44 thoughts on “Why the First Still From Marie Antoinette Chaps My Ass

  1. I’ve learned stuff from reading Frock Flicks! I didn’t clock the hair, but my first thought was “is that a front opening dress with lace only on one side? And is the standing collar funky and asymmetrical (couldn’t see the other side due to her hair)?” Some of it has finally sunk in!

    I’m not a clothing specialist, but I have a really good ear for non-American (better term?) Rs. Australian actors seem to be the biggest offenders. Their accent may be otherwise spot on, but they’ll lose me by adding an R where it doesn’t belong. It’s a stupid talent, but it’s mine.

  2. It’s the tiniest of nitpicks for me but the stones in the earrings and necklace also look like turquoise stones – which to my knowledge was not super commonly used in Europe during that time period – especially when the real life MA favored pearls and diamonds for her jewelry. But could someone correct me if I’m wrong – was it the norm to sew the dress and then hand embroider it afterwards? I feel like I’ve seen it in multiple films but was never sure about the process (embroidering, then sewing vs sewing, then embroidering).

    1. What was normal was to buy the fabric, cut the pattern pieces, mark out where the embroidery was to go on each piece and turn it over to the embroiderers. That was far more practical than trying to embroider a finished garment*. And it was not only more economical of expensive materials ans skilled labour than embroidering the multiple yards of whole fabric, but it was also more elegant, since every motif was placed just so. (Generally, where an extant gown has embroidery that has been cut into, it’s a clue that the gown has been at least re-sized or even completely re-fashioned during its working life.

      Another procedure was standard for men’s waistcoats. You cut two equal lengths just long enough for a waistcoat from a piece of silk or other luxury fabric that was just wide enough for one waistcoat front piece, then you did the embroidery for the front and lower edges and the area surrounding the pocket all in one, and the embroidery for the pocket flap in the upper outer corner of the fabric. Then to make up the waistcoat you’d cut out the front pieces to your client’s measurements, attach them to back pieces of plain material, and put in pockets and the pocket flaps to cover them. This meant that the embroidery didn’t have to be bespoke; an embroidery business could offer a variety of ready-made embroider panels for clients to browse and choose from. One result of this practice is that many of these panels survive uncut: here for instance –


      1. Yes! I have 3 never-sewn waistcoats of the period and they are a good illustration of the process. One is woven, but another is beautifully embroidered in multicolored flowers on cream silk, the last is linen-on-linen in tiny trapunto quilting and is frankly my favorite because it’s just so intricate.
        Lastly, I have to share one of my peeves in some modern clothing and on that stomacher which was also an immediate clanger for me as well: That awful flatly applied lace piece on the stomacher. It never looks good anywhere, any time, on anything!

    2. The design of the necklace is also quite off. Or at least I’ve never seen anything like that on paintings and such. Anyway, they did trace the pattern piece on the fabric, they mounted on a frame and then embroidered it. Then the piece was cut out and sewn. But the embroidery was designed for that shape of fabric, for that specific measurements and dress. It would have looked more or less like this, during the process: https://www.metmuseum.org/-/media/images/blogs/now-at-the-met/2015/2015_06/elaborate-embroidery/2.jpg?sc_lang=en&hash=67FB3EF40C7754C21EC074BAE88FFBAD

      1. Yes, I’m generally more aware of clothing accuracy and even for me, that necklace jumped out as being ahistorical(also if you the person who runs a costuming instagram, I just wanted to say your designs are so cool!)

        1. At least the necklace was around her neck and not on her head!!! It could have been soooo much worse!!!

      2. This is a (really big, possibly too big) negligee pendant. It was very fashionable… about 130 years later.

    3. I was wondering about the turquoise too, but then worried it was more that I’m not a personal fan of the color/stone, as I’m not an expert.

      1. I had to go looking (I’m by no means an expert but very into historical jewelry trends/history); turquoise had been introduced to Europe via trade in Turkey by that point but it still largely seems to be most popular in Middle Eastern and Latin American countries until the 20th century – possibly owing to a decree by the Roman Catholic Church (which went away in the mid-1400s but still lingered around) that turquoise was only meant to be used for sacred, religious ornaments.

  3. Shit like this is why I love this blog and the work that you, Kendra, do! All of these, shall we call them, nitpicks are things that never once in a zillion years would have occurred to me, but you have scalpel like sharpness to your observations and now I sit back and think things like how DARE they! Where is the hair powder? She’s not a field hand! She’s a Hapsburg princess!”

    1. “Most embroidery was done to suit the shapes of the dress | Robe a la polonaise, c 1780, Met Museum” Nitpickery or not, I appreciate Kendra’s point that a good designer/artist married embroidery to shape and silhouette. And Emilia Schüle’s make-up! She looks like she’s going to a high-society costume ball, c. 2022.

  4. I can understand your problems with the clothing. The fabric and details are just looking poor. Maybe she is shown without powdered hair because she is on a voyage? But that makes no sense really as we would suppose that the Archduchess would have had to make a nice impression on the court and the king in particular.

    1. You’re right, it doesn’t. Sure, she might very well not have had herself coiffed and powdered daily on her journey from Austria, but of course she wouldn’t have worn full-dress court clobber either: she’d have had a warm travelling cloak or habit.

  5. Can we talk about the pic the lead actress emila schuele posted on her instagram account? The one with crazywig??

  6. I literally just screamed ” What the f**k is that !? ” When I saw the first photo. Of course, it doesn’t help that I’m tired (working & training for a new job) and having had two cocktails. :)

  7. Empress Maria Theresa had many other children. Can’t we have more flicks about any of them, of of the Empress herself? Heck, a series on Marie Therese, Marie Antoinette’s eldest daughter and the only one to make it to adulthood.

    1. EXCELLENT point! Wasn’t there one who was destined for greatness and then had her looks ruined by smallpox? And another who was close in age to MA and the two were considered almost twins, I’m pretty sure she married an Italian…

      1. Her most famous sister was Maria Carolina who married the king of Naples and was much more involved in politics and bossy than MA. The two were very close. I think there are some Italian and German series about her but she would clearly deserve more. She also had her « dark » side as she went heavy on repression of local supporters of the French Revolution after MA’s execution.

        1. Whenever I hear “Queen of Naples” I immediately think of the film “That Hamilton Woman” (1941) with Norma Drury as said Queen. Costumes are over the top!

  8. I’m actually from Peoria (or close enough) originally, and I’ve been sitting here trying to come up with a clever comment, but I got nothing. The best I can say is, “Not another Marie Antoinette movie.”

    1. Haha.. same.. actual Peorian here (the Illinois one, not Arizona) & usually the most we get is the old “but will it play…?” comment. On SO many levels—probably not. Love this blog!!

  9. I am not an expert on historical fashion but the first thing that hits me when I see this is “Sofia Coppola did it better” and “Ah Marie Antoinette (because you immediately know who they’re trying to portray), but cheap”

  10. I was kind of surprised that you were OK with the robe à la française in the very top photo since the pleats look like they were tacked on across the shoulder blades like a curtain hung there and not integrally folded into the back fabric up to the neckline.

  11. I’m actually pretty intrigued with this one. Marie-Antoinette’s story (and ESPECIALLY its supporting characters, Louis XVI, Madame Elisabeth, Gabrielle de Polignac, Princesse de Lamballe, who have been invariably short-changed) has been dying for a TV series. Sure truncated versions are all over, but I’d argue her character hasn’t been accurately conveyed since 1938. Coppola’s film got the look right. Im hoping more for accuracy when it comes to events and personalities here (and from her comments, I think Emilia Schüle is a great choice who really gets the naturalistic, charming, dignified side of Antoinette that Kirsten Dunst simply couldn’t or made no attempt to).

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