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Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution

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It's very interesting. If you have any interest in Marie Antoinette or the time period, you should read this. Yes, there are some pictures in there, but they're there to aid you in a visual. I adore the pictures! I think she should have included more. Oh well. The Dauphine's first act of defiance, a 15-year-old's strop, was her refusal to wear the grand corps, the rigid corset permitted only to the court elite. Her second was to learn to ride, and don not only male-style upper-body garments (nothing novel about that, female royals and courtiers had galloped about in similar equine fig since the 1660s), but to wear, and be painted in, breeches, while astride the saddle. Hunting Frenchwomen hid "culottes" under skirts; only the awesome Catherine the Great of Russia and comic actresses flaunted their lower limbs in breeches. There was a change for Rousseau like simplicity in fashion, and the Sillies all became rustics. Shepherdesses with jaunty hats and simple muslins, not a stay or deeply torturing corset upon any of them.

Off duty, the Queen likes to dress for country life in a blouse and A-line skirt with a green waxed or quilted coat or a rain mac, her wellies and her familiar silk scarf knotted under her chin.

The immensity of her power, is something to consider, when you think of of the consequence for the Dauphine, Rose in her flounces with her pretty face, a good bosom, is though constantly reminded to know her place. Amidst all the books on Marie Antoinette that I've acquired over the years (for reasons which are both curious and somewhat unknown to me!), Caroline Weber's "Queen of Fashion" has figured high on my list. It is the Dauphine doing but Rose supplied the colour, the boundless eyes on poufs and fashions and the palette of why not have one in every colour. Anything the plum and cake filled girl pointed a demanding finger at. This and that she’d have.

The pouffs roses so high on the Sillies heads, that bed attendants had to climb on bed ladders to cover the pouf and the Silly had to sleep on many pillows, the pouf wrapped in endless swaddling. The pouf with vegetables was very much the thing, the Sillies said they would never favour flowers again. When Her Majesty visits a school or a children’s centre, she is always dressed in a bright, jolly colour, and her hat has the kind of details that will appeal to youngsters – feathers, twirls, twists, flowers and ribbons,” Ms Kelly revealed in her book about her working relationship with the Queen – The Other Side Of The Coin. It is the beginning of seeing that a chest of magical never ending money can in fact be drained to its very dredges by a young dressmaker’s extraordinary inventiveness.While this book is not perfect, it points out that clothing is a method of communication which greatly affects human interaction. Even today, in a less charged atmosphere than the French court, what we choose to wear (or not wear) says a lot about our social, economic, political and religious affiliations.

In her final decade, Elizabeth II remained closer to home. US photographer Annie Leibovitz photographed the Queen on two occasions. The spectacular portraits of the first sitting presented a monarch of Hollywood dreams. The second, by contrast, revealed the Queen off-duty in her favourite tartan kilts and tailored tweeds, surrounded by family and dogs at Windsor Castle. It was a pertinent reminder that behind the carefully stage-managed façade was a woman, wife and mother most at home in the countryside. It was said and likely true, of Marie Antoniette that she powered her wigs with flour when people had no bread. Occasionally (more than occasionally perhaps) the effort to tie all of Marie Antoinette's behaviors and the reactive responses of her many enemies to fashion cultural codes was a bit strained. That is a minor quibble however.

Ms Kelly – who has the same size feet as the Queen – wears in the monarch’s handmade new shoes beforehand to ensure they are comfortable when first used. The wretched state of the people while Louis danced, hunted, and copulated from his assembled deer girls and then an alliance with a not French bride for his son, was too much, for the people, her great show of wealth thought right for court audiences, were to the person with a starving child or no money for bread a terrible goad. By the 1960s, there were shift dresses and petal-covered hats, and in the 1970s trendy geometric prints and occasionally turbans for day wear and flowing chiffon by Ian Thomas in the evening, while in the 1980s there were pussycat-bow blouses.

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