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Thursday, October 6, 2011
Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, was one of the most influential figures in fashion during the 1770s and 1780s, especially when it came to hairstyles.
In the 18th century hairstyles became ludicrously elaborate and complex. Hair was combed, curled, greased with pomade, and dusted with powder. The elevation of these hairstyles could sometimes reach up to three feet! Their own hair was not enough to make such a piece of art so they used the hair of their servants and even the horse’s mane to add length. Cushions or pads were inserted to give height. Decorative objects were often incorporated including flowers, fruit, fabric, feathers and even live birds in cages. The articles placed in the hair were sometimes symbolic, as in the case of the famous engraving depicting a lady wearing a large ship in her hair with masts and sails—called the "Coiffure à l'Indépendance ou le Triomphe de la liberté"—to celebrate naval victory in the American war of independence. To preserve the hair designs intact, women slept with a wooden block under their necks so that their hair was not touched.
Marie Antoinette’s body, hair, clothing and accessories are made using 10 different kinds of paper. Her period costume is complete down to her white pantaloons with blue bow ties and paniers. She wears pink slippers with glistening gold rosette accents. Her underskirts have ruffled hems and the second layer is light pink with a gold trellis design and gold trim. The dark pink dress is trimmed all over with a pink flowered green vine and white pearl centers. Four gold bows adorn her bodice and white lace is tucked into the low neckline and short sleeve ends. A short strand natural pearl necklace compliments her slender neck. Atop her pale gray coiffure sits a ship with masts, sails and flags. Two rare white bird feathers finish her hairdo. She measures about 13 ½” tall up to the top of the boat.
Marie Antoinette is accompanied with coordinating stand (to be placed under her underskirts). She also comes with a self-portrait framed in a 2" square gold painted picture frame which hangs from a black velvet ribbon.
Marie Antoinette will be available for viewing at my vendor table at the Art Is...You event this weekend in Danbury, CT. Please stop by my table if you plan on attending the event to see Marie Antoinette and all my other Art Dolls available for sale. Their beauty and detail does not shine in pictures as much as it does in person.