Robe à l'anglaise, 1784–87
White muslin with hammered silver foliate diaper–patterned and red silk thread embroidery
Isabel Shults Fund, 1991 (1991.204a,b)
Cotton emerged as a fashionable fabric in the 1780s with the chemise à la reine, the cotton shift favored by Marie Antoinette beginning in this turbulent decade. As always, clothing had political and international implications. One of the chief reasons the Lyon silk manufacturers railed against the reductive modern attire is that their luxurious silks were being abandoned in favor of imported cottons from India, confirmed in the costume on the right by a weaver's mark in the selvage.