Court Coat, 1775-89
Martine-Gabrielle-Yoland de Polastron by Elisabeth Louise Vigée-LeBrun
18th Century underpinnings
Musee Galliera 1770-1780
18th Century Silk Back Gowns
1785 The Kyoto Costume Institute
This dress is made from white china silk with polychrome painting in plant motif. "The entire dress is hand-painted with motifs of flowers, butterflies, and birds. During this period in which Chinoiserie was so popular, hand-painted China silk, woven from plain silk, was imported from China, and later reproduced in Europe for its high demand.
Accompanied by the simplification of clothing worn outside of the royal court, during the 1770s, women's clothing progressed in the direction of functionality. As one can see, the dress' pleats are sewn into the waist and stop there; this style is known as "Robe à l'anglaise"." [ref].
Corset belonging to Marie Antoinette
1765-1775, United States, silk, linen, glass,lead
Fashion plate dating 1788 depicting a woman wearing a fashionable mourning gown
1730-40, Silk brocade shoes, England
Though this image came with no other information or source I thought I would look into the term 'Brocade' as I was unfamiliar with it. It refers to "a class of richly decorative shuttle-woven fabrics, often made in colored silks. Brocade is typically woven on a draw loom. It is a supplementary weft technique - the ornamental brocading is produced by a supplementary, non-structural, weft in addition to the standard weft that holds the warp threads together. The purpose of this is to give the appearance that the weave actually was embroidered on" [ref].
1790s embroidered jacket and waistcoat
French Dress and Petticoat, 1775, Silk
French Robe, 1780, Silk, Metropolitan Museum of Art
Dress Detail from Jeanne Antoinette Poisson by François Hubert Drouais
I have featured a lot of details from paintings in this page because it is the photography of the time. Though it can be slightly idealised painting is pretty much the only way we can see how the garments were worn and give us indications of accessories.
Jeanne Antoinette Poisson (aka Madame de Pompadour) "was a member of the French court and was the official chief mistress of Louis XV from 1745 to her death" [ref]. It was often only the upper class who could afford portraiture but this a clear indication of her status. It is also useful to know she was part of the French court, as it applies a place to the garment, as there are regional differences in clothing.
Suit ca. 1790
1723 to 1774
English Dress, 1785
1750-75 European Corset/Stays of silk, cotton, wood baleen
Ingres (1780—1867), Princesse de Broglie detail
"This painting of Joséphine Eléonore Marie Pauline de Galard de Brassacede Béarn, princesse de Broglie, is his last commissioned portrait of a female sitter. A member of the most cultivated circles of the Second Empire, the princess was renowned for her great beauty as well as her reserve, both qualities captured in this portrait. Ingres' facility for brilliantly transcribing the material quality of objects is seen in the rich satin and lace of the sitter's gown, the silk damask upholstery, and the richly embroidered evening scarf draped across the chair. Also rendered in exquisite detail are her sumptuous jewels, which include the fashionable antique-inspired pendant around her neck" [ref].
Elisabeth Vigée-Lebrun, Portrait of Marie-Antoinette, 1778-79
Detail from François Hubert Drouais’ 1757 painting of the French actress Madame Charles Simon Favart
Detail from Portrait of a Lady by Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux (1761 - 1802)
1740-1745, England, Embroidered silk with coloured silk and silver thread
This English Matuana uses embroidered silk with coloured silk and silver thread. The petticoat is made from "seven panels of ivory-ribbed silk. The robings, sleeve cuffs and skirt of the mantua are embroidered in the same design, but were modified to fit their exact proportions.
The shell, the quintessential Rococo motif, constitutes the basis of the embroidery pattern. Leafy scrolls, latticed arcades and tassels are also featured, as well a profusion of realistically rendered flowers, including jasmine, morning glory and honeysuckle, peonies, roses, poppies, anemones, auriculas, hyacinths, carnations, cornflowers, tulips and daffodils. The pattern of the silver shells and scrolls has been arranged symmetrically at the hem, but the layout of the flowers, while balanced, does not match exactly on either side.
The flowers are worked in a variety of coloured silks in satin stitch and french knots. Silver thread delineates the leaves and the non-floral components of the pattern. Some of the scrolls and border elements have a backing of parchment, for solidity and regularity of line. The tassels and bases of the shells have been thickly padded underneath. Varying the height of the padding under the embroidery of the silver leaves gives the surface of the stitching a rippled effect.
The back of the bodice is pleated and stitched double pleats run over the shoulders to form robings. These merge with the skirt as basques, draped up by silver cords attached to silver thread buttons at the back of the waist. The skirt is folded sides to centre. Above-the-elbow length sleeves are medium-wide with deep turn-back cuffs. The petticoat is shaped to take narrow side hoops, five feet at their widest" [ref].
Silk robe à la Piémontaise, 1770s
This dress is made from silk woven with delicate foliate stripes and the bodice has a tabbed front hem. It is trimmed with tufted pink, green and gold fly braid with padded, ruched bands to the front skirt openings. A pleated drape falls desending over the fourreau back and culminates into polonaised skirt drapes. There are two silk covered buttons to the rear waist.
Cape, 1725-1730, Portugal
This cape is made from pink and green silk with silver wire embroidery. It has a large metallic lace embroidered fringe. On the inside, there is a lining of blue silk taffeta and fully pleated satin ribbon application of green silk around the neckline.
Mantua, England, ca.1720, Silver brocaded silk, lined & faced with silk
This English Mantua is owned by the Victoria and Albert Museum. "By the early 18th century, the mantua was worn by women as formal day wear. The pale blue silk of this example is brocaded in silver in a large-scale pattern of fantastic fruits and leaves, a typical design for the 1720s. The train of the gown is folded up and the sides held back with a loop and button. This complicated draping required a reversal of the silk when sewn together, so that only the right side of the fabric would show when properly arranged.
The dress has double robings moving straight from back pleats and sleeves with turned back cuffs. There is a wound, silver button at the centre back hip. One silver cord loop remains on the right, but is detached and missing on the left. The could attach at hip level; two possible levels of attachment are visible.
The sleeves are lined with white silk and the bodice is half lined with the same silk. The centre back pleats are held by transverse bands of the brocaded silk. The fronts are faced in pink silk. There are two very large, round, heavy lead weights in each sleeve; one is covered in white silk and one with pink silk which matches the front facing" [ref].
Portrait of a Lady by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun
ca. 1790s, cotton
[Detail] Mantua in silk with gold embroidery, ca. 1700
Design for woven silk, by Anna Maria Garthwaite (1690-1763). Spitalfields, London
Anna Maria Garthwaite textile design, 1732, Spitalfields, England.
Anna Maria Garthwaite "was an English textile designer known for creating vivid floral designs for silk fabrics. Her work is closely associated with the mid-18th century fashion for flowered woven silks in the Roccoco style, with its new emphasis on asymmetrical structures and sinuous C- and S-curves. She adapted the points rentrés technique developed by the French silk designer Jean Revel in the 1730s for representing near-three-dimensional floral patterns through careful shading and designed large-scale damasks as well as floral brocades. From 1742–43, Garthwaite's work diverged from French styles, favouring clusters of smaller naturalistic flowers in bright colours scattered across a (usually) pale ground. The taste for vividly realistic florals reflects the advances inbotanical illustration in Britain at this time, and can be contrasted with French silks of the period which show stylised flowers and more harmonious—if unrealistic—colourations" [ref].