Floral Robe Francaise
Created for Venetian carnival in 2015- this gown is a combination of a historical shape and with an ultra modern fabric. For this gown I wanted to combine the strong geometric lines of the early robe fraincaise with the soft organic feel of an all over slightly sheer botanical. Clearly not a historical reproduction this gown is the blend of the best of contemporary textiles and historical design.
The body of the gown is a printed silk organza. I love organza because it is simulaneously stiff and fluid. Finding a printed organza- even in nyc- proved to be a much bigger challenge than I ever anticipated. This was found in the back of a tiny shop. I bought ever inch of fabric they had. The organza overdress floats over a solid gray skirt that highlights the intricate screen printing on the fabric.. The skirt is comprised of two layers- a solid silk dupioni and a gray silk organza. One of the biggest challenges- and proudest accomplishment with this dress- is that the pattern is perfectly matched on vertical center. If there is a leaf or pattern on the left shoulder- the same leaf or pattern is reflected on the right shoulder. Accomplishing this- AND having french seams- was a daunting and time consuming task.
The cuffs are inspired by 1740's winged cuffs. They are a double layer cuff- the outer layer in printed silk organza and the inner in solid gray organza. The stomacher features a metallic silver roping laced in a manner similar to that on extent 1740's gowns. Hidden silver loops hold the roping in place just out of sights. I chose the very linear cuffs and stomacher to provide a geometric contrast to the ornate floral print of the gown. All external stitching is done by hand. There are pocket slits in the size of the gown to reach a hidden interior pocket.
Although unseen- the gown is worn over a set of stays (corset), pannier and quilted petticoat for warmth. Handmade Chopines were built from a modern shoe that was torn down and reconstructed. Jewelry, on loan, is an antique amethyst and garnet parure set that dates to the middle of the 19th century. Fox fur collar is vintage.
Photos taken by Aimee Dodds in Venice 2015; Click on any image to see full size