Gallerie des Modes, Nicolas Dupin, after François Louis Joseph Watteau, c. 1784
In 1778 two young publishers tapped a previously undiscovered market with the launch of a series entitled Gallerie des Modes, which responded to the growing demand among Parisians for fashion news. Initially featuring only hairstyles, the series’ illustrations were later extended to include complete outfits to cater to its audience. These showed figures from head to toe. All ranks of French society were represented in a wide variety of fashionable clothes, from the simple negligée 1 to the robe à la polonaise 2 3, the robe à l’anglaise 4 and the occasional smart gentleman’s suit.