Daily Archives: July 13, 2011

Fashion at Versailles: Vivienne Westwood’s Courtesans

The delightfully subversive Vivienne Westwood will be among the designers showcasing their work at Marie Antoinette’s old stomping ground, the Grand Trianon, for an exhibition put on by Musee Galliera.  “Le XVIII au goût du jour” or “A Taste of the 18th Century” runs through October 9th if you’re lucky enough to be near Versailles.  Other than Westwood’s courtesans, you’ll see Watteau-style robes à la française by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel,  embroidered  motifs typical of the 18th century by Christian Dior and Pierre Balmain,  and Olivier Theyskens’s for Rochas invocation of the ghost of Marie Antoinette in a Hollywood film. 

Dare I entice you more?

Look familiar?  I do believe Mme Pompadour would approve.

Long influenced by 17th and 18th centuries, Westwood is known to reinterpret designs of the period.  She uses her trademark tailoring, inspired by authentic cutting principles, to produce a collision of the historical and modern.  The Boucher corset, featuring a print of the 1743-5 painting, Daphnis and Chloë, is apparently eminently comfortable due to the use of flexible fabric.  My dear Marie Antoinette: who knew?

Westwood is also well known for the Watteau gown from her 1996 Spring & Summer Colllection.

Westwood on her collection Portrait & the Wallace Collection paintings: