Some of the present day masquerade ball costumes have been inspired by extravagant personalities in history. One of them is the famous 18th century Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, a flashy, fashion addicted personality and lover of fun and parties. Her excesses fitted well with the monarchy in general, but not with the masses. With France becoming “La Republique Française” in a bloody revolution, she became the last Queen of France. But as masquerade ball fashion fans, we will focus on her legendary figure in the world of fashion.
In the 18th century, a Queen’s life was bound by a strict etiquette. To name just a few obligations, she was to have her make-up done in the presence of dozens of courtiers, be ready for “public display” at day long ceremonial duties, gracefully hold the King’s arm while strolling, etc. These constraints were not fun, and in Marie Antoinette’s case, the King’s lack of passion for her made things worse. She then had to escape the gloom and her romantic, naughty and at times childish nature drove her to the fun of the masquerade balls, gambling and theaters.
Another escape of Marie Antoinette from the “gloom” of the royal court was to retreat to the Petit Hameau, a rustic farm built on the palace grounds. The Queen would spent her restful moments with ladies-in-waiting to chat, giggle, read poems, and stroll in the small “country side” village with lakes, gardens, cottages, watermills and a farmhouse. Interestingly enough, this idyllic simple and virtuous peasant farm life emerged later as a trend in French Country style of living, which gave birth to rustic aesthetics in fashion, garden architecture, theatre plays and novels.
Fueled basically by an unlimited “budget” and surrounded by the best artists of France, Marie Antoinette passion for fashion grew into an obsession. She appointed Rose Bertin, the best fashion designer at the time as her “Fashion Minister”. Madame Bertin designs were representative of the Rococo style characterized by playful details made of taffeta, satin and silk; they were adored with intricate patterns of ruffles, bows and layers of lace trimmings, sashes, artificial flowers and ostrich feathers.With so much beauty and diversity at hand, there is no wonder that Marie Antoinette was giving to her dresses romantic or sexy names such as “Indiscreet Pleasures”, “Heart Agitation” or “Stifled Sighs”. We do not think that she could give to all of them names because she was actually wearing too many, about three different ones for the various occasions of the day, not one ever worn again.
With the competition at the Court that increased the demand for fashion designers, dress makers, milliners, shoe makers and craftsman for accessories, and with the “second hand” market benefitting from it, the fashion became an industry. We found and recommend a fascinating new book on the subject of “Fashion Victims: Dress at the Court of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette” by Kimberly Chrisman-Campbell. The author presents an in-depth, well researched study of Marie Antoinette as a fashion icon, the fashion industry extravagance of that time and even its influence on the course of the French Revolution.
In appreciation of this rich fashion legacy, we want to inspire the masquerade ball fans to follow Marie Antoinette’s style and become a ROCKoco Star! We have selected few gorgeous masquerade ball costumes for women and bundled them with some ideas. A grand one would be to wear the Grand Marie at a masquerade ROCKoco wedding; this dress is available in cream, black, burgundy and white. Another pick would be the Young Marie Antoinette, a beautiful 18th Century royal court dress lookalike. If we want to express some of the naughty girlish nature of the Queen’s character, we recommend the sultry costumes, the selection of which we narrowed down to the most interesting. Keeping in mind that sultry in good taste is both fun and sexy, we are recommending the Rockcoco Sexy Dress or the Sultry Little Bo-Peep party costumes. And wow! We’ve also discovered this adorable little “Summer Antoinette”, a girl costume.
To complete the masquerade ball attire we also recommend few fabulous accessories to match the ROCKoco look with shoes, gloves, fan and a mask. As in the times of Marie Antoinette, the etiquette required several pairs of pastel colored and scented gloves and pairs of shoes adorned with flowery ornaments. Here are the original designs, the Marie Antoinette Vintage Rococo Baroque, Vintage Ellie Floral Shoes, Pearl Lace Satin Fingerless Gloves or Rococo Lace Wrist Cuffs. Finally, add this original vintage Rococo hand fan depicting a classic, 18th Century countryside scene and choose from a selection of beautiful masks: Rococo, Laser Cut Venetian, Marie Antoinette’s Rose or La Belle Antoinette.
Last and not least, the wigs at that time were quite elaborate. As described in the recommended book, the wigs called poufs were designed halfway between a hat and a hairstyle. They were big ornamental headdresses often with props reflecting events of personal or pop-cultural significance, including hit plays, scientific breakthroughs or political scandals. We have found such fun in Marie Antoinette Wig with Ship motif, the gorgeous grey and blonde Lace Front Wig with meticulously tied-up hair pieces and the Rococo style Luxurious Wig design with pearl strings and pink feathers.
Have fun creating your Marie Antoinette costume! We will continue to look for new designs in our collection tagged on our site as “Marie Antoinette Designs” so please visit us again.