Robe à l'Anglaise Or Robe à la français | Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide to the 18th Century: Robe à l'Anglaise Or Robe à la français

March 15, 2010

Robe à l'Anglaise Or Robe à la français

Robe à l'Anglaise, 1770-75, Silk, metallic. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The wonderful Robe à l'Anglaise, a pannier-less dress! Full skirt, and 'robe' which closes in the front but is open over the skirt. The back of the bodice comes to a point and is sewn into the skirt. This one is made of silk and has floral embroidery.  The name means it is an English-styled gown.


Robe à la française, 1760-70, Silk, cotton. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Here is the ever flattering Robe à la français, which provides a most attractive figure to any woman.  The skirt is full and rest on panniers and when coupled with a corset the waist appears very tiny.  It also required the open-front robe, but the back was pleated and draped down over the skirt.  This was also known as 'Sack-back'.

Which do you prefer and why?
20 comments
dora said...

Muchas gracias por las fotos.Son unos vestidos muy bonitos.

K. L. said...

Thank you so much for this post with illustrations -- I finally understand the difference. Both are beautiful, but I prefer l'Anglais--I like the natural hips, the tucks in back at the waist, the open front.

I am almost finished with Fraser's bio of MA, and it is making me deeply sad. I was so afraid when the marketwomen marched on Versailles and "escorted" the royals back to Paris; later, I knew they would not escape (with Count Fersen in disguise driving the berlin--very Scarlet Pimpernel!), but I still held my breath . I want to finish so I can read something light and happy -- but I don't want to finish, because I know what happens at the end!

Brantigny said...

I perefer a woman to be dressed in a Robe a la Polonais.

Charleybrown said...

I think the robe à la français is one of my favourite fashions of all the period costumes out there! Thanks for pointing out the robe anglaise and its similarities and differences! I seem to gravitate toward British films but I SO adore the fashions that we see worn by the French! One of my fave films is Marguerite Volant, not only because it illustrates what it was like in 18th century Canada but I loved the wonderful dresses worn by the French Canadian family. Magnifique!

Ana Trigo said...

It´s a hard decision since I love boht of them :)
Anyway if I had to choose just one I think I´d prefer the robe à la francaise.

Victoria said...

They are both so beautiful how can one choose! Though, I suppose if I HAD to, I'd go with robe à la francaise. There is a wonderful book out called "Seventeenth and Eighteenth-Century Fashion in Detail" by the V&A. You might like it (if you don't already have it of course!).

liebesreime said...

what about a robe à la americaine?

Lauren said...

Perhaps the next poll will be a Robe à la polonaise vs à la americaine
:D

Meghann LittleStudio said...

Although I like the neckline of the French gown, my hips are big enough and don't need any more accentuation, so I do like the overall fluidity of the English gown better. That being said, to have a custom made gown of pure silk would be heaven, and let's face it, beggars can't be choosers so I'd take either in a hurry :)

Lauren said...

ah but the robe à la français would only mask those hips! :D

I love watching the poll, what will come out on top? hmm...

Monique said...

I like them both, but were I forced to choose, it would be the robe a la francais so I could wear panniers with them.

Aileen said...

I've always been more of a fan of the robe à l'anglaise. The loose pleats just always seemed a little sloppy to me.

Tulip said...

Robe a l'Anglaise for me. Couldn't carry the other one.

Allie said...

I have always LOVED the pleated sack back, the lines are so elegant, and the construction is fascinating. Obviously, for daily wear, it seems the anglaise would be more comfortable, but for admiration, definitely the francaise. Thanks for the expose'!

Anonymous said...

the french one seems a pinch more formal. i could be a bastard and say combine the two, the top style of the french with the bottom style of the english.

Anonymous said...

i think the anglais one is more beautiful...

isabelle said...

i think the english one is more beautiful...
but the french one is also nice.

Anonymous said...

The robe a la Francaise is one of the most beautiful fashions in history. There is a portrait of a young Madame Pompador in a pink robe a la Francaise with exsquisite lace quille and engageantes. Tres belle!

Ruffles Gazebo said...

hahah thank you so much for this post. reading about them separately just isn't the same as seeing the differences next to each other!

Lauren said...

I know what you mean! :)

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