Robe à la Française
Length at CB (a): 70 1/2 in. (179.1 cm)
Length (b): 40 in. (101.6 cm)
Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1961
Not on view
Gowns in the eighteenth century were supported by rounded side hoops of different extension and depth. A wider dress would have been narrower in profile. In the instance of a gown of less width, the depth of the hoops and the robe à la française construction would have consumed as much fabric as the planar version. In both instances, a woman so garbed had to pass sideways through a doorway. This gown has an ingenious drawstring arrangement at the sides that adjusts either to fit over a small pannier, or, when fully released, to accommodate one about four feet across, creating the illusion of a tiny waist.
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