Marie Antoinette VI

First issued during the reign of Marie Antoinette, the fashion and costume plate series Galerie des Modes et Costumes Français has been called “the most beautiful collection in existence on the fashions of the eighteenth century.” Produced at intervals in the 1770s the plates depicted real-life ensembles worn by French elegantes in Paris or the Royal Palace at Versailles at a time when France was at the forefront of fashion.

The shape of the shoe, typical throughout the 1700s, has an exaggerated toe point and a high heel tucked well under the arch helping enhance the impression of small, delicate feet.

The decoration of these shoes is highly elaborate and reflects the Rococo exuberance of the era.  I have worked from two sea-themed fashion plates which provide many ideas that I have interpreted with impressed & applied patterns and coloured glazes, with platinum then being the precious metal of choice to highlight details of the shoes.  Beads along the top edge follow the sea theme in mother of pearl.  The shell and coral decoration from the man’s costume is reproduced as an enamel decal on the toe and over the instep is an ornate Rococo style cartouche which ‘frames’ the decoration. 

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