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Robe a la Francaise

circa 1770-1780, circa 1760-1770s

(, - present)

By the 1770s, a robe à la Française, or sack-back gown, was a more formal form of dress for women. The fashionable silhouette created by the pleated fabric at the back neckline flowed to the hem and ended in a slight train. A separate petticoat and stomacher (the triangular shape that fills the opening of a gown) would complete this fashion. The sleeves terminated with a ruffle beneath were engageantes, or false ruffled cuffs.

The ground color of this dress is puce; the word is French and refers a shade of red-brown that resembles the underbelly of a common flea. King Louis XVI is credited with naming this color as he humorously used the term when referring to a gown worn by Queen Marie Antoinette.

silk brocade

Measurements:    center back length: 69 inches    circumference: 96 inches

Museum Purchase: Auxiliary Costume Fund 2003.58A-B

Currently on view at Mint Museum RANDOLPH