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Open Robe and Petticoat (Chiné Robe a la 'Anglaise)

Created: 1780-1790
Materials:Open Robe and Petticoat


This beautiful robe à l’Anglaise styles pairs a narrow waistline with a wide, full skirt which extended out from each side. This volume was supported by panniers (hoops) made of heavy cotton or linen and a sturdy structure of metal rods or reed strips. This expansive width at the hiplines did bring about other changes outside the world of fashion, such as wider doorways, stairway handrails that extended further out from the wall, expanded width of settees as well as armless upholstered chairs, and more. The width of the skirt also presents a narrow torso which was created (constricted) by a lady’s stays, or corset, made of heavy linen or sturdy cotton with shoulder straps, which stiffened the torso’s silhouette as dictated by whalebones inserted vertically and tight lacings up the back of the wearer. Here, the front of the bodice terminates in a point at the center front waistline. This creates a V-shaped opening which is filled in with a separate panel called a stomacher. Stomachers were frequently made of fabric matching that of the garment, but these articles of dress often were presented as a deliberate contrast to the dress and made of a different fabric or were a means of introducing additional color(s). They might also present fine embroidery work or introduce lavish fabrics enriched with beautiful gems, ribbon work, or may have also introduced woven, colorful floral motifs or intricate geometric designs.