'Carmagnole' jacket

  • Circa 1790 - 1800
  • Red woollen cloth, red woollen and hemp cloth. Lining: natural hemp cloth. Cockade: blue, white and red cotton.
  • GAL 1987.2.1
  • Acquired by the City of Paris
  • Palais Galliera, musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris

The jacket known as the Carmagnole is said to have been worn during the French Revolution by the Sans-culottes, workers, tradesmen and a few members of the Convention. The name is taken from La Carmagnole, a Revolutionary song and dance that originated in the Marseille region. The song was composed in 1792, probably after the taking of the Tuileries palace on 10 August. Espoused by the Sans-culottes, the song, the dance and the jacket are  all associated with the radical working-class movement; the Sans-culottes wore jackets and trousers instead of the coats and breeches of the privileged classes. Here the Carmagnole is adorned with a cockade, a military decoration that became tricoloured in 1789, combining the white of the Kingdom of France with the blue and red of the City of Paris. We cannot be absolutely sure that this garment is a true Carmagnole, but it remains a touching example of popular dress. Its maker seems to have resorted to two types of cloth, with the cheaper wool-hemp mix being kept for the back and sleeves. Few examples of working-class clothing are to be found in France's public museums; these were garments that were worn beyond all possibility of preservation.

Notice's author : Pascale Gorguet-Ballesteros