Monday, November 10, 2008

Marie Antoinette's Dress before Alteration

This dress from the Victoria and Albert Museum bears an uncanny resemblance to the dress currently on display at the Royal Ontario Museum which may have once belonged to Marie Antoinette.

The dress from the Victoria and Albert Museum has been dated to the 1770s and is assumed to be French (Four Hundred Years of Fashion, Victoria & Albert Museum, edited by Natalie Rothstein, William Collins Sons & Co Ltd, London 1984). I think that this dress closely approximates what Marie Antoinette's dress at the Royal Ontario Museum might have looked like before it was altered.

The two dresses are share similar fabric, colour, bodice style and sleeve design. They are also dated from the same period. Other than the trims, they are remarkably alike (if one imagines the ROM dress to have paniers).

The Royal Ontario Museum has extended the display of Marie Antoinette's dress until November 16th. In prior postings I've discussed the alterations that are evident in the dress on the bodice (higher neckline) and in the skirt (to narrow the skirt removing the paniers).

It's a shame that the ROM did not hire an illustrator (me!) to draw what the Marie Antoinette's dress might have looked like before alterations in 1880.

Royal Ontario Museum,
Patricia Harris Gallery of Costume and Textiles, 4th Floor
Avenue Road and Bloor Street