Robe à la Française

Date: 1760s

Culture: French

Medium: cotton

Credit Line: Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1964

Accession Number: C.I.64.32.3a, b


An exotic floral pattern alludes to Jean-Baptiste Pillement's chinoiserie designs. The French fabric interprets an Indian export fabric that itself was a copy of what was considered a Chinese pattern. Thus characteristic of the "exotic" sources, Orientalism is never a narrow-gauge or scholastic enterprise in fashion. Rather, it is a fantasy, often a composite and customarily synthesized.