Talk: Revolutionary Style: Fashion in the Eighteenth Century

Robe à l’Anglaise, French school, c.1785-87. By courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

  • Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building

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The fashion of the 18th Century is synonymous with luxury and extravagance, but the tumultuous period at the end of the century saw revolution in France affect both society and style. 

In this illustrated talk, fashion historian Amber Butchart looks at the politics of dress and display through some of the era's key figures - from Casanova to Catherine the Great, and from Lady Mary Wortley Montagu to Marie Antoinette - to dissect how wealth and power were read on the body through attire, and how the Revolutionary Era brought about huge transformations in the way both men and women dressed. 

Fashion historian and author, Amber is Associate Lecturer at the London College of Fashion. She works across cultural heritage, broadcasting and academia. 

Date: Tuesday 2 April
Time: 19:00-20:15
Venue: Theatre 2, Roland Levinsky Building
Ticket information: £6/£4.20/Friends free/UoP students free via SPiA /18’s and under free via YAP

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Today's events

Robe à l’Anglaise, French school, c.1785-87. By courtesy of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Whigs, Powder and Paint: The 18th Century in Art, Film and Fashion Series

The 18th Century was an era of tumultuous change on both sides of the English Channel. In France, the values of the old order – the ‘aristocratic’ pursuit of luxury and pleasure – were challenged by enlightenment and revolution. In Britain, the rise of ‘polite society’ – of collecting and connoisseurship in the arts, debates about sex, gender and class, and the notion of ‘taste’ – were exploited as a means of both activating and restricting social mobility.

In this series of talks and films, curated by Dr Jenny Graham, Associate Professor in Art History at the University of Plymouth, current thinkers will revisit this fascinating period in history.


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