Dress ("robe à la française"), c. 1760, France?. White and pink plaid silk taffeta; double flounced pagoda sleeves; stomacher with échelle of ribbon; engageantes; quilles, and lappets of Argentan lace. AC4628 83-21-1AB. ©The Kyoto Costume Institute, photo by Toru Kogure
The woman's dress of the 18th century is characterized by the light pastel color and the decorations such as lace, ribbons, and artificial flowers. Especially, lace, created with the most delicate handwork techniques, was significant in enriching wardrobes luxury decoration. The "quilles" that trimmed at the front opening of the robe from the neck to the hem, the lappets on the headdress, and the engageantes on the cuffs, all of which are lace, give the gown an even more luxurious look. Since lace was the most expensive kind of ornament to adorn a gown, the type of lace that made up the engageantes varied, from layers of high-quality lace to inexpensive cotton drawn work. Needlepoint lace, based on embroidery techniques, and bobbin lace, based on braiding techniques, both developed in late-sixteenth-century Europe. Lace production was prominent in parts of Italy, France and Belgium, and these various types of lace were named after the areas in which they were produced. It was important industry in those areas until taking the place of the machine lace in the 19th century.