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.
Measurements: center back length: 69 inches circumference: 96 inchesMuseum Purchase: Auxiliary Costume Fund 2003.58A-B
Currently on view at Mint Museum RANDOLPH