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Marie-Antoinette and Style

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Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Mata Hari on Fri Oct 21, 2011 6:41 pm

I enjoyed this great post about MA's hats.

http://leahmariebrownhistoricals.blogspot.com/2011/10/mad-about-hatter.html

A popular hat throughout the 18th century, the Bergère Hat (French for shepherdess) was made of straw with a shallow crown and flat brim. This hat was worn perched upon the head or with the brim folded back or turned down. A wide ribbon tied in an easy but artful bow under the chin would keep it securely upon the head.

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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Elena on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:05 pm

In the early 1780's, Marie-Antoinette abandoned the ostentatious styles which characterized her first few years as queen, substituting them with simple attire. Especially at Petit Trianon, the gowns of lawn or muslin were worn not only by the queen but by all the ladies present. As described in Rocheterie's biography:
At Trianon there was no ceremony, no etiquette, no household, only friends. When the queen entered the salon the ladies did not quit their work nor the men interrupt their game of billiards or of trictrac. It was the life of the chateau with all its agreeable liberty, such as Marie Antoinette had always dreamed, such as was practised in that patriarchal family of the Hapsburgs, which was as Goethe has said, "Only the first bourgeoise family of the empire." They all met together for breakfast which took the place of dinner afterward they played cards chatted or walked and assembled again for supper which was served early. No fine dressing no complicated head dresses whose exaggerated height had forced the architect to enlarge the dimensions of the doors and provoked the reprimands of Maria Theresa. A dress of white percale, a gauze fichu, a straw hat - such was the toilet at Trianon, a fresh and charming toilet which set off the supple figure and brilliant complexion of the goddess of place but whose extreme simplicity enraged the of silk at Lyons deserted for the linens of Alsace.
Indeed, Marie-Antoinette's simple tastes drew even more criticism upon her than her former opulence. With her unpowdered hair and linen dresses, she was accused not only of trying to put the French silk merchants out of business in favor of her brother's Belgian and Alsatian weavers, but she was blamed for lowering the prestige of the monarchy by being too casual. According to an article on the queen's hairstyles by scholar Desmond Hosford:
Marie-Antoinette's excesses during the 1770s had been criticized, but when the queen curtailed such luxury she was again found to be at fault. In 1778, Marie-Antoinette gave birth to a daughter, which did not solidify her political situation, but the birth of a dauphin in 1781 meant that she had finally fulfilled her duty to France. Unfortunately, according to Léonard, "At the end of the year 1781, that is to say, when the queen had given to France the first Dauphin, who died in 1789 . .. Her Majesty was in danger of losing the charming locks whose suave color had passed into fashion under the name cheveux de la reine."42

Léonard's solution to the queen's predicament was no less than to cut her hair and to abandon the imposing coiffures that he had created. Instead, he invented the coiffure à l'enfant, a simple style frisé with curls in the back, which characterized the second half of the reign (fig. 5). This simplification of the queen's hairstyle was also effected in her attire as she entered the age of maturity. However, the queen's new simplicity was as unpopular as her former extravagance. One fashion that Marie-Antoinette adopted, a loose-fitting simple gown of muslin, became known as the chemise à la reine. In 1783, Vigée-Lebrun painted the queen in such a gown, and the work was so severely criticized when it was exhibited at the Salon of the Académie royale de peinture et de sculpture that year that the painting had to be withdrawn (fig. 6).43 One of the fundamental problems with this portrait was that Marie-Antoinette had allowed herself to appear as an individual woman, rather than as the queen of France, in a work shown to the public. This transgressed the laws of royal representation in France, destabilizing the performative elements of the queen's station. Marie-Antoinette "en chemise" lacks any external manifestation of her status as queen, and this was unnerving, because already, as l'Autrichienne, Marie-Antoinette was perceived as dangerous. Previously, the rumor had been that the queen's profligacy, dragging all French women in its wake, would ruin the country, but now the silk industry attacked the queen's simple attire. Marie-Antoinette was accused of attempting to destroy a vital part of the French economy by wearing imported fabrics including muslin and cotton44 for a gown whose style had originated in England, another of France's traditional enemies. In this portrait, Marie-Antoinette was even accused of appearing in her undergarments,45 and one might observe that her hair, too, is almost entirely undressed. With such importance placed upon the performative aspects of the queen's toilette, it is not surprising that this portrait, of which the queen's hair is an important element, was readily perceived as a blatant act of disrespect for French propriety concerning the external manifestation of royal dignity, a subversive rejection of queenly representation, and a national degradation which one commentator labeled "France, in the guise of Austria, reduced to covering herself with straw."46 The responsibility for this portrait was placed squarely on Marie-Antoinette without whose authorization the work could never have been displayed.47 Marie-Antoinette's attempt to exercise agency over her own hair and dress had failed, and the new version of the portrait painted by Vigée-Lebrun that same year is clearly a retreat. In the second version of the portrait, the queen's blue silk gown, as characterized by the baron von Grimm, is "a garment more appropriate to her station,"48 and her hair is carefully dressed and powdered (fig. 5).
No matter what she did, there were those who would complain and criticize. Some criticism is par for the course when one is a public figure. In Marie-Antoinette's case, her Austrian birth made her an object of suspicion from the moment she stepped onto French soil, even among the royal family. For those who sought political power by undermining the royal regime, the queen of Louis XVI, with her beauty and youthful imprudence, was the perfect target.

Sources: http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/05/chemise-la-reine.html


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Marie-Antoinette à la rose

Post  Elena on Sat Nov 12, 2011 2:11 pm



From the time I first started to write about Queen Marie-Antoinette, I have received comments from devout people about the low-cut gowns that she wore. Let me explain once again that, in the decadent old world, it was etiquette in most of the courts of Europe for ladies' formal attire to include a plunging décolletage. It was considered perfectly correct as long as the proper corset was worn.

The gown which evoked some disapproval for Marie-Antoinette was not one of the low-cut court gowns (shown above) but the simple white linen dress which she favored for her leisure time at Petit Trianon. The portrait in which she is shown thus had to be withdrawn from the public gaze because people took offense at seeing their Queen painted in casual attire. Now to us, the white dress is perfectly modest, but to people of the eighteenth century, it looked as if she were in her chemise, without the stiff corset prescribed for ladies of the royal family. Furthermore, it was interpreted as being a pro-Austrian picture, since linen came from Flanders, one of the Habsburg territories, and the rose the Queen held was seen as a symbol of the House of Austria.

In order to quell the outrage, Madame Vigée-Lebrun had to quickly come up with another painting. In 1783 the artist completed the portrait above, called "Marie-Antoinette à la rose" showing the Queen appropriately garbed in a silk court gown and headdress, trimmed with lace, ribbons and plumes. She is wearing pearls, as befits a Queen, with hair powdered and face rouged, in accord with court etiquette. She looks as if she has just stepped into her garden on a summer evening, bathed in moonlight. The nocturnal quality of the portrait softens the formality of her attire, alluding to Marie-Antoinette's love of nature, and the fact that she was much more at ease in her gardens than she was in the Hall of Mirrors.

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2008/12/marie-antoinette-la-rose.html

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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Mata Hari on Sat Nov 12, 2011 8:55 pm

Elena wrote:

I am struck but the regal way she holds her head, as if being a queen is what most defines her. There is an air of determination in this picture which I never noticed before.

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Marie-Antoinette's Coronation Dress

Post  Elena on Mon Nov 21, 2011 7:05 pm

I see what you mean. Smile

Here is an article about Marie-Antoinette wore to Louis' coronation:
http://www.joannerenaud.com/wordpress/2011/11/19/marie-antoinettes-big-hair/#more-445



The coronation ceremony for the new king and queen was traditional. The ceremony was ages old, even the official uniforms of the attendants were decades out of style but they were required. Keeping frugality in mind, the young Louis decided to cut some corners and keep things low budget. He cut out the double coronation part of the ceremony, and just had a single coronation for himself. A special seating area was built for Marie Antoinette to view the ceremony. In a way, this choice would keep Marie out of the spotlight at the actual ceremony, but it would also free her to wear something more contemporary as a spectator and guest of honor. This may not have been the top concern for the young dauphine at the time, but it certainly was an important choice and did not go unnoticed.

For her husband’s coronation the young queen, with tears of joy, arrived in a dazzling gown in the modern style. The contrast between the old ceremonial costumes and her contemporary ensemble instantly set her apart. Her gown was created by her favorite dressmaker, Rose Bertin, and was covered in sapphires and gemstones. Although her gown shimmered from every angle, it was her hair that everyone was talking about.

That day she wore her tresses piled high and set with feathers. The tall pouf would become Marie’s trademark hairstyle. She would constantly pioneer new styles of poufs, each magnificent structure would hold various objects and scenes. The thought, time and craftsmanship (yes we are still talking about hair) that went into the poufs made them true works of art. The popular pouf aux sentiments was created with the hair piled up high and displayed objects that held great personal meaning to the lady. Trinkets, portrait miniatures, jewels, anything! Because every lady would select different objects, each pouf was unique. Marie Antoinette also made famous the pouf à l’inoculation, after her husband and his brothers received small pox vaccinations. This famous pouf included a serpent in an olive tree to symbolize the god of medicine and healing and a bright sun, representing enlightenment.

The poufs allowed ladies to be creative and in a way they were able to speak opinions and make statements through…hair! Just as the clothes we wear can let people make statements, during the 18th century and thanks to pioneers of fashion such as Marie Antoinette, hair did as well.

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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  May on Mon Nov 21, 2011 8:05 pm


A lecture by Professor Caroline Weber on the Queen's use of fashion.
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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Sophie on Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:46 am

Hihi Very Happy Anna Amber's post from today:

http://vivelareine.tumblr.com/post/66162650705

Somehow I was always sure that she wore some kind of glasses - at least a lorgnette, as she appears in a scene in the novel 'Farewell, my Queen'. I like her in these glasses, or in these sunglasses in 'The affair of the necklace':

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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Anna G. on Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:47 pm

Sophie wrote:Hihi Very Happy Anna Amber's post from today:

http://vivelareine.tumblr.com/post/66162650705

Somehow I was always sure that she wore some kind of glasses - at least a lorgnette, as she appears in a scene in the novel 'Farewell, my Queen'. I like her in these glasses, or in these sunglasses in 'The affair of the necklace':

I think she may have perhaps done so in private, but I haven't been able to find any information about it yet. I love her glasses in The Affair of the Necklace, too. Very chic.

Actually the 1956 film has Louis in glasses as well,, I'll see if I can take a screencap later.

I also found some images of "optical fans," which sounds like what Oberkirch was talking about in her memoirs:

http://www.antiquespectacles.com/topics/fans/fans.htm

very ingenious!
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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Anna G. on Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:15 pm

And here is Louis XVI in the same film with spectacles:

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Re: Marie-Antoinette and Style

Post  Sophie on Sat Nov 09, 2013 6:47 am

Anna G. wrote:And here is Louis XVI in the same film with spectacles:
I didn't know Woody Allen wears 18th-century-style glasses! Laughing 
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