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IT APPEARS THAT She Went Almost Everywhere

Now you understand, I couldn’t let my birthday go by without a post about the best historical character of them all! By the end of her life, Marie Antoinette’s makeup products were reduced to a tarnished mirror, a swansdown puff with some powder and a vial of scented drinking water. Ironic then that Marie Antoinette’s own likes inclined towards discreet and humble.

To the normal people, she was a haughty, spoiled, pampered creature who delighted in extravagance and wedding ceremony to those who were closest to her, know that on the other hand she preferred simplicity and a complete lack of fuss and pomp. She had an unerring and exquisite taste and the beautiful objects owned and worn by Marie Antoinette still exert a tremendous fascination today.

Marie Antoinette’s clothes collection was huge, with three entire rooms put at Versailles just to store it aside. The available rooms were open to public so that it was possible to visit the Queen’s clothes, just as you could go and watch her have dinner or walk past on her behalf way to Mass in the morning.

I believe that to the fashion-mad ladies of Versailles, a vacation to the Queen’s wardrobe was seen with as much reverence, or even more, than seeing her personally. Strictly speaking, Marie Antoinette’s closet purchases were supposed to be restricted to purchases of thirty-six dresses for the summer and thirty-six for the winter but the Queen adored fashion and so ordered far more.

According to etiquette she was only supposed to wear dresses once and had to change three times each day so clearly seventy-two dresses a yr wasn’t heading to cut a lot of a dash at Versailles. Worn Once, preferred dresses were held and carefully taken care of in order that they never looked anything significantly less than brand new but others were given away to her females in waiting around. When the Queen’s beautiful bedchamber was renovated in the last century, several pins were uncovered wedged between the wooden floorboards, a remnant of the ceremony that surrounded the dressing of the Queen.

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The Queen’s choice was for light fabrics and pale, pastel colours like a soft lemon yellow, dove grey, pale green and lilac. Marie Antoinette had taken as much care of her person as she does her clothes and her beauty program was extensive. At night she would sleep putting on gloves lined with wax, increased water and nice almond essential oil and she probably treated her hair with a wash of saffron, turmeric, sandalwood, and rhubarb in order to accentuate its strawberry blondness.

Before she applied her constitute, she’d cleansing her skin with Eau Cosmetique de Pigeon carefully, followed by Eau des Charmes astringent and then Eau change, a mild whitener. Following this white paint was carefully put on her face, accompanied by a dusting of scented powder then shop around her eyes and some rouge to her cheeks. Sticks of pomade scented with rose, vanilla, or Carnation were used to gloss her lips, eyebrows, and eyelashes.

There was a definite emphasis on the senses – Versailles at this time was absolutely foul smelling and the courtiers did everything they could to keep the smell away. Marie Antoinette’s rooms were scented with a profusion of fresh bouquets, melted pastilles, container pourri, oils, and perfumed sachets. She especially liked the new scents of orange blossom, lemon, rose, lavender, and violet and her rooms could have smelled heady and sugary as you joined them. The Queen loved to douse herself with eau de fleur d’oranger (orange blossom water); simple violet, rose and jonquil scents or even more complex perfumes made with vanilla, musk, lavender, iris, jasmine and lily or lemon, cinnamon, Angelica, coriander and cloves.

It seems that almost everywhere she proceeded to go, she wanted to be surrounded by beautiful smells. Uncommon for the right time, Marie Antoinette insisted on frequent baths and her bathroom at Versailles still exists with simple dove gray walls and a sloping tiled floor so the water could drain away. Her perfumer Fargeon invented on her behalf the bain de modestie, which included donning a flannel chemise so that her body wouldn’t normally be exposed even to the gaze of her ladies in waiting. It’s unfortunate now to walk around Versailles and see these delicately hued rooms, now crowded with tourists, where after the oxygen was filled with the scents of the very most beautiful garden imaginable. Click to enlarge and save to your personal computer to print out.