In the fashion context, a mantua refers to a type of gown or dress that was popular in the 17th and 18th centuries. It was characterized by a loose, flowing bodice and a long, full skirt that was often supported by hoops or petticoats. The mantua was typically worn for formal occasions and was made from luxurious fabrics such as silk or brocade, often embellished with embroidery or lace.
The mantua was worn with a stomacher, which was a decorative piece that covered the front of the bodice, and a pair of sleeves that were attached to the back of the bodice and draped over the arms. The gown could be worn with a train for more formal occasions, and the sleeves could be detached to create a different look.
The mantua was popular among the upper classes in Europe and the American colonies, and variations of the style could be found in different countries. It fell out of fashion in the late 18th century with the rise of more streamlined styles, but it remains an iconic example of historical fashion.