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Woman's Dress (Robe à l'anglaise) with Zone Front

Artist/maker unknown, American?

Made in United States, North and Central America

c. 1785-1793

Indian export fine cotton plain weave with silver foil embroidery in stem and satin stitches; silk satin; sized fine cotton plain weave

Center back length: 61 inches (154.9 cm) Waist: 22 inches (55.9 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Costume and Textiles

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Gift of Thomas Francis Cadwalader, 1955

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18th century [x]   18th century fashion [x]   18th century gown [x]   18th century women's clothing [x]   fashion [x]  

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This dress beautifully illustrates the relaxation of fashion between the American and French revolutions. With wide hoops now reserved for formal occasions, hips were still padded but the silhouette was bouncier and new emphasis was placed on the bosom. To accentuate this shape, dresses with tight-fitting backs, called robes à l'anglaise, were preferred; often made of lightweight cotton, these could be delicately embroidered, as in this open-skirted, trained robe. On the front bodice, satin forms an inverted stomacher called a "zone." Long, tight, shaped sleeves reflect the latest style; the short oversleeves were seen as an exotic reference to the East.