Marie Antoinette’s style is making a return to fashion, and it is easy to recreate.
Okay, a quick history lesson… Marie Antoinette was the Queen of France and was executed along with her husband, King Louis XVI, during the French Revolution in the 17th century. She lived at the Palace of Versailles, mainly in her own holiday house, where she lived the life of luxury, far away from the gates of Paris. Her husband assigned her the task of entertaining the courts, and so the Queen organised theatrical performances and revived the grand balls. Fashion was her main priority and she had dresses made for her daily with the help of her dressmaker Rose Bertin. Her hairdresser, Leonard, helped create her wigs that were adorned with feathers. The style of Marie Antoinette is making new appearances in fashion today in Christian Dior’s Fall/Winter 2014-15 collection and Alexander McQueen’s 2015 Paris fashion show.
The Newsroom breaks down the main elements of Marie Antoinette style for easy recreation:
Wide skirts with corsets were already à la mode when Marie Antoinette came to court but she took it one step further. The more time she spent in court, the wider her dresses got. Paniers (French for baskets) were worn under already wide skirts to give the illusion of wide hips and curves.
The Newsroom spoke to fashion designer and stylist Emma Hale for tips on recreating the Marie Antoinette style.
“Corsets of course give the immediate effect of a slimmer waist. However you can wear a higher-waisted skirt or a pair of culottes (high-waisted loose pants) that is slimming and fitted around the waist line that then falls wider under the waist giving the look of a big booty, hence a smaller waist.”
Although Marie Antoinette loved floral, Ms Hale warned against overdoing the look.
“Don’t go overboard. Choose one floral piece (eg. a skirt) and make that the hero. Work your accessories around that,” she said.
“It’s not all about pink and purple ‘pretty’ floral anymore. Try a darker tone in a navy or grey, don’t mix prints. One floral pattern is all that’s needed!”
Our way: high-waisted skirts are used in these pictures; the light pink dress has delicate floral lace stitched onto a light pink material.
Although big hair was already the trend at French courts, Marie Antoinette once again remoulded it by having it three-feet above her head and decorating it with feather bows. To achieve this height, she placed a wire mesh around her head.
Joanne Aflak, hairdresser at Escapade, says that using heat is the best way to get voluminous hair like Marie Antoinette’s.
“Depends on the way that you style and blow-dry your hair, it does not matter at all whether you put the hair up or not. Use a shampoo and conditioner that strips the hair of natural oils so it stands up better at the roots.”
I also recommend using a Good Hair Day (GHD) to flick your hair and as you blow-dry your hair, lift your brush at the roots and a volumising serum to finish.”
Lush’s Big Shampoo to add volume
Julia Graf, a beauty and make-up YouTuber with more than 766,000 subscribers, recommends keeping as much volume in the hair as possible.
“This look is not about freshly washed hair, a braid at the top of your head adds volume and I used a lot of hairspray to make sure everything was nice and secure,” she said.
It is true that Marie Antoinette had a vast amount of clothes. She loved luxury and that was no exception when it came to her clothes. During the 2015 Paris Fashion Week, Alexander McQueen reflected her penchant for wearing accessories in this dress.
“You need to get the balance right,” Hale said. “If you are layering necklaces, the balance of how many and the sizing of the necklaces is crucial. A graduated effect is good. Don’t layer huge chunky pieces unless it’s with very thin pieces,” Hale stressed it was pivotal to strike the right balance with your accessories; wearing more than three to four necklaces will risk looking overloaded.
She also encouraged people to experiment with metallics.
“Mixing gold and silver is on trend at the moment, it’s okay if you threw in a little bit of silver if you’re normally a gold girl. Try this with some rings!”
From a young age, Marie Antoinette wore pearls all over her body – everything from her headband to the sleeves of her dress, were encrusted with the timeless jewel.
While it is clear Marie Antoinette loved pearls, Emma advises not to wear it carelessly.
“Pearl earrings with an on-trend tailored look (blazer, midi skirt etc) is amazing. This is not a casual accessory!” she said.
If you’re wearing a pearl necklace your style should be reflecting a Gatsby kind of vibe.”
Following Emma’s advice, a simple pearl bracelet can resonate Marie Antoinette’s style:
By following these simple techniques anyone can emulate Marie Antoinette’s style, just like the runways of Paris! — Nadya Joun
Top image – detail of Marie Antoinette with a rose by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun 1783, a portrait housed in Versailles.
In article photos taken by Nathan Davies