26.9.08

Marie-Jeanne Bertin

We have all seen, in recent years, films with historical themes to attempting to be more authentic in the dress of the characters. In the 18th century we have, "The Madness of King George", "The Lady and the Duke" (my particular favorite), "The Affair of the Necklace" (which I didn't much care for), "Marie-Antoinette'not the one with Kursen Dunst, and so on. These films have taken us a bit closer to the era when the clothes look as if they belong, and not like jeans from J C Penny, and dresses from Gunny Sacs (no relation).

Today a dress for a film can be constructed by a sewing machine, but until the advent of the sewing machine each piece was done by hand. Girls learned from early youth to sew, and not just one stitch but different stitches for different places and clothes. A dress for the Queen might have four or five different stitches for strength, stretch, ease of removal, hems, and so on.

Laurens blog has today published many article which I hope to redirect to soon. Todays article concerns Marie-Antoinette's courier of haute mode, Mlle. Bertin...

Many have said that Rose Bertin, born Marie-Jeanne Bertin, was not a dress maker at all, merely a dress 'decorator'. Rose Bertin was the famous milliner to Marie Antoinette's court. I had to throw in this image of Cagliostro, because apparently *waves fan* Rose Bertin contacted a psychic to learn about her future when she was a young inexperienced girl. She found out that she would be very successful, and according to legend, things picked up quickly for her.

She began working for Mlle. Pagelle at the Trait Galant. Another rumor had it that one of the costumers was the mistress of the Comte de Charolais. (I will cover that story later) She had two illegitimate daughters. Long story short, when these lovely ladies were to be married off their wedding gowns were ordered from the Trait Galant. Rose was chosen to deliver them and when she arrived at the home she ran into an older woman, a chambermaid. Rose and the woman started talking about the gowns and when the woman asked to see them Rose showed her. It was a total du Barry moment, because Rose found out she was actually speaking with the princesse de Conti! After begging for forgiveness of her informal behavior the princesse promised her 'protection' and 'good will' for the future. A star was born!
more...

...And then there is make up, to see how to make 18th century makeup go here...

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