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Friday, October 31, 2014

MARIE ANTOINETTE : Fashion Revolution

 Marie Antoinette was born an Austrian princess. Forced to marry, she was handed over to the Bourbon Court to be the next Queen of France.
From this moment on she was forced to give up her Austrian nationality, and become French. All garments were removed, and replaced with elegant and lavishly adorned French ones. 

Beyond just the French Revolution, it was her own Revolution in FASHION, that made her a legend. 

If there was an era in time I could choose to time warp into, it would be 18th century French "Nobility"(Im pretty sure the rest of France was starving). Known for a period of elegance, beauty, and femininity it was also going through a period of "Enlightenment".
Join me as I time travel back to the 18th century, to explore and understand the impact of Marie Antoinette's Revolutionary style.

                                      The "POUF"

After her husband was crowned King of France, she debut a new hairstyle called the, "pouf". The hairstyle was heavily powdered and teased extremely high, elongating the neck, and extending the forehead. The  hairstyle was often topped with a cluster of white ostrich feathers, or some other form of adornment that she wished. Sometimes even placing an entire boat on top of her head. She was fearless, and soon all of upper French Society was emulating her hair raising style. 

                                THE ENLIGHTENMENT

The period during Marie Antoinette's life, was going through and Age of Reason or the "Enlightenment". It was at this time that individualism was celebrated, and the art of reasons were practiced. Traditions were now being questioned p and broken. Women were beginning to voice their opinions and practice their rights' as individual thinkers. 

                                         HER STYLIST

It is odd to think Marie Antoinette had a stylist but it is documented that she made weekly trips to Paris, and met with the most famous designers of that time. Rose Bertin, started out by selling her fabrics, but soon became her most trusted stylist. 

                                   'Robe a la Polonaise'

'Robe a la Polonaise", was a provocative and edgy creation, pioneered by the Queen herself. It included a bosom-enhancing corset and daring reveal of the ankles. Instead of panniers, fabric was gathered in the back and the  sleeves were now tighter around the elbow's and adorned with frilly lace.  The "Polonaise" was soon adopted by the French and English Courts. 

                                         "THE CORSET"

Marie Antoinette often refused to wear corsets that were use to enhance her posture and shrink her waist. While riding horses, she grew a love for male breeches and male riding jackets.

                                  "Chemises a la reine'

By 1780, Marie Antoinette was now spending her days freely at the Trianon, in her private gardens and away from the scrutiny from the French Court. With her new found freedom, her clothing changed as well. Although highly controversial, she began to wear a thin, muslin, 'chemises a la Reine' which was delicately tied with a silk ribbon at the waste. It was then worn with a straw hat, mimicking a soft, elegant "peasant look".
At the time, such a dress was considered "pornographic" or equal to wearing "lingerie" in public. It was highly criticized by French Society but like true Antoinette style, it soon became another trend.  

                                             Tea Time! 

In true 18th century style, I relaxed for a nice afternoon tea. I had special "18th century" hot chocolate, which is actually spiced with cinnamon plus a cold glass of rose water.The cake, was filled with cranberries, rose, lavender, and orange honey. Delicious! 

Marie Antoinette, is often remembered for her tragic ending, but it is her unwavering attack on Fashion that makes her iconic. Her constant push against traditions, made huge impacts in how fashion is approached, viewed, and practiced today. 
The common denominator is always to be fearless. The fight to be who you are will often receive a great deal of criticism, and that is life. C'est la vie. 
Following the pack will keep you out of trouble, but it also leaves your life as quite forgettable.


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