I came across this image from The Queen and the Cardinal, a 2009 French TV movie set in the 17th century, and I needed to know more:
Welp, it turns out that the film is about Anne of Austria, widow of French king Louis XIII and regent for her son Louis XIV from 1643-1651, and her supposed love affair with Cardinal Mazarin, on-and-off chief minister of France during this period. There were lots of rumors at the time that the two were In Lurve due to their closeness.
The film itself is a two-parter. The first part focuses on the death of Louis XIII, Anne assuming the regency and Mazarin the chief minister post, and the two of them hooking up. I admit, it felt a bit like homework to work through this episode, but then I’ve been feeling uninspired lately about most period TV/film options (NEED BETTER CONTENT HOLLYWOOD), so I soldiered on. The second episode was more interesting, as it intertwined the aging queen (who never visually aged) and Mazarin’s (who did) relationship with the young and newly crowned Louis XIV and his love affair with one of Mazarin’s many nieces, Marie.
I was surprised at how much money appears to have been thrown at this production. No, there weren’t 10,000 extras and the settings weren’t perfect, but they were pretty good, and there were even some decent computer-generated shots that added to the whole shebang.
Impressively, there was a dearth of poly baroque satin and even, dare I say it, silk was worn! The costumes got the general gist of mid-17th century right. And okay, there were some metal grommets, but at least they were the small ones? I started thinking for a minute that maybe the French take their history more seriously and that’s why there was a bit more quality to the costumes, but then remembered productions like Henri IV…
First, your basic mid-17th century French fashion:
Here’s that mourning outfit worn by Anne of Austria:
Of course, the REAL Anne of Austria wasn’t dressing quite so much like the hot goth in her widowhood…
And therein lies the main problem that I had with the costuming — Anne of Austria being dressed as a Hot Goth(TM):
The other main problem I had with the women’s costumes was that in addition to Anne not aging herself, she never updated her wardrobe. The film basically goes from 1643 to 1661, and she’s still wearing the exact same gowns on Mazarin’s deathbed as she is when they’re first hooking up.
Now, hair. Here’s what the hair SHOULD have looked like:
A few of the ladies had the smooth on top thang going on:
But most everyone was rocking 1670s hairstyles:
Also, yep, I’m saying it: between the queen and the duchesse de Longueville, there were an AWFUL LOT of bottle-dyed redheads…
Now, turning to gents: GUYS. I LITERALLY JUST SPENT ABOUT TWO HOURS TRYING TO FIND AN IMAGE SHOWING 1. A MAN WHO WAS 2. FRENCH AND 3. UPPER CLASS AND WAS 4. STANDING FULL LENGTH AND 5. NOT IN ARMOR AND 6. FROM THE 1640S OR 1650S. I give up. This Italian image isn’t too different from French styles. WHY IS MY LIFE SO DIFFICULT!!!!
In general, the guys in the film looked good:
Mazarin spent most of his time rocking the cardinal robes:
And check out cute little Louis XIV:
Not half bad, compared to the real deal!
Will you check out The Queen and the Cardinal?