Directoire style (dērĕktwärˈ) [key], in French interior decoration and costume, the manner prevailing about the time of the Directory (1795–99), from which the name is derived. A style transitional between Louis XVI and Empire, it is characterized by a departure from the sumptuousness of the aristocratic regime. Furniture became more angular and severe; marquetry was replaced by large surfaces of painted and waxed wood. These new forms and the continued taste for Greco-Roman design, which forecast the Empire style, were established by the architects Percier and Fontaine and the artist J. L. David. The chemise gown with low neckline and high waistline, inspired by antiquity, pervaded women's fashion. The incroyables, dandies of the period, favored tight breeches and coats with wide lapels.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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