Favorite decades: 1910's, 1800's, 1870's
Favorite artists: Anthony van Dyck, Giovanni Boldini, Henry Fuseli, Thomas Lawrence
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Robe, ca 1797 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
Cashmere shawls were prized imports from India during the late 18th century. British manufacturers soon began making shawls in similar styles. Not only were they worn with the newly fashionable Neo-classical gowns, the shawls were also made into gowns. In this example of the late 1790s, the shawl was cut in half and then sewn together to form the front and back of the gown. Sleeves of cream satin and a collar and over-sleeves of green silk fabric were then added. The waistline is very high, sitting just below the bust line.
Robe, 1795-1800 England, the Victoria & Albert Museum
The cotton weaving and printing industries in Britain expanded greatly during the period 1775-1800. Cotton was a very popular fabric for clothing, from sheer muslins to heavy corduroys. It was part of the wardrobe of all classes. This printed cotton gown of the late 1790s could have been the Sunday best of a working-class woman or the informal morning gown of a wealthy lady. The very high waist and long sleeves are the typical fashion of this period.
Dress, 1795-98 Europe, Musée de la Mode de la Ville de Paris