|Robe Volante, c. 1720. |
Yellow and red changeable striped silk taffeta with racket
sleeves ("manches en raquette"); large pleats at front and back.
In Sweden there is an idiom that says “A loved child has many names”. If that is true, then the Robe Volante was very dear, as it also were called Robe Battante, Adrienne, contouche, innocente, flying dress and, in a shorter version, casaque. It became popular in the 1720’s and remained fashionable for some 20 years. Like the mantua it had deep pleats in the front and the back, but on the mantua those pleats were held close to the body, first with a sash and then the pleats were sewn down. In the Volante these pleats were hanging freely, giving the gown a loose bell-shape, something that was underlined as it was worn with something else that became fashionable in the 1720’s, the hoop skirt, or panier. It was originally bell shaped, but got wider and flatter, in the 1730’s, to reach its widest points in the 1740’s.
The Volante very quickly morphed into the Robe Française where the front of the gown became fitted. The Volante and Française co-existed and it is sometimes difficult to say it an extant gown is an unusually fitted Volante or an unusually loose Française. There were also variations within the Volante's. The first ones had loosely pleated backs, the stacked double box pleats was something that developed in the 1730’s.
|Robe Volante in pale blue silk, 1730's, Metropolitan Museum|
This Volante is open to the waist and very similar to this one. Others were closed all the way. The neckline always seem to be V-shaped. Despite being so loose, stays were generally worn underneath, though probably not laced very hard. It may sound odd to wear stays, but not if one comsider that this is what a woman wore for breast support in the 18th century and she might not (I wouldn't because that would actually be more uncomfortable than wearing stays) want to let it all hang freely.
|Detail from L'Enseigne de Gersaint by Antoine Watteau, 1720|
|Robe Volante, 1720-1735, Musée Galliera de la Mode de la Ville de Paris|
The pictures were found here.
Like this one, in velvet.
|Élisabeth-Charlotte d'Orléans,Duchess of Lorraine and her son François-Étienne by Alexis Simon Belle,1722|
Here is a version with decorative frogs and a somewhat peculiar frill around teh neck. The stays do seem to be very loose.
|Declaration of Love by Troy,1725|
A Robe Volante worn completely open.
|L'amour et le badinage by Jean-Baptiste Pater, painted before 1736|
|Dame à sa toilette recevant un cavalier by Jean-François de Troy|
|After the Ball by Jean-Francois De Troy, 1735|
This version looks like it is closed by hooks and eyes.
|The Alarm by Jean Francois de Trow, 1723|
|Robe Volante, 1735-1740, Metropolitan Museum|
A painting were both versions a worn, both the Volante and the Francaise.
|Declaration of Love by Jean Francois de Troy, 1731|
|Robe Volante c. 1730|
Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
|Lady Sealing A Letter by Jean Baptiste Simeon Chardin, c. 1732|
|Embroidered ölinen casaque (Italian), 1725-1740, Metropolitan Museum|
|Silk casaque with embroidery in white silk, 1730-1740's, Kulturen, Lund|
|The petticoat is quilted, but sadly re-made so it's impossible to say what it looked like originally.|
|Detail from Winter by Jean-Baptiste Pater,1725|
|Countess de Rieux, by Maurice Quentin de La Tour, 1742|
|Posthumous portrait of Louise-Élisabeth de France, Duchess of Parma by Jean-Marc Nattier, c. 1760|
|Unknown woman found at Just A Wench Livejournal|
|C. 1735, The Museum at FIT|
|C. 1735, Les Arts Décoratifs|
An assortment of paintings showing of different versions of the Volante.
|Mrs. Elizabeth Symonds by Allan Ramsey, 1740|
|The Four Times od Day- Midday by Nicholas Lancret|
|People In the Park, the workshop of Nicholas Lancret|
|A Lady and Gentleman Taking Coffee with Children in a Garden by Nicholas Lancret, 1742|
|St. James' Park and the Mall, 1745|