Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Hip in the Ancien Regime

French Dress

French Dress

French Dress (Robe à la Française), ca. 1765. Pale blue silk satin with hammered silver floral brocade and silver bobbin lace trim. The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Purchase, Irene Lewisohn Bequest, 2001 (2001.472a, b).

This court gown is said to have come from descendants of one of Queen Marie Antoinette’s Austrian ladies-in-waiting. As with most gowns of this type, there is a hidden economy in its construction. The petticoat, or underskirt, appears to be constructed of the rich brocade seen on the bodice and overskirt. However, a wide yoke of blue chintz is inserted to the upper sides and back of the petticoat and restricts the costly brocade to the areas where it is visible.

Costume historians have seen the lavish plenitude of handwoven silks consumed in the design of such gowns to be an explicit pronouncement of wealth and status. In addition, the nature of the gown’s construction, its tightly fitted and corseted bodice, and the wide expanse of its skirt dictated the privileged woman’s movements and imposed a number of challenges. The management of an eighteenth-century gown in as simple an act as sitting down “could highlight a person’s physical grace,” according to the historian Mimi Hellman, but it could also “expose the imperfections of the ungainly body.” From this perspective, the gown was not only a pronouncement of elite membership; it was also an instrument that tested a woman’s worthiness for society through the graceful choreography and negotiation of her dressed body.

Comments (124)

  1. Barbara Says:

    i just dont think that anyone would like this dress!!! its so awkward and the hips look terrible! The satin is beautiful and the gold outlining the fabric is wonderful, but the style completely destroys the beauty. The style back then was peculiar… but i dont it would “highglight” a persons grace; rather it would emphasize the inpuritiies of the figure and the stutters in their walk.. Over all an interersting dress but……. not for wear

  2. Laurie Aron Says:

    The wide (unintentional pun) use of silk in court dressing was a reflection of the intense economic support the court gave to French luxury industries. They imported a “homegrown” silk weaving industry, and developed all kinds of other luxe trades. These dresses were billboards for foreign courts, who early on, followed the French in all things civilized, as well as a customer base. We can still see the effect of the development of the French luxury business today, even though other countries keep trying to horn in.

    But as for graceful movement. I can see how this style of dress would have tested the wearer’s grace to its limits, but I think that certainly after (if not before?) grace was a sign of class even through the 19th C.

    Another note. These elaborate dresses restricted women in yet another way. You couldn’t get them on and off without a maid or two, what with the corsets and all the fastenings. And it wasn’t fashionable to be late to dinner and parties yet!

  3. c willow Says:

    saw this in Liason dangerous and LOVED IT, but it looks very out of place in the costume institute supposed 2 the french room.

  4. Anika Says:

    I loved the idea that being able to negotiate the dress elegantly was a part of its display - I had never thought of it that way. It got me thinking about whether there’s an equivalent today, and the best I can think of is high heels - you could make the argument that to wear high stilettos is to show that you want to be perceived as powerful and sexy. But, you can only claim the traits if you can walk effortlessly in them, showing that it’s you who control the implications of the shoe.

  5. Danielle Says:

    Looking at this dress transports you to the scene that would surround it and makes me wonder about the girl who wore it. It is interesting how beauty was based not on how the girl looked in the dress but actually how she wore it and moved with it on.

  6. Vera Says:

    This is piece of art as a costume.

  7. Anne Says:

    I’m amazed because I have just discovered this blog. Now, I shoud go to the exhibition! That’s fabulous. Congratulations for this blog!

  8. Paulina Says:

    This Marie Antoinette ladies in waiting dress is a pice of art. The fine details are beautiful and amazing. It is hard for me to imagine someone wearing this dress and sitting and talking in it. The pattern and the design of this dress is something that will shurly stand in the test of time!

  9. Julia Says:

    I do not like this dress because i think that it has very depressing colors.

  10. jacqueline Says:

    I’m very proud to be french and to notice the important influence of french designers and I’d like to wear these dresses…Thanks to the MET and I love NYC. I like the dream>

  11. jacqueline Says:

    Thaks you for this exhibit and I am very proud to be french and I notice the presence of Gaultier. I love these dresses and I dream to wear .

  12. Lori Ettlinger Gross Says:

    I find this example most fascinating, because as a statement of its period, it clearly illustrates the stringent–and rather extraordinary–expectations court society imposed upon women. Anyone negotiating the girth of this frock must have had the grace, balance and strength of a dancer in order present herself in a manner becoming to such company. Many hours of practice must have been sacrificed before one was permitted to exhibit her social skills while wearing such a garment.

    While clothing widths have changed drastically over the centuries, how much has fashion really evolved in theory? The slender models designers place on their runways are selected for how well the clothes hang on them. There has been, of late, much written about the sacrifices these women make in order to be presentable on the catwalk. Unfortunately, beauty in fashion is not judged in the same way nature, in all its lovely shapes and sizes, expresses itself. The artificial manipulation of the body or the silhouette of a dress remains an idealized notion–and at times, one that is quite onerous on its intended audience.

  13. jacqueline Says:

    The classics are just that-classic.

  14. Kendra Says:

    I am entertained by how many comments on this exhibition are evaluating the clothing only in terms of their own modern aesthetic. Different time periods have different aesthetics, both in terms of silhouette but also fabric, trim, color, etc. In the 1970s, bell bottoms and orange looked FABULOUS - now we shudder when we see it. I’d love to see more of an attempt to evaluate these items based on their own merits.

  15. Dahnae Says:

    This dress is simply gorgeous! I find it curious though how many of these comments berate the wearability of this style of clothing. As a serious historically accurate costumer, I have been corseted into clothing and stays of this era and have had no difficulty in movement. In all actuality, stays provide wonderful back support. The cut of the clothing does limit movement to a small degree for the upper classes especially, however, since they were not meant to be worn while laboring on a farm, it would not have mattered. For lower classes, there were working stays and looser clothing that was far less restricting.

  16. Jennifer Says:

    A great representation of classical French dresses.
    All I wonder is, how did they fit through doorways?

  17. Kai-Anne Pepper Says:

    When I perform in drag, this is the style of dress that I will wear. My drag persona will be “Kai-Anne Pepper,” and she will do songs like “Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves” and “Fancy.”

  18. Isa Says:

    We think that this dress is gorgeous and our French teacher would love it! It’s so very beautiful and is reminiscent of Kirsten Dunst’s costumes in Marie Antoinette. Sophia Coppola is a genius. Happy birthday to me, I want to wear this dress on my birthday!

    Isa and Remi

  19. Cat Says:

    Old fashion French dresses have a class that no other style can bring. The old French design is of my favorites.

  20. Maggie Says:

    This dress seems meant to show its wearer’s status and wealth more than any originality or grace in its design.

  21. Robyn Says:

    You don’t wear this dress,it wears YOU! Truly Awesome example of what the wore around that time..

  22. Lily Monir Matini, Esq. Says:

    love the color and detail
    like something straight out of Amadeus

  23. fj Says:

    truly a religious experience!

  24. Mary Says:

    I think dress is absolutely stunning and I would have loved to wear, had i lived in 18th century France…NYC MET did an amazing job on this exhibit!

  25. Elisha Says:


    I would love to wear a dress like this…
    The dress is a piece of art and you wear it as such-nowadays fashion tends to be more about how you can best show off your body rather than focussing on what you are actually putting onto it.
    A dress like this makes you conscious of your movement and posture at all times, practically forcing one to move gracefully. No chance of a cheeky upskirt (a la Paris or Britney or Lindsay Lohan) in one of these!!!

  26. George diggle Says:


  27. Sascha M. Says:

    Great dress, amazing art and a form which would exactly fit me….

  28. Sarah Says:

    it will fit me very nice

  29. Claire Says:

    eeeew this is sooooooo gross and ugly. who in thier right mind would wear this???

  30. Miley Cyrus Says:

    Heyyy i really lke this peice. Anyone can pull it off ANYWHERE!!
    -miley cyrus

  31. Dima Lutsker Says:

    Stunning…. I wish women would still dress like this today.

  32. Emily Rust Says:

    I like this dress. I think it would suit me. I would look very nice in it, shopping at Asda.

  33. lily Says:

    Fit for a ball, and a princess too.A llittle too big from the hips down.

  34. prork Says:

    i think this place is very cool i want to come back some time i think it is soo nice to learn about what they were

  35. Skyler Says:

    omg….i would loved to have been alive back then to be able to wear these great clothes the style is fascinating and amazing!!!!

  36. Steven Baron Says:

    Im not the type for these puffy dresses, but i just adore the silver color with the line!!! OOOOO its to die for!!!

  37. KATIE Says:

    I love this dress, because if I could wear I would feel pretty
    Katie (age 3)

  38. Geraldine. R Says:

    .This dress is so beautiful… it takes you to the 17th century, when many woman wore this type of garment. Also, the L’air du temps is very gorgeous from the 19th century. These two garments may have some similarities and differences between them. This dress the Hip in the Ancien Regime, is a big dress almost like the L’air du temps. Even though their fabrics are not similar, the silhouette is also something these two garments have in difference that sets them apart from being from different centuries, the fullness of these garments may be similar. The waist is also something that these two garments dont have the same way. This dress has its’ waist line on point while L’air du temps has it slightly higher. Is great to look how fashion has changed thru out the years and how amazing these garments can be or already are.

  39. Davonna Downie Says:

    I like this dress because it was made to enhance the figure of a female and it was also the proper attire for women in this time period. The garment determined a woman’s status in society. women wore these garments to show their class and their curves.

  40. Lynnette V. Says:

    i love the silhouette of this dress and all of it’s components. i love the fact that it was made with silk satin. i hate the fact that all of these garments were so beautifully constructed for such a small price. i wish i could own one of these dresses. imagine what a dress like this would cost today? it makes me want to make a hand made gown so bad with embroidery and lace and all the trimmings possible. the sky’s my limit.

  41. caroline elizabeth Says:

    it kinda looks like something queen elizabeth would wear, and me personallly am a huge fan of her hence i am named after her.

  42. Jeweler Says:

    Words cannot express what I am feeling at this moment. I am awed by the craftsmanship. I am somewhat envious that I will never have the privilege of wearing such a beautifully detailed, exquisite garment. Pieces like these remind me why we have haute couture in the first place; our modern runway couture garments are a descendant of the garments made by the couture houses that dressed the Sun King’s court. (Well, you could count the English as well, but although the stitching was impeccable it lacked the blatant femininity and use of color of the French styles. To be stylish is to dress as the French court did.) Suddenly I feel so woefully underdressed.

  43. anna Says:

    Very elegant

  44. LCCG Says:

    This is simple. The is a dress make for women that has nothing to do.

  45. Andrea Says:

    These are such outrageous dresses! I loved the polka dot boots! Some of the designs were a bit far-fetched but these designers really thought outside the box.

  46. Miley101 Says:

    Can you believe someone wore this 100s of years ago? Maybe they wore it right this minute! Who knows!!!!! Does the met know who wore this? Did the woman keep a journal or something? (:

  47. Jyahida Veras Says:

    I love the french dress!!!!!! I would like to have my wedding dress design similar to that dress. I love the floral pattern and decrotive strips they have going along the front. I also chose the chinese garden hat that women wore back in the day with sculptured hairstyles. The painting that resembles the garments clearly is a painting from Vincent Van Gogh, Dutch 1853-1890, Olive Orchard. The blue skies in the painting looks like the base color of the dress described above also, the way the trees sits up in painting looks like the cork headdress.

  48. Regina Says:

    This piece was my favorite in the whole exhibit I thought it was stunning. I really enjoy fashion from 1700’s and that era that surrounds it. I thought that there was a lot of detail in this dress and in the fabric. I loved the shape of this dress, it was constructed so well. If I lived in this time period I would have loved to wear a garment as beautiful as this!

  49. Sarah Stannard Says:

    When this piece was seen in person, I was mostly amazed by it’s detail. There was another french dress almost idential but a differetn color, and that was beautiful as well. I love the solid shape, it looked as if Balenciaga had gotten some inspiration from this towards his present line from the shape to the fabric detail. I can’t beliebe women wore this with such a solid shape!

  50. Christina Sfiroudis Says:

    This dress comes right out of the Elizabethan period! How wonderful to see it in person and not just on a television or movie screen. I would love to wear such an exquisitely designed dress however awkward I may feel in it. It’s a throwback in history. Thank you The Metropolitan Museum of Art for showcasing such a wonderful piece of work.

  51. Bonnie Says:

    This gown is an excellent form of birth control.

  52. Katie F. Says:

    I chose the teal and gold Robe a’ la Francaise from 1765a pale blue silk satin dress with hammered silver floral brocade and silver bobblin lace trim and another peach Robe a’ la Francaise dress from 1775 that was pink ribbed silk with white linear silk vine motif and multicolored silk floral brocade with embroided trim and scalloped fly frunged trim. These two dresses are very similar to one another. They were both Robe a’ la Francaise and they both had brocaded fabric. The teal and gold dress had rich brocade seen on the bodice and overskirt. this dress had a very tight fitted corseted bodice. The width of the skirt had dictated the priviledge womans movements. This dress looked very complicated and uncomfortable.It was a challenge to wear this dress because you were unable to do certain activities and personal things while wearing this dress because of the width. The Peach dress from 1775 had exceptional brilliance.the brocaded fabric had been woven with an accompanying embroidery. The button closing front of the bodice is a development of the last half of the eighteenth century. This dress also looks very complicated I dont think that this dress would ever come back into style. Both dresses had beautiful details and had rich fabrics but they were very elegant ball room type dresses which people barely wear today. The silhouette of both dresses were bell shaped and gave the women a more fuller figure. These two dresses have a relationship to the two works of art, one by John Singer Sargent in the mid 1870’s and one byAlexandre Cabanel in the mid 1800’s. Both paintings or works of art show the same silhoutte of the Robe a’ la Francaise dresses. They didnt really have the same bell shape but the dresses were still full but they were more full in the back. The dresses in both paintings were also very elegant and classy. The paintngs and the grments show both elegance and royalty. Neither one of the dress is something that women would wear in todays time. They are much to full and way too many layers

  53. jen Says:

    To have lived in a time when these were ‘party’ dresses would have been amazing, if incredibly uncomfortable. I wonder if sitting down were such a problem what shoes were worn underneath to ease the pressure of standing for long periods and the weight of the dress. Gorgeous!

  54. S.S. Says:

    I am studying fashions from this era and I find that this one is particularly beautiful. I was amazed at how much work had to be put into making this dress and all the pieces of cloth that were used is incredible. I would have loved to be able to wear this dress and spin around in a waltz in some beautiful ballroom, but I guess I better keep dreaming. This is a fabulous work of art!

  55. Kristin Says:

    This dress dress stood out the most in the exhibit because of its silhouette. Women try to find a dress to minimize the look of their hips, while this dress accentuates the hip area. To me, this Antoinette-style dress looks very costume as opposed to the others featured in the MET.

  56. Amy M Says:

    This dress is said to have come from descendants of one of Queen Marie Antoinette’s Austrian ladies-in-waiting, which i think is absolutely amazing that we still have it, and it is is in such good condition still. For me, it is amazing seeing a dress related to such a huge person fromt the past. Also this dress is very impressive for the way that it is made. Everything about this dress looks sophiscated, rich, and elegant. I love all the gold trimmings and details on it. Also i found it very interesting about how they said that not only the wearing of the dress showed that you were part of higher society, but also the ability to move or do simple activities. Looking at the dress it is easy to see that it would be hard to move, walk or even just sit down. I think the top section of the dress would look nice and really accent the women figure.

  57. Brittany Says:

    I love this dress, it just transports me back in time. It is said that this dress comes from the descendants of Queen Marie Antoinette’s ladies-in-waiting. It is fantastic knowing that a dress can be preserved from so long ago.

  58. Julie Ellul Says:

    What I enjoyed most about this dress is the history of the piece and what it stood for when worn in society.

    This dress is representative of an era and people. Carefully looking at the dress, one is able to see some of the importance of the garment of those days. From the colors chosen, trims, adorments, and fabrics. Also, it appears to be anything but simple to say the least.

    To add even more to this intricate piece, is what it meant to where it. Not only was a fashion statement being made, but it said much more about the woman wearing it. If the woman could wear it gracefully, you know breathing, sitting, ect. all the normal things you should be able to, then it was deemed that the woman was worthy of her noble title.

    And women think it is tough now, I would have been a mess. I am glad to view this dress and not have to utter disdain for it.

  59. Beth Says:

    This dress was one of my favorites in the collection. I think it is extremely important to study fashion from the past both to understand where we came from and to help decide where design should go. This was the first time I have seen such an old dress in person and I was amazed. There was so much detail and with the lack of technology that we have today it must have taken a tremendous amount of time to construct. With so many mass produced garments today it was interesting to stop and think about how unique clothing used to be and how much effort was put into the construction of each garment.

  60. Crystal Leasher Says:

    It is amazing to me that they were capable of constructing a garment as elaborate and detailed as this in the 1700’s. I can not even begin to imagine the amount of time that was spent on completing the assembly with such intricate detail and layering. It is hard to believe that a garment such as this was at one point in time some women’s everyday attire.

  61. m. rea Says:

    great exibition. kudos

  62. pwinship Says:

    I’ve worn 18th century clothing, and it’s not especially restrictive, or difficult to move in.

    I would be curious to know if there’s an internal arrangement in this gown for raising the train off the ground. Most 18th century gowns that drag tend to have them!

  63. Amandine Says:

    Someone asked the question of how anyone wearing this gown could navigate doors…very simply: french doors! Its very interesting to see the interior design and architecture that match with fashion, one often meets the needs created by the other. Very directly related! The Met did an exhibit like this a at one point, placing the appropriate gown in its corresponding room. It gives you a whole new perspective to see how the whole picture comes together. Also, speaking to comfort…if it was all you had ever known, and if you had been corseted as a young girl, then this was comfortable and wearable. Young boys at this time even wore gowns until a certain age! To them, we would seem amazingly immodest!

  64. kenscott Says:

    bigger is better and this dress is bigger than the the rest and better also.

  65. Kitty Says:

    I love this dress because it is so unsual and plus, it came from one of Marie-antoinette’s lady in waiting! How cool! I also love the blue silk damask!

  66. Devon Says:

    Although the bobbin lace is mentioned, the dress is displayed in such a way that it is virtually impossible to appreciate its beauty. Garments with such rare and fine decoration might be best displayed to the front of the case, or with a magnifier in front of the lace. I had already viewed the piece from home and the photo does not show the lace very well, a zoom feature would be helpful. I was quite disappointed when the display offered only a slightly better view.

  67. Stephanie Says:

    This dress is so big it’s amazing how women wanted to wear it. It does not really flatter the woman, but the silk and gold lining is very beautiful!

  68. Roma-Jade Says:

    This dress is overwhelming to look at. I can only imagine how long something like this would take to sew together. The intricate details leave me in awe. When considering the lack of technology they had in this period it also makes me appreciate what we have to our disposal in this day and age. Truly, this piece is incredible.

  69. Jennie Says:

    I was immediately was stunned by the beauty and details of this dress. I love the blue color and can only imagine who might have worn this back then. Oh how women were resticted in the styles of the era, but at the same time were able to display such a magnificent piece of art!

  70. Matt Says:

    This dress triggered the same question as the nanny I saw carrying a mother and father’s child yesterday through the MET: why?

  71. Vorachon Shawn Roongsri Says:

    As a high school fashion student aspiring to be a fashion designer with an already completed fashion show. I recently just graduated from a non-profit organization on production and would like to intern with the Costume Institute one day. This particular gown is fabolous and gvery Marie Antoinette(ish) it’s a remarkable statement of exaggerated fabrics such as a John Galliano would do or a Jean Paul Gaultier. This institute in general is divine.

    Please check out my portfolio on the internet! Thank, au revior!

  72. Jenna Says:

    this dress is so cute.
    if i lived back then i would definitely wear it!!!!!

  73. Isabel Says:

    I like the colors, but it’s a bit over the top. Then again, fashion was like that back then.

  74. Ewa Wojciechowska Says:

    This dress has such beutiful colors and designs, although it is such a shame that the style is so repulsive. The only way I would ever wear this dress is if I would go to some costume party.

  75. Tyler Says:

    I know that most people think that this dress is “hideous” and “unwearable” to quote some people who have commented. It is not supposed to be wearable. This french dress was very flattering to the woman’s hips, and mostly the woman who wore these were very powerful woman and normally when something takes up a lot of space, it denotes power, and personally that is what I believe the point of these dresses were.

  76. cammy Says:


  77. Claire Says:

    This complex confection of apparel reminds us that grace of movement is an essential in fashion if the wearer is to do justice to the outfit and vice versa. What your phys ed teacher said is still true: “Stand up straight and suck in your tummy!” So many of us forget that the lines of the wearer are as important as those of the outfit.

  78. Becky Says:

    This is an absolutely gorgeous dress. While i cant imagine actually wearing it to perform daily tasks, it would be amazing to have as a novelty. The stiching and intricate details are positively phenomenal, and the addition of such a dress really adds to the overall experience of this exhibit.

    Wish i could have one to play dress up in :-)

  79. Mollie Says:

    Once a princess, always a princess, I say! This Marie Antoinette lady-in-waiting dress is gorgeously crafted to perfection. As an aspiring designer myself, I took a full ten minutes to look at just this dress. I am amazed by the craftsmanship: no one takes the time to make any clothes this beautiful anymore. It’s so disappointing!
    I often wondered if the people of this time were aware of the beauty they held in their hands. I have to say, now that I’ve seen something out of books, in real life, and understood where it came from, that yes, they knew. And boy, did they make sure others did, too.
    Never again will I doubt the meaning of a true princess.
    The blue cloth is a stunning sheen, and the silver embroidery seems to sparkle, as if to show off in the golden-yellow light of the showcase. The swelling hip bust and delicate sleeves add an air of refinement to an in-your-face-with-wealth piece. The ruffles are a nice addition, too.
    I could go on and on forever, but the men waiting for me so that they can leave would be less understanding.
    Time to take up the sewing needle!

  80. Gen Says:

    The girl from Pirates of the Caribean fainted wearing a dress like this one!!!!

  81. KOPCHAN Says:


  82. looloo Says:

    how do people get through the door?

  83. Layla Says:

    I think this dress is awsome ! If people made it to purchase I would buy a trillion, because they are just so amazingly beautiful! I have a question that has not been answered so How do the people ( who wear the dress) go through the door i mean do they turn their body aned move ?????????? I think this dress should come back in STYLE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I <3 this dress

  84. sophia Says:

    well i think ive found my next prom dress

  85. Theodore Feldman Says:

    I definitley agree with “Gen” from Febuary 20, 2008 at 4:30pm when she thought it looked like that woman from Pirates of the Caribbean.

  86. Britney Says:

    I want that.

  87. anjuli Says:

    i think this is a great dress and it is so finely made

  88. Rosie Says:

    Can I wear this to my prom, please? haha

    So beautiful!

  89. Carolyn Says:

    Ahhh, I loved the Dangerous Liasons exhibit! This is my favourite period in the history of dress - I’m even doing my master’s on it!

    A few thoughts went through my head while reading other’s posts

    It seems to me rather telling of our times and society that so many are referring to this gown as looking like something out of a period movie, as if the movie predated the gown. When in fact, the gown predates the movies by a wide margin of 250 yrs or so. So really, should we not say the movies look like the gown? What does it say that most people view the original through the filter of the imitation?

    I also have to chuckle a little at those who comment on the craftsmanship of this period. The craftsmanship was remarkable, but upon closer inspection, perhaps not so much in the way we tend to think nowadays. They were very clever then - fabric was exponentially costlier than labour, so hours would be devoted to piecing scraps of precious material together in partially concealed areas such as under the arms. If you were able to get right up and examine this garment, my guess is you would find some strange looking seam lines around about, but they would be pretty subtle. As for the interiors of the garments…well that’s another story altogether. You might be rather surprised. Quotes from readings I have done use the terms “thrown together”, “roughly constructed” and “unskilled”. While I think this is a little ungenerous, having just returned from a trip to London’s Victoria and Albert museum where I had appointments inside their collection storage facility to examine various garments from this period ‘up close and personal’…well….they certainly had a different view towards what ‘finishing’ meant than we have today. This attitude towards construction actually persisted well into the 20th century.

    Of course, since I’m planning to reproduce an entire elite woman’s wardrobe c.1750-1775 next year, knowing that, for true representative accuracy’s sake, I should not get too fussed about construction and focus on finishing as quickly as possible (their contemporary priority after conserving materials) gives me hope that I may not entirely lose my mind after all! lol.

  90. Topsy Says:

    Beautiful!!! Definitely my favorite in the show for it’s detailed elegance and extravagant shape.

  91. Hilary Says:

    This dress truly shows how clothing is a form of art. I recently visited this exhibit in the museum and was staring in rapture at this garment for five minutes straight. The workmanship is exquisite, and so is the condition. Imagine, a lady in waiting of Marie Antoinette once slipped this on. It’s easy to picture her gliding through the halls of a grand palace in this piece of art. Anyone who says this dress is ugly has not looked at it for what it really is. Perhaps as a piece of clothing you would not wear it (although I myself should have been born in another time period–I adore this!), but you must look at the beautiful silk and think of someone laboring over it for hours. How clever and creative the seamstress(es) who wrought this gown must have been! This dress is hands down my favorite piece in the exhibit!

    -A high school freshman from Connecticut

  92. Trudy Yip Says:

    this is a dress made for a real woman.

  93. Natalie-Marie Says:

    I love this dress! If I could run around (effectivly) in one of these beauties I sooooo would! Every once in a while I wish we would go back to more elaborate styles, but then again, I am very happy in my jeans too…….

    How could you not feel regal in this??? Awesome.

  94. Edward E Says:

    This is my absolute favorite period of fashion history. This is clear example of how the times affect the fashion (or vice versa?). As these gowns became more elaborate the more upheaval there was in the country until it all climaxes some 30 years later and almost overnight the panniers dissapear and the Empire era begins.

  95. KDowney Says:

    This dress is amazing! The exquiste detail on the dress is perfection and the gown itself is quite elegant. I wish I was born during this period of time in France to be able to wear something similar to this. This gown is at the peak of confidence and etiquette in my personal opinion! <3

  96. rebecca Says:

    When I saw this dress I almost fainted. Boyish and smart the dress symbolizes empowering women and fasion itself. Only a true woman could wear it and still look elagant so it is a tribute to the pre revolution French and all women.

  97. Anne Says:

    My mom and I pretended that this dress was in Banana Republic last spring.

  98. Grace Franceska Elizabeth Kang Says:

    how do you fit through the door?

  99. Roberta Says:

    This is one of the most beautiful dresses from the pre-French Revolution Era I have ever seen. It is wonderous how well it was kept in tact! The embroidery and brocade are details that make this piece pop.

  100. amadou Says:

    I think this is reallly beautiful!!!!!!!

  101. sophie Says:

    its so beautiful

  102. annie Says:

    OMG! That looks horrible for any occasion! It was never in style and it never will be!

  103. debeirao Says:


  104. Izzi Says:

    I feel sorry for the next person to wear this.

  105. Carly Says:

    I LOVE THESE DRESSES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  106. Amanda Roberts Says:

    this dress (as christian, the winner of project runway would say) is FIERCE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!:)

  107. Karja Says:

    This dress was magnificent…the details on the dress accentuated the beautiful color. The dress can be redesigned to fit modern fashion while still keeping its alluring elements-minus the wide hips of course. Still, absolutely gorgeous.

  108. Diane Says:

    This will Iy”h be my next Purim dress!!!! Woo Hoo!!

  109. Sara Says:

    my next Purim costume Gd willing!! love it! :) my husband will wear the velvet red coat !

  110. Kris Says:

    I feel privileged to see it. So utterly beautiful - It brings tears to my eyes

  111. Monica Spence Says:

    A wonderful show! Howeber, no matter how modern designers try to compete, the garments of the early 20th Century and earlier, put them to shame!
    The 18th and 19th Century garments are exquisite.

  112. sara Says:

    awesome to see how peopled dressed.

  113. Gabi Says:

    I think this dress is so fierce and if I were living in this time period I would most definitely want to strut my stuff in it. It seems so elegant…but a tad uncomfortable. But who cares, it’s fashionable! It makes me want to throw a fabulous party!

  114. Ruthy Says:

    j’aime this dress*(havn’t learned what dress is in french yet)*

    it is fun to wear as a costume or even to maybe a blast from the past formal party!!

    i wish designers designed this dree now a days!

  115. Alex Says:

    When I walked into the exhibit this was the first dress I ran to. I absolutly LOVE it!

  116. Brenda Says:

    Dresses from this time period are fabulous. Love it!

  117. Sanja Says:

    No wonder France is the fashion leader of all times! Parfait!

  118. Stephen Obrien Says:

    This piece is absolutely exquisite. The gown simply goes to show the emphasis placed on the first estate in the french monarchy during the pre-revolutionary era. The use of silk and the elegant understructure must have alone cost more than the annual income of one hundred working class french peasents combined. It is no wonder that the working class opened their eyes to the language of the enlightenment introduced by Voltaire, Roussou, and Locke. The immense wealth of the French nobility at Versailles simply demonstrates their dependence on the third estate. What is France without the third estate? - Nothing! What is the third estate? - Everything! Down with the monarchy! Down with Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette! To Paris! To the Bastille! VIVA LA REVOLUTION!!!!!

  119. eileen gibson Says:

    i think this dress should be burned

  120. sophie hadfield Says:

    this dress is amazing and beautiful as the big the gown shows not just fashion but a pice of art

  121. marielle Says:

    i loved this dress. i have always wished i could wear a beautiful gown like this.
    i do not find this dress a piece of art but a work of a master designer on an important model.

  122. Vincent Says:

    do women dress for themselves, men or other women?

  123. J Says:

    To caroline elizabeth: this dress is not tudor. I know because I am british.

    Love this dress, really captures true style. Like it! x

  124. Lauren Says:

    Hi I LOVE this dress i wanna wear it to my prom in july. I’d be the bell of the ball! Wish that I could have it, I’d take it back home and wear it.

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