Today i am going to continue my investigation into the Provençal Costume by talking about something which may be surprising in such a warm climate, namely, quilted clothing. Quilted clothing is extremely widespread, as far as China, being a practical way to produce warm clothing.
There are three garments worn as part of this costume which are sometimes quilted, the corset or bodice, the petticoat, and the skirt. Obviously these are more commonly worn in winter, but the skirt especially is sometimes worn even in warm weather for special occasions, such as weddings.
There are two types of 'corset' or bodice worn in Provençe, with a lace up front, or an overlapping front which is pinned shut. The peasant class, the Paisanne, often wears a laced bodice as the sole outer garment, made of a double layer of colored or striped cloth.
The Artisanne and the Bastidanne most commonly wear the bodice or corset which is pinned shut across the front. The back has a fold with lacing to adjust the corset to the body and provide support for the torso. This type of bodice/corset is worn over the chemise and under the dress or jacket 'caraco'. The corset is usually white or off-white, made of a double layer of cloth, and often finely quilted. Here is a photo of such a corset.
Mary Gostelow, 'The Complete International Book of Embroidery', New York, 1977
Rode de Basso Prouvenço, 'Le Costume Populaire Provençal', Aix-en Provençe, 1990
Andre Sainsard, 'Costumes Folkloriques Provinces Françaises', Paris, 1972
Royere, Gardilanne, Moffat et al, 'Les Costumes Regionaux de la France', New York, 1929
Charles-Brun, 'Costumes des Provinces Françaises', Paris, 1937
P. Leroux, 'Costumes Regionaux', Paris, 1940
Nicolette Tennevin & Marie Texier, 'Dances of France II. Provence and Alsace' from the series 'Handbooks of European National Dances', London, 1951