Marie Antoinette – beloved, condemned, and brimming with charisma, yet throughout the years our icon never lost her penchant for sublime style. The darling Dauphine of France lived a tumultuous life; a trendsetter by nature with wildness stitched in her heart, and an adoration for fine food, fabulous affairs, and fashion. This is a queen who lived in lavish regal excess and it showed in her forays of fashion; glamorous gowns piled from tiers of pastel silks, enormous floppy hats adorned with feathers, bouffant hair towering three feet in the air, and perfectly powdered porcelain skin. Even after her fall from grace she looked fabulous with her iced white hair and brooding black ribbons.
A controversial queen she may be, yet Marie Antoinette is a multi-faceted figure, a melody of moods just like all women. There is a prism of darkness and light that darts and shines. Strength, dignity, and courage have all been attested to her character. Invoke your inner queen and blaze your own trail with these daring inspired fashion trends from the original lady of luxury…
High Volume Hair
Big is beautiful and when it comes to hair you can be inspired by Marie Antoinette to stand three foot taller. The glorious queen adored taking her hairstyles to dizzying new heights. Big hair was the fashion in French courts when she arrived from Austria, yet our daring queen wanted to stand taller and bolder than all those around her.
Leonard Autie was the humble barber brought from the south of France into the queen’s favor, and it was he who helped tease and scallop and spray Marie Antoinette’s hair into the perfect pouf. It is rumored that on his first calling to the queen’s parlor that he arrived a little tipsy and went bright and bold with the yard-high heap of curls, ostrich feathers, red rubies and pink bows. Fortunately, the statement queen adored it.
Embrace your own high ambitions by teasing your hair into several different styles. Think backcombing at the crown, tumbling bouncy curls, peacock feathers, pearls, and other gorgeous accessories.
Bold Beauty Marks
Dignified until her death, Marie Antoinette also had a playful side that she wasn’t afraid to invoke. The youthful countenance of her beauty mark adds to her striking style and has been in vogue for many years. Even Hollywood poster child Marilyn Monroe followed suit with her own faux beauty mark. In ancient times, Romans would replicate a fake beauty mark – as they were believed to be the touch of jealous gods – marking out those who were too beautiful for our mortal plain from this source.
In the time of Marie Antoinette, faux beauty marks or mouche’s as they were called, were used to communicate secret messages in the court of love. The placement of your mark could tell suitors whether you were an open or discreet flirt, and whether a breakup was on the horizon.
To add your own beauty mark or mouche, stay within the lines of your natural coloring. Blazing redheads can use rusted browns, and for deep brunettes – a chocolate colored kiss can work wonders. Don’t feel bound by the simple dot, Marie Antoinette wasn’t afraid to be vivacious with diamond shapes and little love hearts.
The Simple Chemise
Layers of luscious loose muslin, free and flowing, before being slightly pinched in with a silk sash at the waist – this is the splendor of the simple chemise a la reine. This simplistic style of dress took the world by storm and was introduced by Marie Antoinette in the 18th century.
There was a cry of scandal around the chemise, those of the court were outraged that the young queen had dropped the dramatic dress of the time and took it as another sign of her rebellion. Upon seeing the painting commissioned by Vigée-Lebrun of the queen in her new dress, the public were also shocked believing that Marie Antoinette had consented to being painted in her undergarments.
When you want to embrace a soft and simple side of femininity you can adapt a similar look. Bohemian style flowing cream or ivory dresses paired with bare feet and a straw-hat captures the innocence of life in the Petit Trianon.
Pretty in Pastel
As delicate and divine as a box of French macaroons seems to be the color scheme at play in Marie Antoinette’s wardrobe – especially at the height of her reign. Soft and dreamy pinks, gentle sky blues, buttery yellows, and intricate white lace were just a few shades selected for the dazzling queen.
Deeper russet colors of plums and rouge were kept for the mistress of the Versailles. Later during Marie Antoinette’s time of condemnation, she wore humble gowns of white with black sashes. To capture the enigmatic queen during her lively reign, pick dresses with simple block pastel coloring. Another modern way of invoking the fun side of femininity is selecting dresses with bright and large floral prints.
Marie Antoinette adored the haughty touch of embellishment when it came to high fashion. It is said she would often order dozens of pastel gloves scented with hyacinth, four pairs of pretty heels a week, and the most extraordinary hair ornaments even including a sailing ship drifting through her piled high curls.
Take a cue from the Dauphine of France by investing in large floppy hats, adding gems to your hair, and pearls to your neck. Just a touch of
sparkle, a few good costume pieces of jewelry, and fashion choices edged with lace, silk or bows could be just the style for amping up your beloved queen look.
During the time of her reign, French queens were said to have no political role to play. Marie Antoinette gifted herself the power of visible autonomy through her fashion choices, it was how she carved her identity into her new homeland. These are the actions of a rebellious heart, a desire not to be tied down or placed in a box. Marie Antoinette gives us a vision of freedom, of life, love and Liviara.