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French Court Style – Marie Antoinette’s Paste, Diamonds, and Silk
06 / 21

 

Marie Antoinette’s Style Inspirations

 

Marie Antoinette, the Dauphine of France from 1770-74 and the Queen of France from 1774 until 1792, was a trendsetter as royals often were then, and some still are now (e.g. Kate Middleton). Princess Eugenie, Napoleon’s wife and Empress of France (1853-70) almost one hundred years later, was somewhat obsessed with Marie Antoinette’s style. Eugenie collected items that belonged to her, commissioned diamond pins that were based upon Marie Antoinette’s dress ornaments and posed for a portrait in 18th century dress said to be similar to one of Marie Antoinette’s. The Empress was not alone. Other women in the 19th century were also enamored with her style and collected paste buckles, memorial rings, and lockets from her reign.(1)

 

We are still obsessed with the romance and the extravagance of Marie Antoinette’s style. Prices continue to soar for jewelry from the period as well as items purported to have been owned by her. Last year a pair of her white silk mules, adorned with tri-colored silk ribbon, sold for $57,000 at auction in Toulon, France.

 

Below is a collection of evening shoes inspired by her style. They include actual examples of 18th century evening slippers, a few from French designers circa 1950/60 (Roger Vivier for Dior), and a handful from current designers that we think represent the spirit of her style: studded with “strass”, woven with lace, and adorned with silk flowers.

 

 

Style Cues: Marie Antoinette


 

 

Item of the Week: Paste Buckle Cuff in Versailles Blue

 

We’ve created a modern collection that incorporates the beautiful workmanship and sparkle of the 18th and 19th century paste shoe buckle and the color and luxury of Alligator. The latest addition to our Spun Sugar Bracelet collection is the Antique & Modern: Georgian Paste Buckle and Alligator Cuff Bracelet in Versailles Blue. Keep reading and we think you’ll see the connection.

Georgian Paste Buckle on Alligator Cuff

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Marie Antoinette’s Style Portrayed via Film

 

The most recent incarnation of Marie Antoinette by Hollywood was in 2006, directed by Sophia Coppola and staring Kirsten Dunst as the Dauphine. It is worth watching for the extravagant, candy-colored imagery alone. You can see why the film won the Academy Award for best costume design. Annie Leibovitz, in another feast for the eyes, captured a slightly edgier version of Kirsten as Marie Antoinette for Vogue, in September of the same year. It’s worth taking a minute to see the entire layout still available on their site.

 

 

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2006

 

 

Items of the Week: Antique Paste Earrings and Vintage Diamond Rings

 

Marie Antoinette was not only famous for her style but also infamous for the amount of sparkle she managed to incorporate into her wardrobe. You may not know that she liked to mix her paste jewels in with her diamonds and other precious gems. She literally sparkled from her head, pinning paste pieces into her sky-high hair, to her toes (paste buckles on her shoes).

 

 

Antique Paste Earring on Blue Ribbon

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Why not take a style cue from Marie Antoinette and mix antique paste and vintage diamonds? Wear our Antique: Double Collet-Set Antique Paste in Silver, Drop Earrings, with a stack of your favorite vintage diamond rings on your first finger. Browse through our Stacking Rings Collection.

 

 

Vogue Shoot by Annie Leibovitz Topic the film Marie Antoinette

Photographed by Annie Leibovitz, Vogue, September 2006

 

A Vintage Diamond Ring on a Candy Stick

 

 

 

Vintage Diamond Rings on a Candy Stick

 

© Copyright Sugar et Cie 2013

 

 

Sources

(1) “Jewellery in the Age of Queen Victoria,” by Charlotte Gere, Judy Rudoe, The British Museum.

H1: Evening Shoes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, House of Dior, 1957, Designer: Roger Vivier (French, 1913–1998).

H2: Slippers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1780–89, European, Medium: Silk.

H3: Slippers, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 1720–39, France, Medium: Silk and Leather.

H4: Evening Shoes, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, House of Dior, 1960, Designer: Roger Vivier (French, 1913–1998).

C1: Flora, by Charlotte Olympia.

C2: Swan, by Manolo Blahnik at Barney’s.

C3: Embroidered Lace Point-Toe Halter Pump, by Rene Caovilla at Bergdorf Goodman.

C4: Pigalle Strass, by Christian Louboutin. CL appears to be a fan of the sparkle of paste – Strass is the French word which translates to paste, also associated with the jeweler that developed its reputation for quality in 18th c. France.

C5: Au Hameau, by Christian Louboutin. The silver is sold out, but a gold version is available at Barney’s. CL appears to also be a fan of Versailles/Marie Antoinette. Hameau de la Reine was built for her.

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