Shoes for Marie Antoinette
Updated: Aug 29, 2018
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.” Galerie des modes was conceived during the final decades of the 1700s, a period when France was at the forefront of fashion innovation. To quote the historian James Laver at this time "fashionable clothes...meant French clothes." This supreme influence was undoubtedly strengthened by Queen Marie Antoinette as well as figures such as Rose Bertin (her dressmaker) and Monsieur Léonard Autié who were responsible for designing her iconic courtly wardrobe.
Today the original prints of Galerie are extremely rare as many of these original eighteenth century plates were destroyed during the course of the French Revolution, as owning objects associated with the decadence of the Ancien Régime implied political sympathies that put one’s life at risk. However enough of them exist on the wonderful world wide web to give me plenty of inspiration for the next set of shoes which will be for Marie Antoinette, with perhaps a few for Madame de Pompadour from the previous generation.