Thursday, 11 March 2010

Iconic fashion in film – Marie Antoinette by Sofia Copolla (2006)

“Let them eat cake!” was what Marie Antoinette is said to have uttered before her autocratic downfall, and this must have stuck in Sofia Copolla’s mind when she directed the film. Put simply, it's good enough to eat. Decadent, coquettish and in a rainbow of delicious ice-cream hues – pistachio, cream, rose, coral and baby blue – the fashion is the star of the show.

A romantic, impressionistic vision of eighteenth-century France, the film captures the beauty and sumptuousness of the era through Marie Antoinette’s eyes. As soon as she enters the court of Versailles we are transported to her world of staggering richness and grandeur – gluttonous feasts, exquisite decor and the airs and social graces of France’s elite. Heavily structured court dresses – as required by Louis XIV – with their tiny corseted waists, voluminous hips and bustled bumrolls were enriched with rich, tactile fabrics the colour of sweet macaroons – a modern twist to traditional regal shades of royal blue, deep red and gold. Quirky prints such as strawberries, floral and gingham peeked through too, while décolletages were lined with ruffles and appliqué blooms; bows, ribbons, lace, fur and twinkling embroidery adorning the remainder of the dress.

The accessories were equally lovely. Marie Antoinette’s strawberry blonde curls were adorned with flowers, butterflies and giant feathers, while precious stones and hand-tied ribbon looped her neck. And the shoes – oh, the shoes. Each exquisite heel was a work of art. You wanted to reach forward and touch every piece; wear it; play dress-up and twirl around your castle imagining you're your very own Dauphine of France.

Even the men had a New Romantic twist, with full-sleeved, ruffle-front pirate shirts and brocade style jackets and over-the-knee boots. Gold braiding and guilded buttons finishing their decadent look – very Adam Ant.

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