Friday, 24 July 2015

Lolita reads: Queen of fashion.

Last time I reviewed fiction. This time it's time for a little bit of fact as we educate ourselves on the wardrobe of Marie Antoinette, with Caroline Weber's Queen of Fashion, what Marie Antoinette wore to the revolution. We follow her journey from the modest Austrian Arch duchess to the Queen of France and finally on the steps of the Guillotine. 

The book isn't written like traditional biography though the timeline does follow Marie Antoinette's life chronologically.  The writer puts the fashion choices of the queen in to historical context but is more concerned with the actual dresses and the evolution of her style than telling the story of the French revolution. 

Sometimes the text jumps back and forth which is a bit of bother but not big enough to ruin the book for me. 

Personally I like the way the book is written. It's easily understandable and nice to read and not too scientific making it a fun read for everybody.  I especially enjoy the descriptions of The Grand Mogol and the queen's gowns during the first phase of the revolution. 

"Exotically named  the Grand Mogol, in reference to putatively luxury-loving Asiatic grandee, her boutique boasted large windows filled wit displays that were designed to divert foot traffic from Palais Royal. With their artistic  arrangements of bonnets, shawls, fans, spangles, furbelows, silk flowers, gemstones, laces and other accessories, the displays set up a bewitching siren's song. Once lured inside, ushered through a door by liveried  footman, potential customers found themselves in a setting as luxurious as an aristocrat's salon." 

Doesn't it sound so much like depiction of  a lolita boutique's window displays and space? This is why I find this book so inspiring for lolitas. Our fashion was inspired by these times and the book paints them beautifully for us to gaze, with the help of numerous well picked illustrations that help one to imagine how everything would have looked. 

I do feel that this bookl isw most inspiring to lolita like me who enjoys the historical inspirations of lolita fashion more than the kawaii culture side of things. I find the fashion history in the book to be endlessly inspiring with the morbid details of the fashions of Guillotine survivors, the royal mourning customs and the idea of bringing a little bit of meaning to your outfits with well picked accessories. I even learned somethings I had not known previously. 

I could go on forever with how much I love this book but I shall just leave  you, gentle reader with another beautiful, if melacholy quote. 

"And so, shedding the ragged black dress in which she had faced her accusers, Marie Antoinette slipped in to her plum-black shoes, a fresh white underskirt and her pristine white chemise. To complete the ensemble  she put on  the white deshabille dress Madame Elisabeth had sent her from the Temple and the prettiest of her muslin fichus around her neck. She even removed the dangling black ribbons from her makeshift widow's coif, the result was a pared down ruffled linen bonnet as colourless as her hair. Paler then ever from her severe recent blood loss, the queen became a figure of pure, radiant white. " 

Madame Parapluie

P.S. If you have any books you'd wish me to review leave your suggestions in the comments. I am always happy to receive book recommendations. 


  1. I loved this book, too! I was so close to tears when I read the paragraph you quoted above. I also found the post-guillotine fashions really inspiring.

    1. It is indeed one of the most tear inducing things I have ever read and yet so beautiful at the same time.

      I'd love to do coordinate with some post-guillotine fashion touches and have been mulling it over for several months actually. The idea still needs some work but soon...