Table of Contents
18th Century Fashion - Marie Antoinette Era
The eighteenth century became famous in the history due to chronicles of grand sunsets of the royal dynasties and tragic revolutions. Female attractiveness was delicate and mannered. The ideal female figure recognized the similarities with porcelain figurine. Eyebrows of these beautiful ladies were remarkably elevated, nose and lips were small, face was round and eyes were big and expressive. Their delicate fingers were slender and thin, because they did not work physically.
In the eighteenth century, the history of fashion as the history of France has also become revolutionary. The end of royal dynasties was the beginning of the new fashion style in the society. This century gave us the introduction of absolutely new directions in fashion. Marie Antoinette was an ideal role model of many people in that time when women were regarded as only housewives and had not much respect in society. Surprisingly, she was able to bring his labor radical changes in fashion. For over 200 years, her name is revered in the fashion, it delights historians and writers. The extravagant style that was created by this woman still inspires designers all over the world. Marie Antoinette inspired Sofia Carmina Coppola for the creation of the film about this strong woman. In 2006, the film was shown for the first time and gathered a huge audience during first and next shows. The life of this woman staggered by her tragic ending, but her character is famous for incredible stamina and perseverance.
The future famous fusionist was the last child in the Austrian royal family. In 1765, very young Marie lost her father. After his death, the control of the state passed to her mother. The empress of Austria has been very successful in life. She was both an incredible ruler and a caring mother. Marie Teresa ensures decent future for her children, especially for the youngest daughter. Parents bring up Marie Antoinette as the head of the court from childhood. It was difficult for her to understand that the disappointment and defeat were due to her life experience. The girl learned to manage to stay confident among the thousands of eyes aimed at her. The nature of the future queen became careless and frivolous. The young lady could not boast of very beautiful looks, but she could always maintain a conversation. When the future queen went to France at fifteen, she strongly believed that due to her charm she will achieve such heights that she wished. As a spoiled girl, Marie Antoinette believed that thanks to her charming nature France would fall at her feet. Therefore, the bride, gathering all her dowry, boldly went to her groom. Among the gifts there were especially valuable was a tiny watch from gold. She received it from her mother. A gorgeous wedding procession led by prince's grandfather met Maria like a real queen. The then present King of France Louis XV, who was reputed as a great connoisseur of women, was satisfied. He made the choice of the bride for his grandson by himself. The princess was so lovely and charming. She certainly should have been great in the role of French queen. However, the groom has disappointed the young lady. As an awkward and silly boy, Louis, an awkward and silly boy, was interested in tasty food more than in anything else in the world. However, it was not the reason for Marie Antoinette to reject the awaited crown. Moreover, the groom was in awe of the princess. After many years, Louis’ love to his wife was so strong like on the day of their first meeting.
The wedding ceremony was held on May 16, 1770. During the procession through the streets of the capital, the delighted crowd cheered toasts for the royal couple. All the women in France were jealous of Mary at that day. But not everything went smoothly during the ceremony. Many people died in the crowd trying to get to free treats. People thought it was a bad sign for Marie and Louis. However, the couple did not show fear of the events that took place during the wedding. They had fun as they could. Even in 1774 when Louis XV has died. The young royal couple got the throne, but it was not enough to make them refuse the bad habits. The king still loved a square meal and good rest. And the queen was fond of nightlife in the cheerful company. Even when Marie had children, she had no time for them.
She always loved to have pleasure. Travelling and entertainment at the party were her passions. The husband humbly pleased her any request and whim despite the fact that the treasury emptied. Fashion was her favorite and the most expensive hobby. New fashion, which was embodied by the queen attracted many fans in the palace and in the streets. Her hats could match the price of a real estate.
The frivolity of the ruling classes led to disastrous consequences in the country. People began to complain about the ruling power. However, it did not bother the royal family. They lived in an unreal world of their fantasy that was embodied for public funds. As for the rest of France, the Queen was indifferent to the poor segments of the population and had similar feelings to all other residents. People even began to make fun of the queen's greed.
The antics of the French royal family were soon to cross all the lines. This has led to an incredible outrage of Parisians. On October 5, Versailles was stormed by revolutionaries, and the next day, the royal family was arrested. Louis with wife and children spent two years in prison. Soon, loyalty to the royal family disappeared. Especially after Louis and Mary even made an attempt to escape once, but it was not successful. In January 1793, Louis heard his death sentence. His wife gave him so much warmth and tenderness before death as never bestowed being on the loose.
Life after the death of her husband was especially difficult for the imprisoned queen. After the son was taken away from her, she tried to occupy herself with something. Eventually, she found the only possible pastime in the cage weaving from the threads of torn curtains. Marie Antoinette was also sentenced to death. She morally held herself to the end even by being polite to her executioner. In such a way, the short life of the Austrian girl has broken.
French fashion has been popular in all ages in many countries. Until the 16th century, the French were not really trying to develop their fashion. Their outfits largely resembled those worn by the inhabitants of Italy and Spain. French tailors began to plan and implement their own ideas only in the late 16th century. Though, their models still could not be awarded the title of fashion trends of the time.
French men's suit in the early 18th century consisted of underwear. It also included a camisole. Shirts were decorated with lace jabot and cuffs. Doublet was well down on the waist and extended to the bottom. Over time, the jacket was shortened gradually.
The next element of fashionable clothing in France was tails. It had features such as sloping fields, a small collar and narrow sleeves. The tailcoat was bound to adhere to the hips. It was made mostly of velvet and silk. The tailcoat had typical lush finish and sometimes embroidery. In the future, men wore tails combining it with the jacket, white stockings, pantaloons and stylish flat shoes. Later the famous English coat came. It was typically made of cotton or wool. In addition, it was different from the French coat, because it was double-breasted and had a particular turn-down collar.
Fashionable clothes at the time were considered to coat. Often they were made with fur lining. At the same time, scarves came into fashion. They were made of white muslin or linen. They were tightly wrapped around men’s necks. Key chains attached to chains or braided laces to men’s belts. As for hairstyles, men used wigs. They curled into the side and laid hair plait with a bow.
Women's clothing was also specific. The underskirt was a frame and consisted of whalebone hoops, or rings, made of metal. The second element was a hard cast. It was tightly laced back, tacked on to the corset and the skirt with buttons. The underskirt was later replaced with double hoops. The design of the skirt like two semi-domes for each hip joined at the waist with a ribbon. A new kind of dress later became kuntush. It was a single cut dress. It was narrow in the shoulders and fell to the wide frame along the hips.
The next dress was "Anglia". The basis of it was a curved silhouette. It was made with a special hair pads. The dress consisted of a direct collected skirts and a tight fitting bodice. Ladies’ breast cleavage was covered with a scarf. One option was to double payment. It was considered smart. The coat fastened on the breast, and the entire front part of the lower dress was open.
Hairstyles in the 70-80's were high and very complex. They can be called works of art. It was necessary to spend 2-3 hours in order to make the hairstyle. It was then showered with powder. Women's shoes had high heels. White or red shoes were the privilege of eminent women.
A new carefree era that followed the reign of Louis XIV firmly rooted in the fashion light elegant suits and dresses. The integral parts of the fashion were tall, powdered wigs, snow-white skin that women have gained with the help of the same powder, and tiny moles that emphasized the whiteness. Among French fusionists, the most popular were considered skirts on the frame of willow or whalebone, so-called "pannier". In the days of Marie Antoinette's society, ladies wore "pannier with the elbows" through a special frame, skirt with extended sides by acquiring a characteristic symmetrical elevation. Corset bodice, which raises the breast making it more tempting, was very relevant not only in the 18th century but is popular today, too.
The Queen Marie Antoinette was remembered in history for her fashionable clothes and luxurious hairstyles. Modern hairstyles took their start in the aristocratic 18th century France. Of course, now there are used more modern tape hair extensions, prices for which are available not only to the rich, but also to ordinary citizens. The victims of human cruelty are staying meaningless long in the memory as if reminding us of their own folly and imperfection. Of course, the behavior of Marie Antoinette had lapses that allegedly led her to the guillotine. However, they seem completely irrelevant to the circumstances of fatal history of France, the country where the young Austrian princess was destined to take the crown.
Many new trends in the world fashion owe French Queen Marie Antoinette, who had the reputation of this trendsetter. In particular, Marie Antoinette is known in French history as a passionate lover of finery. She has introduced high fashion for hairstyles that sometimes reach a height of over a meter. Ladies adorned their hair by various parts: feathers, flowers, ribbons, jewels, being almost better decoration for woman than her outfit. In addition, with a light hand of the French Queen, the pad came into vogue. It is a kind of a pad just below the waist in the back bottom of the skirt. Thanks to this "cushion", there was deliberately created a silhouette of the convex lower body.
Bourgeois society emerging in France and neighboring Britain called for a new fashion. The answer of the unjustified luxury of the aristocracy was the creation of new styles and silhouettes, which were built on practicality and comfort. Democratization of fashion company owes bought the United Kingdom. The formation of a new class, the bourgeoisie, resulted in the emergence of clothing that was no longer a symbol of social status. In contrast to the sheen of the aristocracy, such clothes sewed from much more democratic fabric: satin, silk and fine embroidery replaced practical woolen fabrics, and skirts were in concise and simple forms.
The last decades of the eighteen century marked a new trend in the culture - the advent of neo-classical style, which influenced not only fashion but also art, architecture, and sculpture. Thanks to neo-classicism, antique style included in fashion, the return to the classical canon took place. Pannier skirts along with corsets virtually disappeared from the female wardrobe, but they were replaced by strict and concise fashion designs mostly of plain fabrics.
A distinctive feature of women's dress of the late eighteen century became restrained, simple silhouette and narrow skirt with high waist contrasted with the lush skirts on the frame that were in fashion some two decades ago. Gradually, women refused to wear high heels in favor of much more practical and comfortable shoes on a flat sole.
In Versailles of the eighteen century reined not perfume aroma but a completely different "flavor", made up of smells of unwashed bodies, decaying food and waste products of humans and animals. However, nobody paid attention to that smell. So, the new standards of hygiene that were brought by Marie Antoinette from Austria became the first sources of confusion and distrust of the court. Every day, she took a bath, to which was added a mixture of sweet almonds, pine nuts, flax seed, and marshmallow root and lily bulbs. Instead of a sponge, the queen used a small bag of bran. Perfect hygiene demanded of Marie Antoinette and her court and soon her entourage jokingly called her "perfume of the yard." In addition, Marie Antoinette, a trendsetter in all directions of graceful life, was the first one to use revolutionary for its time perfume. Floral fragrances were unusual for that era when people preferred heavy animalistic smells.
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In honor of the great Marie Antoinette, designers organize exhibitions and fashion shows. In the Palace of Versailles, from July 8 to October 9, 2011, in the apartment of the Queen in the Grand Trianon Museum Galliera, the fashion magazine ‘Vogue’ held an exhibition entitled "LE XVIIIÈME AU GOÛT DU JOUR" ("XVIII century in the spirit of our times"). The exhibition was devoted to the effect of eighteenth century, namely Madame de Pompadour, Marie Antoinette and the ladies of the Enlightenment, had on modern fashion. The exhibition featured about 50 models of famous fashion designers. Style of clothing and accessories of the eighteenth century was embodied in the works of fashion designers of our time. Dior dressed the models in gorgeous ladies toilets, Christian Lacroix dressed up the queens in brocade embroidered with stones, Thierry Mugler used concealed under their clothes huge pannier - frames of wicker or whalebone to make women's dresses curvaceous.
This woman conquered not only France but the whole world by her gentle and cheerful temper. Marie Antoinette is the muse for writers and filmmakers. Her extravagant outfits inspired designers around the world.