Robes A La Francaise

Robe a la francaise ca. 1770-79, from the Victoria & Albert Museum

One of my favourite styles of dress is the Robe A La Francaise, which was very popular during the 18th century. Here’s how the Met Museum describes it:

The robe à la française was derived from the loose negligee sacque dress of the earlier part of the century, which was pleated from the shoulders at the front at the back. The silhouette, composed of a funnel-shaped bust feeding into wide rectangular skirts, was inspired by Spanish designs of the previous century and allowed for expansive amounts of textiles with delicate Rococo curvilinear decoration. The wide skirts, which were often open at the front to expose a highly decorated underskirt, were supported by panniers created from padding and hoops of different materials such as cane, baleen or metal. The robes à la française are renowned for the beauty of their textiles, the cut of the back employing box pleats and skirt decorations, known as robings, which showed endless imagination and variety.

These dresses are quite cumbersome and uncomfortable to wear, but I love how feminine and flattering they look on everyone. Here are a few examples:

 Robe a la francaise ca. 1770’s-80’s, from the Arizona Costume Institute

English Robe a la francaise ca. 1765, from Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Robe a la francaise 1740, from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wedding robe a la francaise ca. 1760’s, from the Digitalt Museum

Robe a la francaise ca. 1770, from the Nordiska Museet

Robe a la francaise, 1770-80, from the Mint Museum

Robe à la française, 1750-1775

Robe a la Francaise, 1750–75

Robe à la Française, France or England ca. 1760-1765, from Los Angeles County Museum of Art

Do you like the robes a la francaise? Have you ever worn one? I haven’t yet, but I’d really love to! One day, maybe!

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