Blue thou art, intensely blue; Flower, whence came thy dazzling hue
Dress AA 1869
Aqua satin shoes with silver braid, c. 1770 The Charleston Museum
Excerpt taken from Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber
“ Designed for his 2000 Christian Dior “Masquerade and Bondage” collection, John Galliano’s “Marie Antoinette” dress tells an unexpected story. True to the architecture of eighteenth-century court costume, the gown features tantalizing décolletage, a rigidly corseted waist, a ladder or échelle of flirty bows on the bodice, and a froth of flounced skirts inflated by petticoats and hoops. Its splendid excess evokes France’s most colorful queen … even before one notices the embroidered portraits of the lady herself that adorn each of its hoop-skirted hip panels. (Plate 1.)
But the two portraits deserve a closer look, for it is they that tell the story. On the gown’s left hip panel the designer has placed an image of Marie Antoinette in her notorious faux shepherdess’s garb—a frilly little apron tied over a pastel frock, a decorative staff wound with streaming pink ribbons, and a mile-high hairdo obviously ill suited to the tending of livestock. In keeping with the Queen’s frivolous reputation, the embroidered ensemble is more suggestive of Little Bo Peep than of lofty monarchical grandeur. On the right hip panel, Galliano offers a depiction of the same woman, also devoid of royal attributes, but this time in a mode more gruesome than whimsical. Here, she wears a markedly plain, utilitarian dress, with a simple white kerchief knotted around her throat and a drooping red “liberty bonnet”—the emblem of her revolutionary persecutors—clamped onto her brutally shorn head. This image portrays the consort trudging toward the guillotine, to lay her neck beneath its waiting blade.”
(Does anyone know who the first picture belongs too? I pulled it off of Pinterest last week and the only link back was google images).
Drawings and sketches of costumes for the opera in Paris and Versailles from 1739 to 1767 Louis-Rene Boquet (1717-1814), 1770.
Quadrille de Mlle De // Loraine 1775 : 1775 : [maquette de costume] / [Louis-René Boquet] - 1
French Underwear, Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1916
For the next theme post would you rather see Victorian-Edwardian ladies déshabillé or clothing in La couleur noire?
Three-colour gold tiara with swags of leaves and flowers surmounted by a row of large flowers formed by clusters of turquoises surrounded by cannetille work with a small diamond in the centre. It has been converted from a frontlet ornament of c.1805 and a French import mark and French design registry mark are on the loop at each end.
First French Empire
Just recently there was a small debate on whether or not antiques should be used or worn. One person spoke about antiques being relics that should be preserved and another about the sturdiness and strength of the object in question. My view on the discussion was that antiques (not all mind you) are meant to be well loved ( for example my beetlewing embroidery is the exception to this rule). All of the undergarments I use in my fashion lectures in Southampton are original and my favorite coral necklace is 100+ years old.
The reason I bring this up is because the embroidered panel (seen here unfinished) on my Consulate/Empire gown is an antique but instead of letting it lie in a tomb of artifacts I gave it a new life. Personally my feelings are that Antiques are meant to be preserved and loved. What is your opinion on that?