Monday, October 01, 2012

Review - Queen Of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore To The French Revolution by Caroline Weber

This biography with a twist follows the life of Marie Antoinette from her childhood in Austria to her execution in France, concentrating on how she influenced clothing and fashion during her reign.

Weber supports her engaging narrative with plenty of primary source material, bringing the French court to life from the socially inept young Louis to the charming Fersen and the queen's favorites.

But Antoinette dominates the story, coming into her own during the Revolution as she fights to keep her family alive, refusing to bow to those determined to rid the country of the monarchy. It's clear that, while attempting to present the facts in a neutral manner, Weber sympathizes with the queen, as evidenced by her many references to the dirty clothing of the sans culottes.

As I had an Advanced Reading Copy in which the colour plates weren't provided, my enjoyment was somewhat diminished - seeing the plates would have been helpful, as Weber refers to them often.

While left-learning students of the Revolution might find the book too Royalist for their liking, those interested in Antoinette and her life will likely enjoy this in-depth study of her life and influence on the world of fashion.

© Teresa Eckford, 2006

This review first appeared in the February 2007 issue of The Historical Novels Review

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