Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Insult from a Bourgeoisie

Ever since Rose Bertin received the patronage of the young Marie Antoinette the fame had quite gone to her head. As her clientèle was boosted with names of most of the ladies of court, she forgot her own humble origins; it was said that the dressmaker "treated Princesses as equals".

Usually, the ladies of Versailles were willing to put up with this kind of insolence in return for the magnificent dresses Rose created. One day Rose Bertin was summoned by the new Duchesse de Nevers - that invitation would be the start of a scandal that everyone would soon come to learn of.

Rose Bertin refused the Duchesse's invitation and it was a completely deliberate snob. The Duchesse de Nevers was not born among the nobility but had been an actress at the Opera. The Duc de Nevers had become so enchanted by her that he had decided to marry her - a scandal in itself. Even though being now fully a Duchesse with all the honours that came with the title, it was not enough to erase the "blot" of the actress-gone-Duchesse's past.

Rose Bertin

Rose Bertin absolutely refused to extend her services to the Duchesse which - obviously - made the Duchesse quite upset. She duly complained to the young Queen Marie Antoinette who reprimanded her "minister of fashion" and ordered her to apologize.

There was no avoiding a royal order, so Rose Bertin made her apologizes. But she was far from happy about it and decided to show her displeasure by spending the next 6 weeks in bed!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Vocabularies: Understanding Your Versailles

Since it has been more than two centuries since the royal family left Versailles, some of the words and phrases used in the day has gone out of use. Especially fashion was immensely complicated and it is hardly surprising that there existed several expressions retaining to a single subject.

Hats and Headdresses


Gentlemen's Hairstyles