Woman's Dress (Robe à l'anglaise) with Zone Front
Artist/maker unknown, American?
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This dress beautifully illustrates the relaxation of fashion between the American and French revolutions. With wide hoops now reserved for formal occasions, hips were still padded but the silhouette was bouncier and new emphasis was placed on the bosom. To accentuate this shape, dresses with tight-fitting backs, called robes à l'anglaise, were preferred; often made of lightweight cotton, these could be delicately embroidered, as in this open-skirted, trained robe. On the front bodice, satin forms an inverted stomacher called a "zone." Long, tight, shaped sleeves reflect the latest style; the short oversleeves were seen as an exotic reference to the East.