Evening dress


Not on view

Cotton emerged as a fashionable fabric in the 1780s with the chemise à la reine, the cotton shift favored as dress by Marie Antoinette beginning in this turbulent decade. As always, clothing had political and international implications. One of the chief reasons the Lyons silk manufacturers railed against the reductive, modern attire is that their luxurious silks were being abandoned in favor of imported cottons from India. The textile of the robe à l'Anglaise demonstrates its origin in a metallic gold selvage with red weaver's mark.

Evening dress, cotton, metallic thread, French

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Left: 1976.137.1; Right: 1991.204a, b