Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Baroness Matilde Guiguer de Prangins in her Park at the Lake of Geneva by Jens Juel, 1779, Statens Museum for Kunst
Elizabeth, Countess of Warwick by Sir Joshua Reynolds, ca 1780 England, the Frick Collection
Lady Elizabeth Delmé and Her Children by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1777-79, National Gallery of Art, Washington DC
Court dress, 1775-80 UK, the V&A Museum
Riding habit, ca 1780 Venice, LACMA
Robe à la polonaise, ca 1780 France, KCI
Fashionable men and women of the late rococo era loved all things rustic. Their version of rustic, anyway. A popular form of portraiture in this era was the pastoral portrait, where the female sitter was dressed as a “shepherdess” who looked like she had never worked a day in her life. Likewise, the polonaise was an idealized imitation of “rustic” country dress. Working women would tuck their skirt up through their pockets to keep it out of the mud.
Robe retroussée dans les poches, ca 1780 France, KCI
In accordance with the English custom of walks in the countryside and relaxing in the open air, it became popular to dress up in clothes derived from the work clothes and townwear of ordinary people, who, by their nature, put great importance on freedom of movement. One of these so inspired style is the “retroussée dans les poches”, as seen here. The gown’s hem is pulled out from slits in either side, and draped on the back. The red and white contrasting pekin stripes also heighten the folds’ effect.
“Pekin” stripes are textiles originally made in China of equal-width striped patterns of differing colors and weaving methods. Along with the expansion of interest in chinoiserie, around 1760, Peking striped fabric was even produced in France and became popular. As Jean-Baptiste Siméon Chardin(1699–1779) painted (“The Morning Toilette”, c.1741, Nationalmuseum, Stockholm) , women of the rich bourgeoisie often wore this kind of striped pattern.
I don’t care how many times I post this.
Robe à la française, ca 1780 France, KCI
The mannequin displays a hairstyle that was often the subject of ridicule in contemporary fashion caricatures. A similar hairstyle, possibly the one that inspired this stylist, was called the “Coiffure de l’indépendance ou Le triomphe de la liberté” (Hairstyle of Independence, or The Triumph of Freedom), which was worn by Marie-Antoinette to celebrate France’s first naval victory over Britain during the American Revolutionary War.
The famous engraving showing the hairstyle:
Robe à la française, 1777-79 France, KCI
One of the most famous dresses of the 18th century and rightfully so. Check out the high-res to see the incredible detail.
Mules, ca 1780 France?, Historic Deerfield Museum