Yesterday, the village where I live was having it's annual Fest Noz, girls and some boys were dressed in their best Brittany dresses and danced traditional dances.
After the French Revolution, sumptuary laws regulating "Superfluity Of Dress" in France were revoked and Brittany women took that as a cue to embellish their frocks. All of a sudden, they could use gold thread, beads, lace to show off and by gosh they did!
Highly codified and regionalised, your social status dictated how high on your skirt the black silk velvet could go or if you could embroider the top of it. It dictated how many button you could put on a men's coat. The handwork is exceptional and some details of construction were very interesting.
Do you see these handmade ruffles? Amazing. Look at the bodice, hand picked shaping. I had a grand old time, talking to the older women, how they got their dresses from their mother, an aunt, heirlooms, passed from one women to another.
And I got to touch black silk velvet, the feeling of which is now engraved on my fingertips.