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Michelle CH

Currently reading

Death Comes for the Archbishop
Willa Cather
Progress: 200/297 pages
Possession
A.S. Byatt
Progress: 17/555 pages
Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally
Alisa Smith, J.B. MacKinnon
Progress: 45 %
Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution - Caroline Weber Amazing. Initially I thought that this would be a history of fashion and style during Marie Antoinette's reign, but Weber provides so much more than that. Weber begins with the story of Marie Antoinette arriving in the French court and her struggle to find a place and with incredible reseach ties it back to her choirce of clothing and even how she later chose to ride a horse at court.

Her decision to be a non-corset wearing Dauphine, could on the surface could be perceived as merely an issue of comfort but ultimately was a play on perception, power and control. Tidbits about the conditions at Versailes were equally fascinating. Dress was completely about how much influence and status each person did or seemed to have. Manipulation by the Queen's sisters in law and the competition with DuBarry reads like any modern soap opera with all the necessary twists and turns.

The vast sums of money spent by the Queen to not only influence fashion but also to sway opinions around her ability to drive the King's decisions would ultimately backfire and lead to her and her family's demise. If you want lots of really neat and juicy detail, then this book is for you. Even to the end Marie Antoinette drove how she would appear in public and what she stood for through her choice of dress both in color and style.

I would imagine that not until Imelda Marcos has there ever been a woman so reviled for her expenditures on "frivolous" clothing and accessories all while their countrymen suffer from extreme poverty.

This book is rich and there is so much to enjoy, over 150 pages of footnotes which enhance the experience for us nerds who always want more!