Robe à la française


Not on view

This robe à la française shows the silhouette most associated with eighteenth-century dress. The conical bodice and the rectangular skirts both function as vehicles for the display of the dressmaker's art in that era. Decorating the skirts are self-fabric embellishments and fly fringe trim which suggest an opening curtain. The ribbons on the bodice serve to emphasize its triangular shape as it intersects with the rectangular skirts. This silhouette was made possible through the use of the underpinnings of stays and panniers. Despite or perhaps because of its grandiosity, this silhouette was a subject of satire, as in this verse from a mid-eighteenth-century song: "I cannot compare this new mode of the town,/ To nothing more like, tho' I know they will frown,/ Than to a large hog-tub, that's turned up-side down;/ Large hoop'd petticoats, monstrous petticoats, bouncing hoop'd petticoats, maids."

Robe à la française, silk, French

Due to rights restrictions, this image cannot be enlarged, viewed at full screen, or downloaded.

Open Access

As part of the Met's Open Access policy, you can freely copy, modify and distribute this image, even for commercial purposes.


Public domain data for this object can also be accessed using the Met's Open Access API.