18th Century Costume Archives: Affair of the Necklace

Much creative license is taken with this gown, worn by Joely Richardson as Marie Antoinette in Affair of the Necklace, but it’s an amusing recreation so I thought we’d examine it anyway.  First of all, are those peacocks on bodice?  A golden cage in her hair? 

Antoinette was notorious for bringing whimsical fashions into style, wearing such props as birds, boats, and bows, often to towering effects.   Although restraint is applied here, I can’t help thinking Antoinette looks like a creamy, strutting cake.  And as for the golden lump of fabric upon her head? It resembles a turban gone horribly wrong, wrapped by a cackling opium eater (which begs the question: do delirious opium eaters cackle? *sigh* Another day, another curiosity!).  A brooch at her bosom, leafy engageants, and chandelier earrings complete the ensemble. 

By the by, I can’t wholeheartedly poke fun at the earrings as Girandole (a chandelier-esque style named after crystal-pendant candlabra wherein three oval stones dangle at the bottom, the middle being slightly lower than the outer two) earrings were popular during the 18th century.

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3 thoughts on “18th Century Costume Archives: Affair of the Necklace

  1. when i though i’ve seen all the possible gimmicks one can credit marie antoinette I watched “the affair of the necklace” and remained shocked about the living bird in her more than eccentric cage/hair ornament

    1. You’d think that bird in hair = bird pooping in hair. It’s too gross to imagine, but then again women who wore those high hairstyles sported them for a very long time so unless the hair was doused in scented powder (and even then), it would have an smelled BAD.

      Yes, Marie does get the nod for “fashion forward” in the 18th century! I think a good deal of her charm is her whimsy which reminds me: must watch that movie again.

      1. as far as i know, they smelled bad all the time, something very frequent with catholic people in the 18th century, so thanks good perfumes attenuated the overall heavy atmosphere… i think i should see the movie again too!

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