Cravates and Ribbons

The French ribbon industry reached its peak in the nineteenth century, when ribbons were widely employed as fashionable decorations. Women’s clothing was then inspired by interior furnishings and similarly presented heavy drapes, braids and trims. In addition, garments were enriched with the application of ribbons and followed the same trend changes in colour and design.

The FAR collection preserves a vast number of ribbons with almost 10,000 pieces. The core holdings are sample books of several manufacturers that specialized in the production of ribbon, a complex process which required the use of looms with multiple sheds. The collection includes 407 cravates, a particular type of ribbon, dated between 1860 and 1885. These were produced in Saint Etienne, France and for the most part designed by Charles Rebour.