Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The "Manchester" chemise à la reine

The chemise à la reine, popularized by Marie Antoinette, is one of the most iconic styles to emerge from the 1780s. There are not many surviving extant chemise gowns today, likely due to a combination of the relative frailty of the material and the fact that  many of them would have been reworked and repurposed by their owners as styles changed over the years. Thankfully, there is a remarkably intact chemise à la reine in the Costume Collection of the Manchester Art Gallery.

Until recently, the only photo of this beautiful gown was small and low-definition. The Manchester Art Gallery has uploaded a much clearer photograph of the gown, which can now be seen in all its simple splendor. One can easily imagine Marie Antoinette wearing this gown, finished with a blue sash, while wandering around her beloved hamlet.


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