During the 1870s, women’s clothing became increasingly complex, colorful, and restrictive, while menswear was marked by an industrious sobriety.
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.
This afternoon dress, though not extravagant compared to some of the elaborately decorated gowns of 1874, proves to still be en vogue due to its bustled silhouette, tight-fitting bodice with an elongated waist, and decorated high neckline.
In Renoir’s Loge, he paints one of his favorite models Nini Lopez in a black and white striped dress in the context of a theater box–a fashionable dress style, but a questionable fit for the occasion. Her highly made-up face and disheveled hair also provoked discussion when the painting was exhibited at the Impressionists’ first group show in 1874.
Rose-Adélaïde Ducreux’s 1791 self-portrait depicts her as a fashionable and accomplished 18th-century woman wearing a lustrous silk cream and sea green striped robe à l’anglaise.