Long Live Galliano.
Excerpt taken from Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber
“ Designed for his 2000 Christian Dior “Masquerade and Bondage” collection, John Galliano’s “Marie Antoinette” dress tells an unexpected story. True to the architecture of eighteenth-century court costume, the gown features tantalizing décolletage, a rigidly corseted waist, a ladder or échelle of flirty bows on the bodice, and a froth of flounced skirts inflated by petticoats and hoops. Its splendid excess evokes France’s most colorful queen … even before one notices the embroidered portraits of the lady herself that adorn each of its hoop-skirted hip panels. (Plate 1.)
But the two portraits deserve a closer look, for it is they that tell the story. On the gown’s left hip panel the designer has placed an image of Marie Antoinette in her notorious faux shepherdess’s garb—a frilly little apron tied over a pastel frock, a decorative staff wound with streaming pink ribbons, and a mile-high hairdo obviously ill suited to the tending of livestock. In keeping with the Queen’s frivolous reputation, the embroidered ensemble is more suggestive of Little Bo Peep than of lofty monarchical grandeur. On the right hip panel, Galliano offers a depiction of the same woman, also devoid of royal attributes, but this time in a mode more gruesome than whimsical. Here, she wears a markedly plain, utilitarian dress, with a simple white kerchief knotted around her throat and a drooping red “liberty bonnet”—the emblem of her revolutionary persecutors—clamped onto her brutally shorn head. This image portrays the consort trudging toward the guillotine, to lay her neck beneath its waiting blade.”