Artists Illustrating Boys' Fashions: Vasily Perov--Paris Years

Figure 1.--Perov painted "Vendor of Song Books" in Paris during 1863-64. Note the boy wearing long pants and a beret. The painting is located at the Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, Russia.

Perov in Paris

Perov travelled abroad in 1862. Perov lived in Paris during the early 1860s studying art. He not only studied in Paris, but was an active painter. He workeding mainly in Paris, where he painted a series of vivid genre scenes of city life. While Perov is a Russian artist, his time in Paris leave us many scenes of Paris life. Some of the street scenes show us how pooer French children dressed. The images all show the street children, presumably the offspring of working-class children wearing long pants. One boy is pictured wearing a bert. We know rom fashion magazines the children from more affluent families were by the 1860s wearing kneepants.

French Boys' Clothes

Young French boys continued wearing dresses in the 1860s. Boys from affluent families might ear them longer than boys from working class families. Kilts were still fashionable in the 1860s, but declined in popularity by the end of the decade. Many boys wore long trousers, but calf-length kneepants became increasingly common for younger boys. We note working-class in the 1860s still wearing long trousers when children from more affluent children were beginning to commonly wear kneepants. Puffed sleeves were popular for both boys and girls in the in 1850s, but not common by the 1870s. Younger boys suits often had fancifukl styling. By the 1860s younger boys were seen in velvet suits with lace collars, the fore runner of the Fauntleroy suit. Sailor styling is still not a major style through the 1860s, but we do note sailor hats being worn. We do not note many boys wearing smocks, but our information is still limited. Great advances in photography were made in the 1860s and while still expensive, a photogphic portrait during the 1860s became much more afordble to French families.

Christopher Wagner

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Created: January 15, 2002
Last updated: January 15, 2002