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Empire Gown

Empire Gown

Inv. Nr: CE2 / 00096

This gown is made of silk and is beige in colour. The neckline is rounded at the front with a rounded V at the back. It is adjustable under the bust, where it is gathered by a fabric drawstring. The sleeves are short and wide, known as a puff sleeve. The front is not full-skirted, in comparison to the back where it is gathered by a ribbon, forming accordion pleats in the fabric. This dress reflects the Empire style at the beginning of the 19th century. The success of neoclassicism towards the end of the 18th century remained present in fashion during the first decade of the 19th century. Influenced by classical statues and Roman paintings discovered in Pompeii and Herculaneum, women’s dresses benefited from simplicity and a loose fit, moving away from the corset and the use of a hoop underskirt to achieve a full skirt. Fitted below the bust, they were high-waisted and made from muslin, a fabric light in both weight and colour. The dresses adapted to the natural figure allowing much freer movements. These types of dresses were called chemise gowns. With time, fabrics became heavier and the sleeves longer.

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