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January 20, 2015


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hallie larkin

You have mislabel the 18th century gown in your post. It is not a "robe volante" it is a "Robe a la Francaise and the silk is mid 1760s not 1740s. The serpentine S curve of the fabric is typical of the 1760s as are the sleeve treatments. In the 1740s the sleeves would have winged cuffs.

FIDM Museum

Great eye! Thank you for your thoughtful comments. It is the construction of the interior that makes this garment akin to a Robe Volante rather than a Robe a la Francaise; the double-box pleats at back alone do not make it specifically a Robe a la Francaise. It is true that a double ruffle cuff rather than a wing cuff is more typical of the Robe a la Francaise style, but this Robe Volante is a transitional garment, so older and newer styles elements could have been worn together. Finally, we have seen examples of textiles through our research that verify this fabric could indeed be as early as the 1740s. We look forward to conducting further research on this garment, particularly because of the rarity of the Robe Volante style and its importance as a transitional garment into the Robe a la Francaise!


Saw the volante in person. What a piece!! No question it's a volante if you could see it from the front, Hallie. Stunning and so interesting in construction. I was curious about the flounced cuffs too, but there are the two types of cuffs shown as contemporary in Cut of Women's Clothes (or perhaps an update changed out later)

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