Woman’s gown (Robe à la française)


France, c. 1740 and c. 1775

Cotton, silk, linen

H. 155.5 cm

Acquired with the Williams Costume Collection in 1996. Digital print of the fabric (petticoat) realized with the support of the Bauer'sche Barockstiftung, Munich

Inv. No. 96/69

Gallery 87

Fashion and Accessories, Textiles

Baroque and Rococo


This loosely-falling dress was tailored around 1740 and was later refashioned into a robe à la française with a fitted top around 1775. What makes this gown special is the use of this colourful chintz, known as 'Indiennes'. Though officially forbidden to be imported to France until 1759, the luxurious fabrics with exotic designs nevertheless were all the rage at the time. The exceptionally high-quality fabric used here was elaborately hand-painted in 18 different colours. A gown like this required approximately 15 metres of fabric, which exemplifies how expensive a garment like this must have been.

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