Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Cold Cause

From the time of Louis XIV, the French court was a magnet and a model for nobles from all over Europe and even as far away as Russia.

Marie Antoinette (2006)
In fact, Elizabeth Petrovna, Empress of Russia from 1741 to 1762, imported all her clothes from France, shunning the homegrown finery. Her court soon followed suit, and from mid-century on, grew immersed in French language and culture, as well as dress. Her successor, Catherine II, disgusted with the extravagance of French dress, attempted to turn the tide -- but to no avail.

Marie Antoinette (2006)

Other European rulers passed similar edicts to curb yearnings of their glamor-hungry subjects. The most successful was King Gustav III Sweden, who designed a national dress and decreed that nobles must wear it, instead of lavish French style.

Gustav III:s äktenskap, a Swedish mini-series (2001)
He won out only because the climate was on his side. Vast panniers, garlanded silks, and fine leather shoes could not withstand the snowbound Swedish winters.

Courtesy of Let There Be Clothes by Lynn Schnurnberger


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