Saturday, September 09, 2006

Marie Antoinette: Queen of Fashion

Curious about the different facets of Marie Antoinette's character, I searched for books on the subject matter. Here's a promising one based on a review by Publisher's Weekly on Caroline Weber's book "Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution".

The review reveals an insight that dislodges the shallow nature often painted of the Queen. "...her masculine equestrian garb, ostentatious costumes for masked balls, high Parisian hairdos and faux country-girl gear were bold bids for political power and personal freedom in a suffocating realm where a queen was merely a breeder and living symbol of her spouse's glorious reign." Unfortunately, this assertion through fashion was also her Achilles heel. "An iconic trendsetter whose styles were copied by prostitutes and aristocrats alike, Marie Antoinette was blamed for France's moral decay and financial bankruptcy, the blurring of class lines and callousness toward the poor."

If you'd like to dig deeper into the wardrobe of this controversial yet fascinating figure in history and fashion, read Caroline Weber's book, available through the Barnes and Noble website and

Some interesting trivia from the Sony Pictures Marie-Antoinette website:

Dress allowance: 150,000 livres a year
Visits to the dress maker Rose Bertin: 2x a week
Shoes: 4 new pairs a week
Ribbon: 3 yards a day
Clothing: light muslin dresses for everyday, 12 court dresses and 12 riding habits a year

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