  Hessian boots and riding boots evolved into cowboy boots.  Regency clothing was special for something else.  It was the first time children were allowed their own version of clothes.  It became know as the Kate Greenway look.  Little kids still wear bits and pieces of the fashion.

One of the problems with the French Revolution was the fact that it was going to usher in a new era, the perfect atheist world.  It was a world where a portion of the purges were about destroying all vestiges of Christianity.

There is one other little similarity in the two worlds.  During the Revolution, the Barbary Pirates were allowed to run wild in the Mediterranean and ravage the coastal areas, capturing thousands of Europeans for slavery, to be sold to Islamic slavers, with the women to be raped, the  men to be castrated and tortured. In 1803 the upstarts from across the pond were so pissed about it that the United States Marines were founded.  That’s how Europe was freed of Islamic Pirates – until the Obama Administration.

Just a little FYI – people who don’t know history are abject fools who are doomed to repeat it.


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