The mid-eighteenth century marked the height of rococo influence on women’s dress; colorful floral-patterned silk gowns and matching petticoats with three-dimensional trimmings, often applied in serpentine bands, were shown to advantage over wide panniers. During this and the following three decades, the marchande de modes, or milliner, who supplied and artfully arranged these delicate decorations became increasingly important in the creation of a fashionable gown. The coats of men’s three-piece suits became slimmer, losing the extreme side fullness of the 1730s and 1740s, and the waistcoat shortened to mid-thigh. Although wool was favored for daywear, especially among Englishmen, silks and velvets that might be embellished with embroidery or metallic galloon or lace were still obligatory for formal wear.
Jean-Marc Nattier, an acclaimed 18th-century portraitist, was known for his mythological style, painting women in imagined costume that was only loosely based on fashionable trends, as is true in his 1750/60 Portrait of a Woman.
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