For receiving close friends, especially in the morning, women usually wore a peignoir or a déshabillé – a dressing gown or a negligee. In the 1890s and especially after 1900 a new custom was adopted, and the lady of the house would entertain at tea time – in the late afternoon – wearing an indoor robe known (in French) as a 'tea-gown'. This light garment was intended both for receiving company and for personal wear. In informal situations, then, it was less 'dressy' than dinner or ball gowns, as its modest neckline – here actually taking the form of a high collar – indicates. Above all, though, it was comfortable and less 'starchy', and could either fall straight, as here, or be slightly belted at the waist. Often made from light-coloured fabric and lace, the tea-gown expressed the wearer's touch of whimsy. This one belonged to the famous – and famously elegant – actress Réjane (1856-1920), a loyal client of Jacques Doucet.
Notice's author : Alexandra Bosc