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Robe Francaise

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Ivory Guipure Basque-Waist Robe Française Short Wedding Dress - XS, 1950s
Located in Tucson, AZ
With enough interior framework to stand fully on its own, this dress brings the fairytale and the carriage too. Sculpted of ivory guipure lace, the dress is fixed in place when worn...
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1950s Wedding Dresses

A Silver Silk Brocade French Court Robe à la Française- Circa 1765/1780
Located in Toulon, FR
Circa 1765/1780 France-Paris Versailles French court dress in silver flossed, fluted and brocaded silk or brocade. Coat open on a stomacher (sold separatly) and three-quarter sleeve...
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1770s Court Gowns

Finding the Right Evening Dresses for You

With entire museum exhibitions dedicated to examining fashion designers and their creations, we’re finally recognizing that costuming is art. Fashion is a powerful means of self-expression, and sophisticated evening dresses and gowns by our favorite courtier play no small role in making us feel wonderful but, perhaps more importantly, making us feel like ourselves.

Evening dresses over time have conveyed specific statements about social class, position and beliefs. In the 16th century, dresses and gowns were so important that England's Queen Elizabeth I defined rules about what dresses women could wear -- guidance included long skirts and fitted bodices. Forward-thinking designers have responded to this history.

Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel reimagined traditionally masculine garments for feminine shapes, and her elegant evening dresses and gowns promoted comfort and grace in women’s wear that had been dominated in the previous century by layers of fabric. French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent introduced innovative and highly coveted dress designs in the 1960s while at the same time challenging sexist stereotypes about which members of society could wear tuxedos. Works by unconventional British designer John Galliano — featured in houses like Givenchy and Dior — redefined limits that dressmakers faced in terms of material, construction and vision during the late 20th century. 

Today’s designers target an increasingly broad audience with their boundary-crossing work, and their tendency to play off of each other’s ideas means that every walk down the runway is also a walk through an entire history of fashion design and dress craftsmanship. 

Whether you gravitate toward backless maxi dresses or silk charmeuse gowns by Alexander McQueen or embellished, ruffled floral-print designs by Chloe or Versace, there is an extraordinary collection of vintage and designer evening dresses and gowns waiting for you on 1stDibs.