Borovikovsky’s Blue Sashed Ladies

It’s been ages since the first Lady Brawlers of Sarah Siddons v. Anonymous Lady v. Mary Robinson and I think it’s about time we’ve another taste of dueling fashionistas.  This offering, I admit, relies on simplicity and is not so much a copied look as it is composed of basic fashion staples.  The ladies each don a white gown, two of muslin or lawn, and one of satin.  The sashes range from sky blue to royal blue, and the similarities might be blamed on Borovikovky, who we can assume favored the look and maybe even conceived of it before he acquired his sitters.  I do have a surprise for you, however, with the entry of a young sitter by Gainsborough.  This sitter, in addition to the necessary white gown and blue sash, has added a black hat and red shoes to the ensemble.

Fashionista #1 – Docile Young Lady with Pearl Arm Band

Portrait of Elena Aleksandrovna Naryshkina – Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (1799)

Fashionista # 2 Precocious Young Lady  with Golden Bracelet

Portrait of Marie Ivanovna Lopukhina – Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (1797)

   Fashionista # 3 Young Mother with Brocaded Shawl

Portrait of E.B. Rodzianko – Vladimir Lukich Borovikovsky (1821)

Fashionista #4 Young Master with Saucy Red Shoes

Master John Heathcote – Thomas Gainsborough (1771/1772)

Time to vote ladies and gents.  Who wore it best?

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9 thoughts on “Borovikovsky’s Blue Sashed Ladies

    1. Who doesn’t love saucy red shoes? They’re unexpected.

      Fashionista no. 2 is pretty great. I’m partial to raised collars and/or anything that frames the face.

  1. Fashionista #2. Trying to figure out why, though. (I’m excluding #4)

    My theory: Idealization.
    Fashionista #1 seems idealized in a Bougereau manner.
    (She also resembles a girl I had a crush on in elementary school. The gaze is a wordless dismissal – “oh, very funny – shut up,” sighing, closing her eyes and looking away…)

    Fashionista #3 seems a bit chilly, somehow – idealism (Minnie Driver’s cousin?) as painted by Ingres…

    Fashionista #2’s lips appear more contemporary and real, without the swooping into the corners of the mouth dramatically, as do the others. Oh, and her hair has a feathery, almost smoke-like, softness echoed in her skin color. Oh, and then her cheekbones…

    I like #2.
    I’ll leave it there.

    1. #2 does have a foxiness about her. The soft hair reminds me of Farrah Fawcett’s style in the 1970s. She looks to be the favorite, so far.

      #3’s looks are reminiscent of Minnie Driver–a more protuberant eyed, plainer Minnie. I was thinking she resembled someone and couldn’t grasp it, but that’s pretty good.

      I think you might be prejudiced against #1! She is idealized but you’re right; I’m not really sure she thinks much of the viewer. Hard to tell.

  2. By the way, Fashionisto #4 is a young man, isn’t he? I have no personal qwalms about cross-dressing but youngsters should really be excluded from the fetish, surely?

    1. Master John Heathcote is Fashionista #4. I can’t recall exactly when boys were breeched. Around preschool age up to age 7. I’ve read differing accounts. In the latter part of the century, skeleton suits were created, which I think caused boys to be breeched earlier, but I’m not sure how that circumvented the original reason for remaining unbreeched: toilet training and expense.

      Dressing boys in petticoats does look like cross-dressing, especially to us. Incidentally, the time of breeching coincided with the boy ascending into his father’s purview, so perhaps there is something to be said about gender identity here.

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