Le Chevalier D'Eon
Last Updated: 11-28-2010
In real life, Queen Marie was a quiet, religious soul, who lived as peaceful and secluded a life as it was possible to do in the frothing court of King Louis XV. She enjoyed various artistic hobbies, heard Mass twice a day, and was greatly loved by her many children. She died peacefully at age 66. Well done, Marie.
In the anime, she's a BODACIOUSLY POWERFUL SORCERESS. She puts the hero in a dress. She carries a talking toddler skull. She wields the might of the French monarchy like a paper fan. She is, in short, awesome beyond all measure.
As for some construction notes...
The closest thing to her dress is a "robe a la piemontaise", a short-lived style during the 1780s in which the big back pleats of a Watteau gown (or sack-back gown, or robe a la francaise) were narrowed and were not draped as a connection between bodice and skirt but were a separate piece sewn to the shoulders. You can see in a few profile shots how her back drapery doesn't connect to the skirt. Marie, being a queen who could afford haystacks of fabric and who doesn't seem like much of a fashion maven, probably wouldn't have bothered switching out her robes a la francaise for piemontaises. But hey, the animators at least liked the idea! Her hoop would probably also have been flatter, but then those animators turn her sideways and there's a big domed hoop! Oh well. :)
There are about ten yards of silk pleated into the under- and over-skirts, which makes getting it over my head in the first place feel a little like swimming upstream. There's a bit that laces up under the back drapery.
The stomacher was hand-embroidered with basic cotton floss and gold metallic thread, and embellished with faceted tabular rounds of smoky glass, brown iridescent pearls, and fiddly little gold seed beads. There is no way my embroidery or my beadwork are up to courtly standard, but I know my limits.
Under the gown there's a separate smock-necked cotton chemise, a completely non-period waist cincher, a tulle petticoat and a drawstring hoopskirt. The hoop's just a four-yard cylinder sewn with bias-tape channels for the hoops. Not historically accurate, but it does make for a softer line that requires less petti. I approve of this.
The hoop's hoops, if you will, are made of 1/2" Home Depot plastic tubing--it's actually a soaker hose. :D
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