Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Robe, 1780-85 France, the Victoria & Albert Museum
This gown demonstrates the fashionable styles in women’s formal dress of the 1780s. The hoop has changed from the square shape of earlier decades to a round profile. A stomacher is no longer needed, because the gown now meets in the front. The cream silk is adorned only at the edges with an embroidered band, ribbon and a stencilled fringe. This restraint in decoration illustrates the growing influence of the Neo-classical style in textile design.
Princess Élisabeth of France by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, ca 1782 France, Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon
Ballgown, 1780-85 France, Musée des Tissus de Lyon
This dress, also called “robe parée”, is a ball dress. The skirt is worn over a pannier which, early 1780, was less ample than the one used under the dress “à la française”. The decoration consists of appliqué painted flowers, gauze flounces and extremely refined embroideries. It exemplifies the dresses Rose Bertin, Marie-Antoinette’s dressmaker, used to create for the queen.
Portrait of Giovanna Baccelli by Thomas Gainsborough, ca 1782, Tate Britain
Portrait of Maria Feodorovna (Sophie Dorothea of Württemberg) after Pompeo Batoni, 1782-87 Russia
Robe à la française and petticoat, ca 1780-85 England, Royal Ontario Museum
This is such a well-known dress but they only have one shot of it. Shame.
Dress worn by First Lady Martha Washington, early 1780’s United States, Smithsonian Museum of American History