Dress, silk, French

Dress

Date:
1778–80
Culture:
French
Medium:
silk
Credit Line:
Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 1960
Accession Number:
C.I.60.40.3
Not on view
More surviving eighteenth-century costumes have been altered several times. Ladies updated their dresses, then passed them on to relatives or servants, who made further changes to adjust the size. There was also a thriving second-hand clothes market. This winged polonaise is so small that it must have been worn by a girl of no more than fourteen. The dress’s small size and the radical fashion change in the last decade of the eighteenth century helped to preserve it from alterations or subsequent wear for fancy dress.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Vanity Fair: A Treasure Trove from the Costume Institute," December 15, 1977–September 3, 1978.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "The Eighteenth-Century Woman," January 1, 1981–January 2, 1982.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Dangerous Liaisons: Fashion and Furniture in the 18th century," April 27, 2004–September 6, 2004.