Striped Men's Frock - Frac

Unknown1785 - 1790

Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin

Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin
Berlin, Germany

This apparently simple striped silk of this slim man’s frock is quite refined. Its vertical pattern consists of a combination of woven and printed patterning, between the blue and white stripes woven in warp satin, there are imprinted areas with a fine brownish shading that recalls the fur of exotic animals. In terms of tailoring, the frock displays all crucial fashion hallmarks of its time: a high turndown collar that is pointed at the back, fronts that cut sharply back and oversized buttons covered with the top fabric, of which only two can be fastened. The fitted, high set sleeves with slim cuffs were also en vogue in the late 1780s. The slim tails in the back are affixed with two buttons and the centre placket is pleated. The jacket is fully lined. The image of an elegant gentleman en chenille (or “colourful as a butterfly caterpillar”) in the Journal des Luxus und der Moden, of August 1788 shows how such a striped tailcoat would be worn: “A stylish modern gentleman ‘en chenille’. He is wearing a lowcut tailcoat of red, green, and yellow striped cloth en rayes ombrées fringed down with red and mottled tassels. With either identically coloured multicoloured buttons or boutons à l’architecture”


  • Title: Striped Men's Frock - Frac
  • Creator: Unknown
  • Date: 1785 - 1790
  • Stylistic point of origin: France
  • Rights: Photo © bpk - Photo Agency / Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Stephan Klonk │ Text © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz / Christine Waidenschlager
  • Provenance: 2003 Kamer/Ruf collection; 1984 Flea market, Paris, Kunstgewerbemuseum, Staatliche Museen zu Berlin - Preußischer Kulturbesitz
  • Length: Fl./bl. 109 cm
  • ISIL no.: DE-MUS-018417
  • Type: Tailcoat
  • External Link: http://www.smb.museum/museen-und-einrichtungen/kunstgewerbemuseum/home.html
  • Medium: Cream coloured silk, light brown imprinting, light blue and white satin weave longitudinal strips; lining: cream coloured silk, satin weave

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