< Fashion < Works

Open Robe and Petticoat (Chiné Robe a la 'Anglaise)

circa 1780-1790

Unknown Maker (, - present)

A robe à la Anglaise displayed a fitted bodice, a décolleté (low cut) neckline, and an attached overskirt. The skirt, then called a petticoat, may or may not have matched the fabric of the dress. Wide skirts were supported by panniers (side hoops) to create the silhouette of this fashionable style.

In the 18th century, Chiné silk was a highly prized commodity imported from China. For centuries, the Chinese guarded their secret of making silk from the fibrous cocoons of tiny silk worms. When a silk cocoon is placed in boiling water, the filament releases and can be wound upon a spool. Each filament can measure between 1,900 and 2,800 feet. One silk thread is made by twisting five to eight filaments together. The thread may then be woven into a fine, soft fabric or used for embroidery work.

silk, silk satin, linen

Museum Purchase: Auxiliary Costume Fund 2003.104a-b

Currently on view at Mint Museum RANDOLPH