This dress is an exquisite example of a robe à la française or andrienne. Initially called andrienne because the style was first worn by the actress Marie Carton Dancourt during her portrayal of “Andrienne” of Baron in a Paris theater production (a modern remake of “Andria” by Terenzio Afro Scipione), this garment came into fashion in the early years of Louis XV’s rule (post 1715) and in its various evolutions remained the most worn dress of the eighteenth century. It is characterized by a very tight-waisted bodice with a plunging neckline that shows the breast, a very wide skirt open at the front to show the petticoat beneath and a long train at the back gathered together in box pleats above. From around 1770, the robe à la française transformed from an informal garment to an outfit suitable for wear at court, and became the most popular evening gown among the aristocracy.
Donated by Umberto Tirelli