Moschino took a trip down the 1800s this Autumn, finding it’s flare among the past of the glamorous nobility and royalty. Jeremy Scott, American fashion designer and creative director of House Moschino took inspiration from the lavish Marie Antoinette, the last Queen of France. Bella and Gigi Hadid, Kaia Gerber and Irina Shayk walked the Moschino runway, decked in a blend of rock star meets Rococo fashion, with tall wigs and exaggerated hips.
Marie Antoinette reigned as Queen between 1774 to 1792, married to the King of France Louis XVI. Together they had two daughters and two sons. The Royal Family lived in the Palace of Versailles, and Versailles was the capital of French Fashion. During their rule, fashion for the nobility transitioned from Baroque to Rococo, with more frills, pastel colours, ruffles, bows and lace. The fashion became delicate and light, a very different metamorphosis from the ornate, rich, dark, heavy fabrics that dominated under the Sun King’s reign previously.
Looking at Moschino’s fall 2020 runway, we can see the inspiration from Marie Antoinette’s attire. The use of pastel colours, puffed sleeves, patterned ruffles and lace, and amplified use of bows. Even some of the garments are designed to look like giant cakes, come as a direct nod to Marie Antoinette’s famous phrase “Let them eat cake”.
One of the most popular films on the fashionista Queen was the 2006 historical drama Marie Antoinette, directed by Sofia Coppola and starring Kirsten Dunst as the titular Queen. The film follows the story of Marie Antoinette, starting on the day she meets her future husband Louis XVI, and ending (spoilers!) on the frightful day her reign ended in terror. The film won an Oscar for its costumes in the category of Best Costume Design. Designer of the film, Milena Canonero was inspired by the desserts in the french food court, creating literal eye candy costumes. She created over 170 different costumes for the film, more than 100 for Kirsten Dunst. There is no question Canonero committed to creating these costumes.
It’s easy to forget, but when Marie Antoinette married Louis XVI, she was 14 years old. She was still a child, who had been dropped into the dramatic, sophisticated and eccentric French society. She became Queen at 19 years old and really threw herself into the French lifestyle, with extravagant fashion, accessories, foods and lavish parties. It’s no surprise that her fashion is often recognised with huge pink gowns covered, lace, frills, feathers and bows, representing the adolescent young teen she was. Even the 2006 movie captures this iconic look with its very first scene, with the young Queen lying on a posh futon, surrounded by desserts and treats, with a maid fitting her shoes.
It has to be acknowledged that the behaviour of frivolous spending, self-indulgence and elite entitlement, Marie Antoinette’s and the rest of the French nobility consumed their lives with, was one of the leading factors that led to the French Revolution in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy; established a republic and threw the country into the Reign of Terror from 1793 – 1794. Somewhere between 18,000 – 19,000 nobles were killed in a series of massacres and public executions throughout the Terror, including Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI.
With this in mind, the Moschino Fall 2020 collection from the luxurious fashion house can be seen as a case of having their cake and wanting to eat it too. However, Scott did address this double standard and spoke of how his collection was also inspired by the womens’ garments of the 1960s, a time of radical rebellion. We can see this innovation as well within the collection, with the use of mini skirts, modern cut jackets styles, laced boots and biker look to the models.
This is also a similar technique that Sofia Coppola used when making the 2006 film. For the soundtrack of the movie, she included a lot of New Wave music, guitar-based rock and post-punk bands such as Adam and the Ants, Gang of Four and Siouxsie and the Banshees. The inclusion of this music, clashing with period music by Jean-Philippe Rameau, Antonio Vivaldi and François Couperin, shows the character of Marie Antoinette as a young, humanised teenage girl. A girl who enjoys the idea of flirting, partying, moping through gardens and playing with her pugs.
Even during one of the many dress-up montages in the films, there is a set of modern lilac converse shoes that can be seen in the frame as Marie Antoinette tries on new shoes, indicating just how young and childish she was.
Coppola’s highly stylised interpretation of the historical figure humanised her for a modern audience, and it feels like that’s how generally Marie Antoinette is viewed nowadays, as a highly rebellious, overindulgence teenage girl. That is also the vibe that the Moschino embodies with this collection, as well as their previous work. Creating fashion to inspire the strong-willed attitude we have, looking to the past to create our future. Young, rebellious and fashionable.