The Pre-Raphaelites were a group of British artists and writers who wanted to reform the art world of the 1800s. They wanted to bring emotion, vibrancy, and nobility back to art. Due to their soft, romantic depictions of women in their paintings, they not only inspired a new art movement, they also helped create a fashion revolution in women’s apparel called Artistic Dress.

The Artistic Dress movement started in the 1850s. It rejected the highly structured and elaborately trimmed dresses of the time. Instead, it favored simpler dresses… long, loosely fitted, and flowy as seen in many Pre-Raphaelite paintings.

Lady Lilith (1868) by Dante Gabriel Rossetti
Gather Ye Rosebuds While Ye May (1909) by John William Waterhouse

Medea (1889) by Evelyn de Morgan  |  Isabella and the Pot of Basil (1868) by William Holman Hunt

As social rules loosened, the movement took on a momentum of its own. Simple, long, loose dresses became a normalcy… bared shoulders, loose chignons, long wavy hair – an everyday style. There is not much rebellion or reformism in this manner of dressing. Yet, those women who wear them – the dresses, the hair styles, the accessories, the mannerisms – exemplify an aspect of Pre-Raphaelite ideals. Here are 12 dresses that recapture the Pre-Raphaelite style today…

9seed Moonstone Caftan Dress  |  Pitusa Aegean Cover Up


Kalita Clemence Cotton and Silk-blend Maxi Dress  |  Kalita Aphrodite Cloud Beach Gown


Kalita Uschi and the Wild Sky Maxi Silk-blend Dress  |  Tommy Bahama Cotton Voile Maxi Dress


Chloe Sleeveless Pleated Gown  |  Rachel Pally Kyron Ruffled Off-the-Shoulder Maxi Dress


Yvonne S Layered Cotton Voile Maxi Dress  |  Mikoh Biarritz Maxi DressLove Stitch: Gauze Maxi Dress


Boho Me Flounce Maxi Dress

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