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Chemise a la Reine:
Transcript of Chemise a la Reine:
Scandal and Revolution
We hate you, but we want to be you
VIVA LA REVOLUTION!
So What is a Chemise a la Reine and Why are People Wearing Underwear in Public?
The term Chemise a la Reine came from this scandalous portrait of Marie Antoinette in the muslin gown. Many remarked that she looked like she was wearing underwear and so the term Chemise a la Reine was coined as a way to associate the "indecent" garment with the already unfavorable Queen.
The Chemise a la Reine was a dress inspired by an English peasant garment called a gaulle by Marie Antoinette
It was made of soft, white muslin imported from India
It is often paired with a muslin fichu and/or a colored sash
It is partly named due to the fact that it looks like the chemise - the undergarment worn by women back in the day. It has been described as a negligee style dress and one that softens the figure
The Assemblee at Versaille, September 7, 1789
The white dress became a symbol of virute, patriotism, and heroism during the French Revolution
It also became a standard in fashion during this time because of this symbol and because of the ban on luxorious fabrics like taffeta, velvet, and silk
Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
The English Duchess of Devonshire was a friend of Marie Antoinette as well as a major socialite and fashionista of her time
England tended to have simpler costumes than the French and the Chemise a la Reine (known as a gaulle) was popular there.
Historians say that the Chemise became popular in England after it was given as a gift by Antoinette.
Basically, even though the French Court hated Marie Antoinette and her fashion, they all clamored to imitate her.
This is especially prevalent in the first major fashion journal of the time "Le Journal de la mode et du gout"
This journal would provide commentary of trending fashions - which almost always were connected to the Queen - and it is this journal that helped to make the Chemise a la Reine a trendy costume during the 18th century 4 years after Marie Antoinette publicly presented the portrait of her in one was harshly criticized.
Madame du Barry
One of the biggest problems the French Court had with the Chemise a la Reine was that it defied class barriers due to its simplicity
For instance, Madame du Barry was a woman of low birth who illicitly acquired a noble title and claimed that she only wanted to wear the "dresses of white muslin" The ladies of the court felt that any woman could do this if the Chemise a la Reine became popular
Unlike the Duchess of Devonshire, Madame du Barry was a rival of Marie Antoinette's
Weber, Caroline. Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. New York: H. Holt, 2006. Print.
Chemise a la Reine
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(this book is really good!)
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