Queen of Fashion Book Summary - Queen of Fashion Book explained in key points
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Queen of Fashion summary

Caroline Weber

What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution

4.6 (22 ratings)
14 mins

Brief summary

Queen of Fashion by Caroline Weber is a historical non-fiction that details the life and influence of Marie Antoinette in shaping French fashion. It explores her style choices and reveals how she used fashion to assert power and create a cultural touchstone during her reign.

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    Queen of Fashion
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    As a teenager, Marie Antoinette was taught the political importance of fashion and appearances.

    As a child in eighteenth-century Vienna, Marie Antoinette lived a rather carefree life. She was allowed to play and dress as she wished and, aside from being required to attend and dress up for formal occasions, the young Austrian princess was mostly left to herself.

    This all changed in 1770, when a marriage was arranged between Marie, then 15 years old, and Louis-Auguste, the heir to the French throne who would soon be known as Louis XVI.

    Once this arrangement was made, Marie Antoinette underwent a preparatory makeover; the rules of the French court at the Palace of Versailles were completely different from those of Vienna, and, as a Bourbon princess, she would be expected to dress and act accordingly, both day and night.

    The makeover was demanding: Marie’s teeth were straightened and she was trained to perform the Versailles-glide, the graceful walk of the French royalty. This meant learning to take tiny steps, with both feet always touching the floor.

    Needless to say, Marie could no longer wear Austrian clothing, so her mother spent what in today’s money would equate to between two and three million dollars to buy her a new wardrobe in all the best French styles.

    Through it all, Marie was also being taught how politically important her marriage was and that her appearance played an essential part in its success.

    After all, this was not a marriage of love. Rather, it was a union to help ensure there would be peace between France and Austria, two nations with centuries of feuding that had recently reached an agreement with the 1756 Treaty of Paris.

    While the treaty was brokered by Marie’s new grandfather-in-law, Louis XV, others in her new family opposed the marriage: Louis XV’s mistress, Madame Du Barry, as well as his sisters, Mesdames Adélaïde, Sophie and Victoire, remained distrustful of the Austrian empire and unhappy with the idea of a foreigner like Marie Antoinette becoming queen.

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    What is Queen of Fashion about?

    Queen of Fashion (2006) reveals the untold ways in which Marie Antoinette, with her iconoclastic sense of fashion and her rebellious behavior, challenged the status quo of the eighteenth-century French court. Her daring originality was a way for her to share her voice and personality, and her story tells us a great deal about the revolutionary politics that can be found in the history of both fashion and France.

    Queen of Fashion Review

    Queen of Fashion (2006) by Caroline Weber is a fascinating exploration of the life and influence of Marie Antoinette on French fashion and culture. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It provides insightful analysis into the role of fashion and style in politics, society, and identity during the reign of Marie Antoinette.
    • Backed by meticulous research and a wealth of historical details, it offers a comprehensive and engaging account of the queen's fashion choices and their impact.
    • The book goes beyond fashion, delving into the complexities of power dynamics and the social implications of clothing, making it far from a boring historical account.

    Who should read Queen of Fashion?

    • Fashionistas wanting to know more about the link between power and clothing
    • Francophiles obsessed with Marie Antoinette
    • History students interested in the French Revolution

    About the Author

    Caroline Weber is a specialist on eighteenth-century French culture. Before she became an associate professor of French and Comparative Literature at Columbia University’s Barnard College, she taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Her writing has appeared in Vogue, Bookforum, the Washington Post and the New York Times.

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    Queen of Fashion FAQs 

    What is the main message of Queen of Fashion?

    Discover the power of fashion in Marie Antoinette's court and how it shaped her image and influence.

    How long does it take to read Queen of Fashion?

    The reading time for Queen of Fashion varies depending on the reader's speed, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Queen of Fashion a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Queen of Fashion is a captivating read that unveils the intrigue of fashion in Marie Antoinette's era. A must-read for history and fashion enthusiasts.

    Who is the author of Queen of Fashion?

    Caroline Weber is the author of Queen of Fashion.

    What to read after Queen of Fashion?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Queen of Fashion, here are some recommendations we suggest:
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