Wednesday 11 February 2015

Fashion Dolls: Helping showcase Regency fashion around the world

Once again it's my pleasure to welcome Jacki Delecki to the blog today, with a fascinating look at fashion dolls!


Paris has been the epicenter of fashion for hundreds of years, radiating its influence around the world to set trends and dictate style. In today’s world, cutting-edge fashion comes at us via television, the internet and on the gloss pages of magazines. Yet even before such methods of mass communication existed, Paris was showcasing fashion designs through the use of fashion dolls.

Most of the earliest references to fashion dolls pertain to European royalty. Life-size dolls were elaborately outfitted in French fashion, including jewelry and accessories, and sent to queens in Spain, England and other countries. These three-dimensional figures were often handcrafted and configured to match the measurements of a specific individual. These dolls also served as “models” for local dressmakers who carefully studied each detail so they could re-create the stylish garments for local aristocrats. 

Fashion Dolls

During the eighteenth century, fashion dolls increased in popularity and demand. Both French and English fashion dolls were exported to the U.S., popularizing European haute couture in America. Precursors to today’s mannequins, fashion dolls allowed milliners and modistes to display merchandise, and because the garments were fitted to life-size figures, made it possible for couturiers to sell clothing without fittings or pre-orders. The fascination with fashion often started at a young age, so small-scale fashion dolls were designed for the daughters of royal families and aristocracy.

While doing research in preparation for my next book in The Code Breakers series, a Regency-era romantic mystery series, I learned that fashion dolls were of such importance that even during times of hostility between England and France, concessions were made to allow the continued exchange of fashion dolls. That seemed to hold the potential to become a part of my plot for A CODE OF THE HEART, and indeed, it did, as the heroine, Amelia Bonnington works in a modiste shop.

The Regency era offers a wealth of fascinating details that make it so easy to enrich a romance with elements of intrigue, excitement and adventure. I hope you’ll read A CODE OF THE HEART to see how I included fashion dolls into the story. To celebrate my upcoming release, I am giving away an audiobook version of A CODE OF LOVE, book 1 in the Code Breakers series, and a digital copy of A CHRISTMAS CODE, book 2 in the series. Please comment for a chance to win.

About Jacki Delecki

Jackie Delecki
Descended from a long line of storytellers, Jacki spins adventures filled with mystery, healing and romance. 

Jacki’s love affair with the arts began at a young age and inspired her to train as a jazz singer and dancer. She has performed many acting roles with Seattle Opera Company and Pacific Northwest Ballet. Her travels to London and Paris ignited a deep-seated passion to write the Regency Code Breaker Series. Jacki is certain she spent at least one lifetime dancing in the Moulin Rouge.

Jacki has set her Grayce Walters Mystery Series in Seattle, her long-time home. The city’s unique and colorful locations are a backdrop for her thrilling romantic suspense. Although writing now fills much of her day, she continues to volunteer for Seattle’s Ballet and Opera Companies and leads children’s tours of Pike Street Market. Her volunteer work with Seattle’s homeless shelters influenced one of her main characters in An Inner Fire and Women Under Fire

Jacki’s two Golden Labs, Gus and Talley, were her constant companions. Their years of devotion and intuition inspired her to write dogs as main characters alongside her strong heroines. A geek at heart, Jacki loves superhero movies—a hero’s battle against insurmountable odds. But her heroines don’t have to wear a unitard to fight injustice and battle for the underdog.

Look for more heart-pounding adventure, intrigue, and romance in Jacki’s Code Breakers Series. A Code of Love is the first book in the series. A Christmas Code—A Regency Novella, is now available at all retail sites.  A Code of the Heart will be released on February 12, 2015.

To learn more about Jacki and her books and to be the first to hear about contests and giveaways join her newsletter found on her website: Follow her on Facebook—Jacki Delecki; Twitter @jackidelecki.

A Code of the Heart 

Miss Amelia Bonnington has been in love with her childhood hero since she was eleven years old… or so she thought until a not-so proper impassioned and unyielding kiss from the not-so honorable and equally disreputable Lord Derrick Brinsley, gave her reason to question the feelings of the heart. 

Lord Brinsley, shunned from society for running off with his brother’s fiancĂ©e, hasn’t cared about or questioned his lack of acceptance until meeting the beguiling Amelia Bonnington. One passionate moment with the fiery Miss Bonnington has him more than willing to play by society’s rules to possess the breathtaking, red-haired woman.

Amelia unwittingly becomes embroiled in espionage when she stumbles upon a smuggling ring in the modiste shop of her good friend. To prove her French friend’s innocence, she dangerously jumps into the fray, jeopardizing more than her life. 

On undercover assignment to prevent the French from stealing the Royal Navy’s deadly weapon, Derrick must fight to protect British secrets from falling into the hands of foreign agents, and the chance at love with the only woman capable of redeeming him.

Written content of this post copyright © Jackie Delecki, 2015.


Regan Walker said...

Jacki, I enjoyed your post, particularly since I had done research into fashion dolls for my new book based in England and France in the late 18th century. But the dolls I found were not life size, but more often 2-3 feet (one, wrapped in a blanket and carried by a woman on a coach to London) was mistaken for a baby in a diary I read. I also found it interesting that fashion dolls were exempt from the embargoes on goods in the wars between England and France. Women must have their fashions, no?

jacki said...

Hi Regan,

Not sure if you got my reply so I apologize in advance if this is a duplicate. I love that you're using fashion dolls in your book. I had a blast developing my plot around their use as way in communicating the newest fashion. I believe the dolls became more popular in your time period. I took a bit of fictional license with my story. Good luck with your book. All my best.Jacki

Catherine Curzon said...

Indeed they must!

Regan Walker said...

Thanks, Jacki. I love those historical tidbits!

Shwetablog said...