Versailles: French Fashion Revolutionized
By: Rylee Dahl
Sight-seeing is a must when traveling and a key factor when playing the part of a tourist. Being a tourist has a negative connotation but when visiting France, how can that possibly be a bad thing? While in France, ignoring history is impossible as your enveloped within it and having an interest in fashion might as well be the cherry on top of the perfect destination because Versailles is a skip, hop, and a train ride away.
Versailles is saturated in fashion history thanks to King Louis IV who built the palace from a getaway spot to a grandiose kingdom where his court also lived and had a strict dress code of “fabulously over the top.” This past Met Gala’s theme, “camp,” is greatly attributed to King Louis for his exaggerated wardrobe and luxury that gave Versailles its reputation. Although he revolutionized the luxe element of the monarchy, his grandson’s wife surpassed him as the style icon of the Eighteenth century.
Marie Antoinette is wildly misrepresented as the catalyst for the French revolution and never appreciated for the progression she created in fashion. Married at just fourteen and sent off to the capital of gossip vultures laced up in corsets, Marie was a fish out of water. Detached from the rest of the country on the exclusive estate, she viewed fashion as a creative outlet and an opportunity to assimilate.
Advancing in the style of rococo, pastels and florals became inspirations for the queen. Many of her trends are still very relevant today, such as pastel-colored hair, flower crowns, and beauty marks. As someone who would invite Marie Antoinette to my fantasy dinner party, I hoped to have somewhat redeemed the often-false opinions of the eternal style icon.
To wrap up this mini history lesson, Versailles is an absolute must, especially if your light reading consists of Vogue and Architectural Digest. To spend time at the birthplace of several style innovations, and probably the champagne towers, is a guaranteed way to get in touch with the Parisian within.