Round gown

Date: ca. 1795

Culture: Italian

Medium: silk, linen

Credit Line: Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1979

Accession Number: 1979.20a–e, g


By the 1790s, the structure of clothing was undergoing dramatic change. This afternoon dress in the form of a round gown steadfastly keeps up appearances and can pass for eighteenth-century opulence, especially in its colors and textile richness. But the high-waisted dress, spencer, corset, and separate sleeves constitute a new anatomy, one that anticipates the century to come. This shape would be renewed in the 1880s and 1890s, as one fin de siècle recapitulated the preceeding fin de siècle.