Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Cocoa Guide to Rococo Style

Photo by Nett

Rococo is an art term that designates a specific period of French culture, namely during most of the 18th century. Marie Antoinette? She's the Rococo goddess herself - a queen of everything light, sweet, and lovely. Rococo design treats every room, dress, and person as an individual work of art, decorating them accordingly. By using gentle curves and pastel colors contrasted against vivid golds, a sweetly beautiful yet undoubtedly aristocratic effect is created.

Rococo style, both architecturally and artistically, is generally looked down upon by the art world and thought to be merely "frivilous and extravagant," but when looked at closely it's clear that there's incredible history behind everything from this period. The style itself says worlds about French culture at that point in time and in modern day society it reflects a carefree and whimsical attitude. If you daydream of masquerade balls and flower petal baths and shimmering pink hair ribbons and sugar-iced cupcakes, chances are you'd firmly disagree with those art historians.

Authentic Rococo style is vividly reflected through most Japanese "Lolita" brands such as Baby, the Stars Shine Bright (which I would kill to own anything from!) and Metamorphose, but for Western city-dwellers it's not impossible to transform the lavish and extravagant into something a little more everyday. 

Embrace Florals...
Flowery prints and nature-themed fabrics were commonplace in the 18th century and although they may not be quite as popular today, that doesn't mean they're impossible to find. Even if not conventionally vintage-looking, most anything with a simple floral print can be construed as Rococo when paired with the right accessories. Even something as silly as floral printed combat boots can give you that babydoll edge if worn with something sweet and bubbly.

...And Pastels
Color is your friend! The only time you would see black or white in Versailles was during either a marriage or a funeral. The message behind Rococo itself is to never take life too seriously and embrace the sweetness around you, and that means filling your life with loads of color!

Work Off of a Theme
Dress yourself up like a butterfly garden or a hand-spun web of cotton candy, the summer sky or a neatly wrapped birthday present. Buy butterfly clips for your hair or powder your face and dab on baby pink blush. Pick a new theme everyday and stick to it! Your theme doesn't have to be perfectly apparent to others but do try to go the extra mile, even if it means just doing something as simple as buying lipstick in a shade that you wouldn't normally wear or using ribbon instead of a belt. You are a work of art! The french treated everything as an individual masterpiece, whether it be a room or a hair-do. It's a vital part of this lifestyle to do the same to your daily wardrobe!

Don't Be Afraid to Clash
Contrast and juxtaposition in color is what makes everything Rococo incredibly alluring. Think Betsey Johnson! That kind of incredible dash of color and life can bring any outfit out of mediocrity and into the realms of history. 

Never Doubt the Power of Accessories
Since most Rococo dresses were incredibly complex, adapting the same sort of style to a more everyday outfit involves a great deal of accessorizing. Gold is the metal of choice for jewelry, being an old-school sign of both privilege and femininity (not to mention a key aspect of Rococo decorating), but just about anything from ribbons to pearls can be adapted accordingly.

Penelope ♥


Rie said...

Beautiful! I love the modern contrasts--combat boots with beribboned kneesocks, the assymetrical necklace and beaded sandals. It's so pretty and wearable.

Penny Lane said...

Love the fashion, Love the Time, Love the People! Wonderful post! Disasterville is another blog i read and i think you ladies are on the same wave lengths!

Rain said...

Just a piece of information, you do not have to kill to own something from Baby the stars shine bright as they ship worldwide :D (though their webshop is temporarily closed - but as btssb is usually very quick in these things, I am sure they'll reopen soon.)

Love your blog! I liked the Alice-themed entry, especially the bit of the Mad Hatter. Keep up the good work!

Penelope said...

I know, I know! I just can't currently afford my very own piece of Baby on a student's budget! Oh, the cruelty of it all!

Penelope ♥

Chocolate said...

You have a very interesting take on rococo, my dear. I love your aesthetic.


danalaventure said...

Hi Penelope!
So those Doc Marten boots are my new favorite thing in the world.
Also, I've linked to this post in a post of my own the other day:
But it's only just occurred to me that I could say hi myself, instead of giving a distant shout-out from another corner of the internet. Right... so... hi! I love your blog. And these outfits you've made are SUCH an inspiration. Keep on keepin' on!

♥ CECILONIA ♥ said...

Me encanta el rococó. Divino todo!!