Definitions

Directoire style

Directoire style

Directoire style, in French interior decoration and costume, the manner prevailing about the time of the Directory (1795-99), from which the name is derived. A style transitional between Louis XVI and Empire, it is characterized by a departure from the sumptuousness of the aristocratic regime. Furniture became more angular and severe; marquetry was replaced by large surfaces of painted and waxed wood. These new forms and the continued taste for Greco-Roman design, which forecast the Empire style, were established by the architects Percier and Fontaine and the artist J. L. David. The chemise gown with low neckline and high waistline, inspired by antiquity, pervaded women's fashion. The incroyables, dandies of the period, favored tight breeches and coats with wide lapels.

Style of dress, furniture, and ornament popular in France during the Directory, 1795–99. Dress for men mixed the ancient and contemporary: high boots, vests, open coats, top hats. Women's fashions featured dresses with long sleeves and V necklines, worn with ruffled caps. Directoire furniture and ornamentation were based on ancient Roman objects recently excavated at Pompeii.

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Directoire style describes a period in the decorative arts, fashion, and especially furniture design, concurrent with the post-Revolution French Directory (November 2, 1795 through November 10, 1799). The style is distinct for use of neoclassical architectural forms, minimal carving, planar expanses of highly grained veneers, and applied decorative painting.

The Directoire style was primarily established by the architects and designers Charles Percier (1764–1838) and Pier François Léonard Fontaine (1762–1853). In its use of Neoclassical architectural form and decorative motifs the style anticipates the slightly later Empire style.

References

  • Abbott, James Archer. Jansen Furniture. Acanathus: 2007. ISBN 978-0926494459.
  • Pegler, Martin. The Dictionary of Interior Design. Fairchild Publications: 1983. ASIN B0006ECV48.

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