July 17, 2014

Madame du Barry, a known beauty

Jean-Baptiste Greuze, Portrait of the Comtesse Du Barry. [1771] ? oil on canvas.

"All the portraits and documents agree in giving Du Barry the rarest fascinations of woman, the enchantments of an unrivaled grace. Her hair was fine, long and silky, and of that blond cendré which, without the aid of powder, gives a sweetness and delicious harmony to the face, which was both bright and pensive.

As a charming contrast, she had brown eyebrows, and long curved brown eyelashes which set off the tender gleam of her blue eyes-eyes which only the pencil of a Greuze could depict.

Both types of beauty were untied in her face in a delightful manner, for the tender passion of the blonde was mingled with the ardent smile of the brunette."

Goncourt, Edmond de, Jules de Goncourt, and Robert Kopp. 2003. Les maîtresses de Louis XV et autres portraits de femmes: la duchesse de Châteauroux et ses soeurs, madame de Pompadour, la du Barry, Sophie Arnould, histoire de Marie-Antoinette. Paris: Laffont. 

July 14, 2014

The Bastille: facts and stories

Storming of the Bastille. Arrest of M. de Launay. Painting, 1791. Musée Carnavalet

Commemorative buttons were distributed! Here are some more facts about the Bastille

That is one hell of a loaf! The Quality of Bread in France prior to the Storming of the Bastille

At the end of 1789 there was a demand to commemorate the Bastille with a festival and Francois Joseph Gossec composed Le Triomphe De La République for it.

Much earlier in history, lady writer Madame de Tencin was sent to the Bastille for a crime she did not commit (a total set up!)

Button commemorating the taking of the Bastille.

July 09, 2014

Chanel and Dior are Inspired: 18th century style and Marie Antoinette Fashions

We are right in the midst of Haute Couture Fashion week in Paris! Chanel's collection debuted this morning and the Dior collection on Monday. Both collections drew influences from the 18th century, think Petit Trianon, decorative arts and gardens.

I love the above look by Chanel.  Details from Chanel's 2014 collection remind us of the French neo-classical arabesque designs in Marie Antoinette's Belvedere Pavillion, which she used as her music room at Petit Trianon. The space is stunning.

Salon du belvédère. Belvédère du Petit Trianon - Salon intérieur. Photo by Starus.

Belvédère du Petit Trianon - Arabesque de Leriche (détail). Photo by Starus.

Some of my favorite pieces from the Chanel and Dior shows are are below. After you scroll through, vote in my poll at the bottom of the post and tell us Which collection is your favorite??


Chanel's collection had pieces featuring beautiful embroidery work, pastel colors and beaded details that mimic carved decoration on 18th century French and English furniture (yay decorative arts!) View the full Chanel collection here.

 Chanel Haute Couture Fall Winter 2014-15 collection. Photos via vogue.it

Christian Dior

Dior takes a more literal approach; full skirts that remind us of panniers, structured bodices, brocade and floral embroidery. I also like the patches on some of the gowns! They remind me of the adorable Camp Versailles Sew on Badges from she&reverie that are featured on their Sleepover Hooded Cardigan in earl grey creme.

Christian Dior Fall 2014 Couture. Photos via vogue.com.

Which 18th century-inspired Haute Couture collection do you like best?

June 26, 2014

New Perfume captures the fragrance of Marie Antoinette's gardens

New York City based perfumers Fabrice Penot and Edouard Roschi of Le Labo have teamed up with florist Thierry Boutemy and perfumer Barnabé Fillion to create a new fragrance reminiscent of Marie Antoinette's gardens. Penot and Roschi have been fans of Boutemy's designs since he worked on set at Versailles set creating incredible floral arrangements for Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006).

Together Le Labo and Boutemy have created the limited-edition fragrance Geranium 30.  Priced at $240 for 100ml, there are only 100 bottles for sale!

An explosive, sweet floral top note settles into a soft and powdery base, reminiscent of a garden late in the season. It is handmade in Le Labo's signature glass bottles, with custom-printed floral labels.

The fragrance, is comparable to the 'wild' gardens at the Petit Trianon - perfectly curated to transport you there.  A luxury to be sure!

And here are some of the floral arrangements that inspired the perfumers. I know the whole film was a visual feast but did you take time to notice the floral pieces in different scenes?

This floral arrangement perfectly compliments the chinoiserie vase.

Famous image of the powder puff but a very lush floral arrangement in the background

And all the flower crowns of course!

Another stunning floral arrangement here

Check out the pretty arrangement in Marie Antoinette's room

Several floral arrangements used to decorate this room
Gorgeous ...floral arrangement used in this scene!

Several floral arrangements were used for the Petit Trianon scenes

It is always exciting when perfumers look to the history of 18th century France for inspiration.  DSH Perfumes created their collection of The Perfumed Court a few years back.

Eau de Trianon is pictured here from the Perfumed Court collection. This perfume is based on detailed notes for the fragrance, “Parfum du Trianon” commissioned by Marie Antoinette. I have this (my review here) and love it!