I do enjoy the frivolity and opulence of the Rococo era, which led me to swoon over the set design and costumes in Sofia Coppola's 2006 film, Marie Antoinette. Filming, in part, took place at the ornate Palace of Versailles, the home of Marie Antoinette through her reign as Queen of France from 1755-1793.
It was commoner Rose Bertin, Marie Antoinette's dressmaker who influenced the elaborately decorated fashion of the Queen. She is widely credited as the mother of Parisian haute couture, exclusive custom-fitted clothing for a specific client.
The Royal Hairdresser was, to my surprise, a man. Leonard Autié managed to transform himself—against all odds—from a country barber to the artist who created the conspicuous hair-as-theater 'pouf' hairstyle, an elaborate curled updo decorated with ostrich plumes, jewels and ribbons.
Later, in an effort to "outdo" each other, women soon were decorating their poufs with cupids, butterflies, flowers and, of all things questionable, even miniature crematory urns as tributes. One of my favorite ornaments is coined The Coiffure à la Belle-Poule, whereby a sailing ship was secured on the plateau of curls. Excess in all its glory.
I have drawn much inspiration for the Marie-Antoinette images by studying the paintings of Elisabeth-Louise Vigée Le Brun, the official portraitist of the Queen. Vigée Le Brun painted 30 portraits of Marie Antoinette in six years. The painter is said to have had a gift for conversation that kept her clients entertained during the long hours of sitting for portraits.
For this photoshoot, I had a wide array of decorative items spread out before me on a table. I could quickly mix and match the different elements to decorate the wigs to complement the selected clothing which were mostly corsets. And while the clothing was not specifically era correct, the frilly items invoked the femininity and frothiness of the rococo era.
Rococo fashion was an art form all its own. | www.study.com
In the rococo era, it was considered risqué for a woman to be painted with parted lips, teeth barely visible. Three cheers for being a little naughty.
Session Details: Ostrich feather background | Studio Lighting
Studio wardrobe and accessories.
Location: Tucson, Arizona.