1780 Silk Taffeta Zone Gown – Part One

10.10.2005 (Originally posted on cherrydawson.com)
Happy Columbus Day! Okay… so that’s not really my focus for today but it is the holiday today nonetheless! This projects has been in the planning (or more like wishful thinking) stage for quite some time. I have some lovely blue, grey & cream silk that was given to me as a gift in August 2004. It’s cross-grain woven stripe and is about 42″ wide which means that my style options were somewhat limited (unless I wanted to start piecing and matching stripes!) but I’ve finally settled on a particular style.I had been looking at the ‘Zone’ Front Gowns in fashion plates, extant examples and contemporary paintings and felt that the silk taffeta would lend itself very well to this style. Plus it’s very crisp and light so using it for self trimming and/or polonaising the skirts becomes a very feasible option. I spent some time (too much, of course!) looking for an inspiration piece and here are a few I stumbled upon… (And thanks to Sue Felshin for tracking down the image of Self-Portrait with a Harp, ca. 1790 by Rose -Adélaïde Ducreux. I couldn’t find it no matter where I looked!)

Self-Portrait with a Harp, ca. 1790
Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux
Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Stolen Kiss
, late 1780s
Jean-Honoré Fragonard
The State Hermitage Museum

Portrait of Madame Molé-Reymond, 1786
Elisabeth-Louise Vige
é-Le Brun
Louvre Museum

That’s probably enough to give an idea of what style gown I am looking to create. Next will come the images of extant gowns that I’m hoping to imitate!


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