Louis Philippe Joseph d’Orléans as a Child, François Boucher (French), c. 1750, oil on canvas, Waddesdon Manor, Buckinghamshire, England
So, aaages ago I hinted that we might show you what little boys wore in England during the Victorian era. Well, I could never find a sufficiently silly example of Victorian toddler couture to share with the tumblrsphere, but here is the next best thing: Rococo French toddler fashion. Across the Channel, up through the Victorian era (though not into the Edwardian, I believe), boys up to age five were dressed not dissimilarly from the young Duc d’Orléans here, all done up like a miniature Mme. Pompadour. To think that some 43 years later this froufy little kid would lose his head over the Reign of Terror- apparently supporting anti-Aristocracy revolutionaries does not get you ahead when you yourself are part of the Aristocracy.
It’s interesting to see how gender norms have shifted. Today, if a parent put their son in a dress and dropped him off at school, it would no doubt incite a hungry pack of "concerned" parents to circle them. Not long ago dressing a little boy in this manner was completely normal, and not seen in the least as a transgression of the rigidly enforced gender norms of the time. Anyway, isn’t it lovely how proscribed gender-roles continue to dog us today?