Jenny La Fleur
looking to the gentlemen - Jenny La Fleur
adventures in costuming
jennylafleur
jennylafleur
looking to the gentlemen

So in pondering what to do with the side seams of my lounging robe I've been researching banyans. Banyans were a garment worn by men in the 18th century, influenced by Persian, Indian and/or Asian clothing. It was worn for "undress", ie worn as a sort of dressing gown or informal coat over the shirt and breeches around the house or at informal occasions. It's the forbearer of the smoking jacket of the 19th century.

Sure sounds like the masculine version of a lounging robe à la turque does it not? That's what I think anyway.

Banyans could be either simple T-shaped or Kimono shapes or later in the century could be more fitted to the body with inset tailored sleeves and double-breasted fronts (lots of Persian influence here!). The garment to the right in the pic above dates to the 1780s and was supposedly worn by George IV when Prince of Wales.

I'm not sure if the garment I'm trying to repro came from, was inspired by or simply shared a similar inspiration as these later Persian/Turkish banyans but I feel they are definitely related in some way.

And maybe it's just me but I'm sure seeing what I would call "princess seams" used in the banyans. Hee. So I'm now feeling much better about my fitting problem solution. It's not what one normally thinks of for the 18th century but it seems to make sense for these "foreign" inspired garments. Yay!

Sadly my schedule has not allowed me to get back to this project yet and it probably won't until after the first of Feb but I'm excited about seeing this project through and wearing it to my fete. :>

Interesting links I found along the way:
http://www.etsy.com/view_listing.php?listing_id=34856523
http://www.durantextiles.com/newsletter/documents/news_6be_07.asp
http://www.costumes.org/history/100pages/banyan.htm
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banyan_(clothing)

Tags:

17 comments | comment?
Comments
sarahbellem From: sarahbellem Date: January 25th, 2010 05:13 pm (UTC) (link)
Great minds... I'm making a banyan for my boyfriend (he's making me a pair of 18th c heels so it's only fair). ;)
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 25th, 2010 09:09 pm (UTC) (link)
*hee* Sounds like a fair exchange, lucky you! I was thinking as I was researching how much fun it would be to have a guy to make one for. I really have a soft spot for banyans... I think they are one of the sexist men's garments evar. Ah well someday!! For now I will just have to tuck away all my research and pattern ideas in a safe place. :>
joysdaughter From: joysdaughter Date: January 25th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC) (link)
You do know that women wore banyans in the late 17th century I presume. They were the basis of what became the sacque and the fitted robes - it's why the stripes on a woman's dress sleeve go round not down. Imagine a T shaped garment, made of a down striped material = sleeves included. Now wrap a belt around, and pin the front, folded back, to your stays, and pleat the back in to make it pretty - voila a robe!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 25th, 2010 09:10 pm (UTC) (link)
Yes indeed, the early mantuas! I'd like to make one of those someday too. :>
unclrashid From: unclrashid Date: January 25th, 2010 06:31 pm (UTC) (link)
There is a beautiful banyan in "400 Years of Fashion" that I have been wanting to copy for years. The one with black wool tufts that look like ermine.
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 25th, 2010 09:11 pm (UTC) (link)
Oh that one is lovely indeed! I hope you'll share pic when you make it! :>
unclrashid From: unclrashid Date: January 25th, 2010 09:37 pm (UTC) (link)
If I ever make it, I will share pics. Just don't know what I'd use it for, so I don't know if it will become a priority. But if I ever find a tufted fabric, then it will be obvious I'm supposed to have one!
my_stitching From: my_stitching Date: January 25th, 2010 06:58 pm (UTC) (link)
These might be a little later, but I thought I would share the link anyway:

http://dept.kent.edu/museum/exhibit/menswear/banyan.htm

I love the drawing with the tan banyan worn with a scarlet sash. So dashing!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 25th, 2010 09:13 pm (UTC) (link)
Yeah I came across that page this morning - so fun! I love those transitional banyan-smoking jackets. One of the few things I like from the 1820-40s.
demode From: demode Date: January 25th, 2010 08:42 pm (UTC) (link)
I don't know if it's helpful, but there's a woman's banyan at the V&A -- here's a picture I took of it:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/demode/3970365688/in/set-72157622490327646/

I'm sure if you searched their collection database you could find more pictures!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 25th, 2010 09:15 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks! Honestly only so helpful since I'm really looking at the later banyans. I think it's a super cool garment though, you can definitely see the influence of the mantua in the construction and yet it's not one. Really interesting...
joysdaughter From: joysdaughter Date: January 25th, 2010 09:22 pm (UTC) (link)
Banyan came first - became mantua!
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 28th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC) (link)
Were they called banyans before they were called mantuas. That is the bit I'm confused on...
joysdaughter From: joysdaughter Date: January 28th, 2010 02:22 pm (UTC) (link)
I think so - that's what I always understood, anyway. I have postcards from art galleries of men in them in the 1660's. It wasn't till after the Edict of Nantes (1670?ish) that women got to to be able to make their own clothes, and when they adopted the banyan to make it into a dress. Interestingly the definition of banyan is given in my OED as later than mantua1725 and 1707! However, Randall Holmes in (I think) 1687 defines mantua as a loose robe worn by women.... So your guess is as good as mine, but certainly the paintings indicate that the male version came before the female, no matter what it was called. Here endeth this week's history lesson - sorry!
joysdaughter From: joysdaughter Date: January 28th, 2010 02:29 pm (UTC) (link)
See Wikipedia for a couple more pictures and museum references for men. I'll see if I can find the women's ones I have - might take a while - we're back on thw "tidying the house" thing again!
corsetrasewing From: corsetrasewing Date: January 26th, 2010 07:21 pm (UTC) (link)
not a princess seam so to say, just the side seam is more towards the back.
There are a few patterns in variouse books of banyans that you could look at.
this little boy's gown could also be of some inspiration. (I have tried making it up.)
http://tidenstoej.natmus.dk/periode1/dragt.asp?ID=63
jennylafleur From: jennylafleur Date: January 28th, 2010 02:04 pm (UTC) (link)
Thanks!
17 comments | comment?