Se vêtir à la cour en Europe, 1400-1815

Publication resulting from the research programme “Dressing at Court: Typology, Uses and Economy” led by the Research Centre.

Se vêtir à la cour en Europe, 1400-1815, (publication from the international symposium held on 3,4 and 5 June, 2009), directed by Isabelle Paresys and Natacha Coquery, joint publication Centre de recherche du château de Versailles / Institut de Recherches Historiques du Septentrion (IRHIS) of the Université Lille 3-Charles-de-Gaulle / Centre de Gestion de l’Édition Scientifique (“Histoire et Littérature de l’Europe du Nord-Ouest” Collection), October 2011, 16 x 24 cm, 350 p., 50 ill., €23 (ISBN: 978-2-905637-64-2).


The royal court was a place to see and be seen, and nowhere has society’s concern for appearances been more visible. What did the manner of dress convey in this “society of the spectacle”? Sartorial appearance was a powerful driving force behind cultural practices relating to the body and identity. It activated a whole luxury market and fuelled the dynamics of exchange between the European courts. This volume looks at the attire of royals and courtiers in Europe between 1400 and 1815, a period that saw the rise of court society. Kings and queens were among the first to understand the power of clothing and wore it to the highest degree of sophistication. Dress was a means to govern and to rule. Far from following a rigid system of codified appearances, court dress followed the fashion of its time, in which it played a key role at home and abroad. While court dress was an important part of this sumptuous, material culture of the past, it endures in our visual culture today; on haute couture runways and on the screen, costume gives new meanings to appearance, inextricably linked, as ever, to the performance of the body and of textiles.

Read the book online

The book is out of print out and will no longer be commercialised.
It is available in Open Access Freemium on the Apparence(s) journal website since August 2015.

Book reviews

Read the Christine Dousset’s review published online 26 March 2013 on Clio (in French).

Read the Pascale Cugy’s review published online 31 January 2012 on Histara (in French).

Read the review by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell published in the revue Costume, vol. 46, no. 2, The Costume Society of Great Britain, 2012:

review by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell
Website produced with the support of:
Château de Versailles
Conseil général des Yvelines