Les Incroyables By Carle Vernet
Two “Incredibles” meet on the street, wearing the classic exaggerated dress of the rakish gentleman of the Directoire period.
The Fashionable Post-Revolutionary Set – Paris Circa 1796
After the fall of Robespierre and the end of the Terror, a wave of relief and of fashion giddiness swept Paris.
Young men known as “Incroyables” and their female counterparts “Les Merveilleuses” rejoiced in adopting a wildly exaggerated look which flaunted the social conventions of the time. They were the ultimate dandy set, the golden youth of their time, arrogant and outrageous. Some of the Incroyables, known as Muscadins (because of their heavy musk perfume), had a dark side. They organized into bands and roamed the streets using their bludgeons and canes to harass the revolutionary Jacobins.
Engravings by Carle and Horace Vernet
The famous French artist Carle Vernet (1758-1836) created a series of caricatures of the wardrobes of the Incroyables and Merveilleuses which became an enormous popular success during the Directoire period. Later, Carl Vernet’s son, HoraceVernet (1789-1863) revisited this popular subject, designing a set of elegant engravings for a 1814-1815 publication entitled “Incroyables et merveilleuses.”