The Robe a la Francaise was one of the most widely copied fashions of the 18th century, spanning all of Europe and Russia, and extending its influence to the Americas. Composed of an open fronted gown, a usually matching decorated underskirt, and a stomacher to hold the dress around the frame, it was a descendant of the gowns of the prior century, which incorporated many of the same elements. What made it significantly different was the huge open volume of pleated fabric that flowed freely from shoulder to hem on the back. It was so immensely popular that it held sway, unchallenged, for nearly 60 years. It was a style that allowed for endless variation of ornament, and because both the under skirt and stomacher were separate, they could be changed out to alter the appearance of the gown with ease. One thing that was quite common, especially in colder weather was the use of densely quilted under skirts.
With appreciation to the Metropolitan Museum of New York