Tuesday, 23 June 2020

The King's Morbid Fascination

Kings, like everyone else, have their own preferments and fascinations. However, Louis XV had a particularly morbid fascination with a gloomy subject - death.

The king's displayed a continued fascination with death which made his company uneasy. Madame du Hausset was in particularly good position to give an insight into the king's private character. As Madame de Pompadour's maid-of-honour, she was with the two of them on more intimate occasions. In her memoirs, she recalled an incident when the king was traveling to Crècy where Madame de Pompadour would entertain him. On the way, the king spotted a few crosses and ordered his carriage (and those of his entourage) to come to a halt.
Louis then called a groom and asked him to go to the graveyard to see if there were any signs of new graves having been dug. The groom (probably perturbed) went to do as he was told and returned with an affirmative answer; indeed, three new graves had recently been dug. Madame du Hausset recalls that the ladies in his company were visibly disturbed but does not mention the king's reaction.

It would appear that this fascination was not a temporary whim. Madame de Pompadour told her ever-present du Hausset that the king "loved talking of death".  She was not the only one who noticed the king's strange conversation topics. The Duc de Cröy remarked that the king would sometimes change the subject of a conversation to death or the prayers said for the dying, even if the subjects had been markedly different.

Image illustrative de l’article Emmanuel de Croÿ-Solre
The Duc de Cröy - who noticed the king's
penchant for morbid topics of conversation

Death was everywhere in the 18th century; rampant infant mortality, recurring epidemics, brutal criminal punishments and a very limited medical knowledge all contributed to a society that was frequently visited by death. Judging by the reactions of Madame de Pompadour and her ladies, they had no particular fascination with the same subject despite living in the same reality as the king.

The king's interest might stem from his early childhood. Before Louis turned 5 years old, he lost his father, mother and older brother; he would then lose his great-grandfather and found himself the last of that branch. Perhaps the young boy became intrigued by that intangible thing that deprived him of his closest family?

It certainly would not be odd, especially considering that he would live to see a good deal of his friends and family die around him. His wife, two sons (including the heir, Louis Ferdinand), two daughters-in-law, three daughters, a grandson and two mistresses all died during his lifetime. It probably did not help that some had rather dramatic deaths; Madame de Châteauroux, for instance, died in violent cramps. Others died suddenly such as Madame Henriette, who had complained a little of feeling tired but not ill - she died three days later.
This - as well as almost entirely ineffective medical knowledge - could well explain another aspect of the king's interest. He would, occasionally, attribute certain looks on his courtiers to be a sign of their impending death. For instance, he once (in the hearing of the person in question) remarked that a gentleman looked particularly pale. The king concluded that he probably had just one month left to live in.

Louis XV

The odd thing was that while the king was deeply interested in mortality, he was also terribly afraid of dying. In his childhood, he had been drilled in the horrors of hell and the punishments awaiting  unrepenting sinners there. It is hardly surprising, then, that a king whose personal life was well-known for its pleasures would fear the punishment of an after-life. It was said, that during his nearly fatal illness at Metz, he had been plagued by horrific hallucinations of exactly these punishments "dancing on his bedside". It would seem that the king's morbid fascination was much like watching a train-wreck: disturbing to look at, but hard to look away from.

It is claimed that the king's own demise would be a result of his peculiar interest. When he was out riding, he passed a funeral cortege and rode up to the mourning. He asked who their dearly departed was and what he had died of; he was told that the deceased had died of the smallpox at which he allegedly started and immediately turned his horse around. Despite his prompt departure, he was soon struck with the same illness - and died from it.

Thursday, 26 March 2020

Film Fashion: Marie Antoinette (2006) - Marie Antoinette

The titular character - played by Kirsten Dunst - had over 60 costumes for this 2006-movie. The tones are ranging from the softest pastels to dark mourning, thus reflecting the dramatic journey of the ill-fated queen's life.

Since she had such an abundance of dresses, I have divided them according to colour.

Takes place: 1770-1789

Note! Not all of Kirsten's costumes are featured here

The Blues

Blue "Austrian" Gown

The first actual gown we see the character in, this gown serves as a contrast to the blue "French" gown. The fabric is not as delicate and looks a good deal warmer than the silky, French piece. The colours, too, are more muted but the silver threads on the bodice and edges gives it an air of elegance.

Marie Antoinette.   No suntan for this lovely girl.  And no wrinkles later on in life either....Kirsten Dunst in ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006).

Blue "French" Gown
Elegant, refined and the epitome of "French-ness" at this period in time, this blue gown is a good example of a travel ensemble for a lady. The chic tricorne hat and the trimmings are rich but still suitable for travelling; note the pet-en-l'air.

Sartorial Adventure — Costumes from Marie Antoinette (2006) (click to...

Marie Antoinette.

Marie Antoinette, Beginners: grande_caps — LiveJournal

Blue, Red-Belted Gown
A robe à l'Anglaise in a soft pastel blue with a contrasting belt in deep red. The ruffles on the bodice almost indicates a zone-look. When she runs down the corridor, the voluptuousness of the gown truly comes into its own with its flowing skirt.

Contrast Sash    Another beautiful contrasting sash - striking even from audience distance.

Blue Trianon Gown (with Ruffles)
Unlike the other gowns she wears at the Petit Trianon, this one is equipped with panniers. The fabric is very typical of the 1780's - vertical stripes and soft colours. Actually, the style of this dress seems to incorporate both the elaborate extravagance of the 1770's and the more relaxed one of the 1780's. The panniers, the ruffles and the bow is indicative of the first years Marie Antoinette spent in France whereas the striped fabric and very pale colours suits the "natural" air which she attempted to establish at her private retreat.


Marie Antoinette

Blue Robe à la Retroussée
At first glance, this wonderful gown might look like a Polonaise but it is indeed a retroussée - note the skirt has been (literally) hooked up at the back rather than being sewn that way. It would be a good example of an everyday-gown for a French dauphine. It is not overly decorated but retains a degree of elegance suitable for a young woman of her rank.

Must have information as well as tips about weddings?.Photo gallery

Blue Gown With Bows

There is something juvenile about this gown; whether it is the pink bows or simplicity in the blue silk, it evokes a feeling of youth and innocence. Note the decorative ribbon around her neck - tied in a bow, of course. 

Finally the back!!Trust your heart if the seas catch fire...

Blue Zone Gown
Worn while at the Petit Trianon, this is one of the rare zone-gowns used in the movie. The stomacher and petticoat are of monochrome white whereas the sleeves and bodice are very era-appropriate with its vertical stripes and pastel tones. Note how the fan matches perfectly.

New post on pretty-little-fools                              …Relaxing at Petit Trianon

The Pinks 

Pink Ruffle Gown
Almost cake-like, this gown is also incredibly youthful. Ruffles are plentiful and can be found at every part of the gown: the bodice, the sleeves, the skirt - even the ribbon around her neck is ruffled! The colour is one that Marie Antoinette was fond of in her youth.

Marie Antoinette - Publicity still of Kirsten Dunst

Green & Pink Striped Gown

Again, the vertical stripes are very characteristic of the age - even more so, because they are in different colours. A look into Marie Antoinette's actual wardrobe book shows fabrics of just such a variation. The accessories are very appropriate: a diamond necklace, plenty of ruffles and bows, feathers in the hat and a diamond-encrusted fan.

Marie Antoinette

 A First Look At Marie Antoinette’s Lavishly Restored Apartments In Versailles | British Vogue

Pink Feather Gown
One of the more iconic looks of this movie, is this spectacular ensemble of bright pink and a trim of white feathers. The plethora of feathers make it look almost fuzzy - especially when combined with a matching tricorne hat and a muff. The bodice is cut in a classic zone-look which is a bit too early for when that particular style came into fashion.

Marie Antoinette-ddpimages_00469365

Powerful in pink: The most iconic pink dresses on the big screen

Peach Gown
There is quite a lot of matching in this outfit. The vertical stripes of the bodice lays the foundation for the colour scheme with the ruffles and petticoat being a slightly darker tone. Note that the flowers (orchids?) incorporates all the shades of peach. However, the colour scheme seems to wash out Kirsten a bit - which could very well be on purpose. After all, the scene in which she wears it, shows how frustrated and vulnerable she feels in her marriage.

Marie Antoinette

Light Pink Gown
A very light pastel gown of silk seems like a combination of the queen's Petit Trianon style and the more formal Versailles-style. Silk was a stable at Versailles whereas the simplicity was characteristic of Petit Trianon. The floral wreath on her head is accurate too - many portraits of the time show the sitter wearing such an accessory. 


Marie Antoinette (2006)

The Greens

Green Trianon Gown
Not only is this gown simple, it almost seems like a riding-gown with the cut of the bodice. Such a lack of decoration is perfect for Trianon; even without the trappings of the court, she looks regal and elegant.

Pale Green Dress - Marie Antoinette foto (32456944) - fanpop

Pale Green Dress - Marie Antoinette Photo (32456947) - Fanpop

The Yellows

Pink & Yellow GownAnother cake-like gown, this gown perfectly shows the fondness for colour-contrasting of the 18th century. The pink is very bright and would perhaps not have been quite so strong in the 1770's whereas the yellow is the perfect shade. Note, in particular, how the pink has been continued in the trimming of the bodice and the neckline. 

Marie Antoinette dress, Rococo dress, 18th century dress, Movie dresses, Rococo clothing, Historical

Yellow Gown
This yellow robe à l'Anglaise is made from a patterned silk in a lovely, yellow colour. The straw hat is absolutely gorgeous - the border, especially, is very stylish. Note that the hat has also been adorned with feathers, a bow and lace around the crown.

 Modern hat - cool image

The Florals

White Floral Gown I
A robe à l'Anglaise in a silk fabric with delicate flowers. The closed bodice is emphasized by the ruffles and - primarily - the blue ribbons added to the ruffles. Note that the ribbon around her neck matches. The hat incorporates both the blue and red elements which is quite a nice touch.

Like the neck ribbons as inexpensive accessories. Also, these kinds of red gloves might be a "match Valmont" accessory.Strawberry Dress-Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette. A movie directed by Sofia Coppola in 2006. I absolutely adore the beauty of this movie.

White Floral Gown II
Unlike most of her other costumes, the petticoat is in a different fabric than the overlaying skirt - the white silk petticoat perfectly matches the gloves. Note the border at the hem of the petticoat; it consists of ruffles made from the same fabric as the bodice and skirt.

Marie Antoinette

Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

Floral Gown
By first glance, the fabric chosen for this gown seems to have been inspired by the walls of the queen's bedchamber, just in slightly softer tones.

The Whites

White Silk Gown
When you look a little closer, it becomes apparent that the gown is not completely white; a very small amount of turquoise ribbon has been added to the border of the ruffles. Again, the ruffles are used to make a zone-look.

Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006). Costume Designer: Milena Canonero.Best Movie Hair of All Time:  Marie Antoinette (2006) Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette | allure.com

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Birthday Gown
This gown is remarkably simple considering the occasion it is worn for; one would expect a bit more extravagance from the queen's birthday gown. The whiteness of the silk bodice and overskirt is nicely contrasted by the sharp turquoise; the pink flowers and feathers brings a little more life into the ensemble.

Trust your heart if the seas catch fire...Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette

White Gown
This gown is the epitome of Petit Trianon. The white muslin fabric has a far more natural feeling than the often stiff silks of court life at Versailles. The colours, too, shows a return to the natural tones loved by the queen. Even the lack of decoration (neither hat, jewels nor bows) screams a break from the traditional court gowns.

Marie Antoinette

Chemise à la Reine
Considering the influence this type of dress had in her life, it is shown very little in the movie. The white muslin and the over-hanging neckline is characteristic of the style - as is the sash at the waist. Usually, the sash would have been in a slightly sharper colour but due to the lighting, it cannot be seen clearly.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

The Blacks

Mourning Gown (with sash)
A very simple gown worn with a sky-blue sash. It seems to me to be the same gown worn when the king and queen watches the coffin of their eldest son drive away - but without the sash and with a large, mourning hat.

Dressed in Black: 17th and 18th Century | Frock Flicks

treasure for your pleasure: marie antoinette

Black Opera Gown
This gown is a bit too 21st century, as is the "mask". The entire skirt seems to be made from black gauze whereas the bodice seems to have been adorned with sequins - a bit too modern. This could very well be intentional but from a historical perspective, it is not very realistic.

Marie Antoinette / Kirsten Dunst. costume design by Milena Canonero.My favorite woman in history to study!! Haters may hate, but Marie Antoinette was a rock star ahead of her time.

Black Ermine Gown
Worn for the infamous interaction between Marie Antoinette and Madame du Barry, the gown is very simple. Black fabric (possibly velvet) is lined with the regal ermine. Usually, ermine was seen on the official portraits of royalty - perhaps it was chosen to emphasize the difference in rank between the two women?

2009 Costume Projects | Page 2 | Jedi Council Forums

Ermine Collar Dress | Marie antoinette, Marie antoinette 2006 ...

Mourning Gown
This black zone-gown is the first mourning gown worn by Kirsten and it is absolutely beautiful. It is very true to history that the mourner wore no jewels; however, Kirsten appears to be wearing pearl earrings.

Kirsten Dunst in ‘Marie Antoinette’ (2006).

The Goldens & Champagnes

Wedding Gown
The design is very true to an 18th century wedding gown - except for the fabric. Cloth-of-silver was usually chosen for a royal bride but the fabric cannot be properly reconstructed. In lieu of the original fabric, this champagne-coloured silk is very fitting. The fact that the gown is a robe à la Française is quite symbolic.
There is one thing that would have been different: jewels. Jewellery (primarily diamonds) were usually sewn onto the gown to an immense degree and the actual wedding gown of Marie Antoinette was no exception. The bodice in particular would have been very much adorned.

the-garden-of-delights: Kirsten Dunst in the title role of Marie Antoinette (2006).Marie Antoinette, 2006 Kirsten Dunst in an opulent three-quarter-sleeve gown with bow details and large panniers by Milena Canonero.

Because I want dance like this, escape from the party to frolic in fields of lavender and then fall to the ground with laughter.  :)

These Iconic Movie Wedding Dresses Will Take You Way, Way Back

Coronation Gown
This gown is a masterpiece of 18th-century elegance combined with 21st-century design. Sequins did not exist in the same manner and cloth-of-gold would have been more traditional for a coronation gown. The jewels are magnificent; the diamond necklace, the earrings and the massive aigrette are perfectly era-appropriate.
The gown would have been somewhat boring if it had not been for the addition of the golden trimmings. The choice of a white gown seems symbolic - a new start with a new king.

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Kirsten Dunst in the title role of Marie Antoinette (2006).Silver Hair Trend: Would You Try This Look for Your Locks?

Champagne Gown

Worn for a night of gambling with the king's brothers (and their wives) this dress is only seen briefly. It appears to be of a champagne tone with almost beige details and black bows.

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