Sunday 22 September 2013

Analysing - Zone Gown 1780/90s

For my project of the blue Zone Gown (inspired by a fashion plate from the "Journal des Luxus und der Moden" from March 1793) I have started a little investigation on Zone Gowns. 

I've not found it particulary easy to find evidence and examples, but here's my conclusion which shall lead me to my result. :) Those who speak german might wish to have a look at the original article of my inspiration gown from the Journal des Luxus und der Moden, accessible at the Uni Jena (Link on my link page). The headwear is a ribbon carcasse thingy, I've not quite worked out how that works and chances are I never will, because - I don't like it. The hair falls rather loosely over the shoulders, that's worth noticing. The sleeves are long and tight, the skirt has a white lining (I found this rather unusual). White gloves, big fichu and an enormously big flower thingy (sorry, the right name for that escaped me), personally I find it absurdly big, it would certainly droop down, am going to omit that too...

Journal des Luxus und der Moden March 1793, with short description, worn over "corset"

A Zone Gown (which is the modern description for it, really we're talking about a Robe a l'Anglaise with an A Shaped cutout at the front, I can't quite remember, whether I've found a specific term for that in 18th century documents...)

This type of gown was made with a stomacher or just the illusion of an A-shaped stomacher and front closure or a corset underneath (a corset being a sort of sleeveless top). I've not found many existing gowns where I could see for sure how it's done, but these three options seem to be it. They seem to have been most popular by the mid/late 1780s and early 1790s. France a bit earlier, Germany a bit later.

KCI Museum, described with stomacher, this is not a zone gown but a court gown, yet it has the A shaped front.

LACMA, front-closing, gorgous stripes, too!

a few more examples somewhere here: Hertzwerk Pinterest 18th century clothing

The back of the gown would have most likely looked like this, with 4 panels in the back. Although if you look at existing garments, the back can look all sorts of ways, more or less tidy, detailed, pieced... looking at Nancy Bradfield's Costume in Detail reveals that. So funnily, the more I research on how the back should look like, the more I found "anything goes". So be it.

MetMuseum 1785-95 - typical back of gown

As to sleeves... I've found them in all lengths and the direction of the stripes was apparently following the gusto of the wearer, also lengthwise stripes being possible (see LACMA Zone gown).

I will let all that information mature now see what I'll come up with.

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