Directoire Style (1795-1799)

The Directoire Style was a transitional style between Louis XVI and Empire Style.

Château de Malmaison, Directoire style
Château de Malmaison, Directoire style

Image source: https://www.pinterest.ch/pin/402157441707760152/

History of This Style

The Directoire style was introduced by the architects and designers Charles Percier and Pier François Léonard Fontaine. In its employement of Neoclassical architectural forms and decorative patterns, the style was the predecessor of more complicated Empire style, which was introduced after Napoleon established the First French Empire.


Directoire style entrance.
Directoire style entrance.

Image source: https://www.pinterest.it/pin/301881981244515702/

Directoire Style Characteristics

The Directoire style reflected the values of republican Rome. Revolutionary emblems could be found on furnishings, decorations and textiles. The furniture was meant to be a copy of relics discovered in the excavations of Pompeii, or be inspired by representations of antiquity in general. Furniture and ornaments were less used, simple lines were important in this style. Mahogany was a key element.

Directoire style desk.
Directoire style desk.

Image source: https://www.archiexpo.com/prod/oak-design/product-5041-1399447.html

Interior Designers

Charles Percier, for example, was a french architect, and designer, who worked closely with Pierre François Léonard Fontaine. They invented and strongly promoted of the Directoire style. In 1799 Napoleon wanted them to redecorate Malmaison. After that, they worked to decorate Saint Could, the Tuileries, the Louvre and other apartments of important buildings in France.

The Tuileries, Paris.

Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuileries_Palace

Clothing and Fashion

It was a classical style, based on an idealization of ancient Greek and Roman dress with narrow skirts. In this period the willingness to expose the breast started to affect fashion. The style was appropriate for a pregnant or nursing woman as the breasts were exposed and their availability was improved. Maternity became fashionable and it was common for women to walk around with their breasts exposed. White was considered the perfect colour for neoclassical style of clothing.

Directoire style way of clothing.
Directoire style way of clothing.

Image source: https://www.hisour.com/western-fashion-of-women-in-1795-1800-32569/

Info source: https://www.britannica.com/art/Directoire-style

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