The Empire and Directoire periods, which spanned the years 1790-1820, are marked with emotions that came after the French Revolution. Social unrest by the urban bourgeois against the privileges of nobles prior to this period were addressed by the abolishment of the monarchy and the establishment of the republic. New reforms were coupled by new perceptions on ways of living. Alongside these new changes were new characters in society, and Marveilleuses may perhaps be the most interesting of them all.
The Marveilleuses were extreme dressers of the era and they pretty much had their own say on their own sartorial escpades. Their way of dressing was unusual to say the least. They wore long trains, their necklines sometimes reached their waist, and they wore sheer fabrics that exposed their derrières. These women were astonishing in their feat and set their own bar for what it means to be beautiful.
QUEEN ELIZABETH I
Before there was Hayley Willliams circa 2009 or Catastrophe, there was Queen Elizabeth I: the Virgin Queen of England. Queen Elizabeth modeled her hair so well that people will go to extents just to imitate her auburn red hair. The queen’s hair became so thin later on in her reign, which prompted her to wear a red wig instead. Interestingly, she also popularized the wheel farthingale, one of the most prominent garments during the northern renaissance.
Often the primary inspiration for ancient Egyptian fashion, Cleopatra was often depicted as a goddess queen who walked with grace and utter beauty. This queen wore garments that are indicative of both Greek and Egyptian fashion. Arguably, Cleopatra is more widely portrayed in movies of sorts. In the personage of various people who have portrayed her, most notably Elizabeth Taylor, she has influenced many women today to wear the black kohl eyeliner in the cat-eye manner.
Probably one of the most decadent woman in the history of fashion, Marie Antoinette was Austrian at birth but French by rule. She is widely known as the woman who lived in grand Versailles with her husband the French king, and is assumingly the proponent of the infamous line: “let them eat cake.” During the Baroque and Rococo period, fashions in France were seriously taking off. Women and men always wore their best dresses to court and among the most outrageous styles popularized by the queen is the “pouf” (shown at the right)– a type of hairstyle worn as high as possible, often powdered, curled, and heavily ornamented such that it conveys a certain message. Rose Bertin, dressmaker to the queen, is renowned as the first fashion designer.
The Victorian Period included three important sub-periods that influenced British fashion for almost a century: The Romantic period, the Crinoline Period, and the Bustle Period. These events were encompassed in the rule of one of the most important people in history and for whom the period was named after. This queen was very traditional, simple and believed in “demure elegance”. Hence, she discarded “frivolous” fashions for huge ballon-like sleeves, bonnets, and ribbons (Victoria and Albert Museum).