Dress of the Week – Robe à l’Anglaise 11


Robe à l’Anglaise, French, c1785-7. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

I love this dress so much – so much so in fact that heroines in both Blood Sisters and Before the Storm have worn it or at least something very similar.

As opposed to its sartorial rival, the robe à la Française which had inherited the flowing lines and back drapery of the earlier sacque gown, the eighteenth century robe à l’Anglaise was, to my eyes, rather more elegant with a fitted back to the bodice and much less drapery going on.

Robe à l’Anglaise, French, c1785-7. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

I think this example in the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute is perhaps one of the most charming examples still extant, with pretty pale pink stripes and some really adorable ruffles on the skirt. As demonstrated here, this dress would have been worn with a fine lawn or muslin fichu, probably draped around the shoulders and then tied low at the base of the spine, which I think was the most becoming way of wearing a fichu.

Robe à l’Anglaise, French, c1785-7. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

I’m massively envious of people like The Dreamstress and Moretta Designs, who can make dresses like this. One day when I am very, very, very rich I’m going to have a gown just like this one made for me and wear it ALL THE TIME.

A dress like this was just made for strolling around the gardens of the Palais Royal but sadly I don’t think I’m going to strike it rich in time to get one before we (hopefully) go to Paris for a week later this year. What a pity.

Robe à l’Anglaise, French, c1785-7. Photo: Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

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