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Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution Paperback – Import, February 1, 2008
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I start out with those two validators, because I claim no special expertise here. But I do know that politics is (unfortunately) about way more than competence, integrity, and policy. But it would not have occurred to me before reading this book to add fashion to the list.
What QUEEN OF FASHION makes so engagingly clear is the role of fashion in shaping history ... be it Jackie Kennedy in the U.S. or Eva Peron in Argentina -- or, most remarkably, Marie Antoinette in France.
Good job. Good read.
It is severely starved of illustrations, which is what I expected from a very visual and colourful title and topic the author has chosen. Instead it is neither a complete biographical study, nor exactly what you could say is a work of fashion history. Maybe this is why some other reviewers have termed it "fresh", but I found its contents quite disappointing!
I found the author's style quite amateur and try-hardish at times, towards some of the points she is trying to make. Also, some points are extremely repetitive, to the point that it became quite predictable and annoying to read after a while.
In my opinion, a better book dealing purely with fashion before and after the French Revolution would be "Revolution in Fashion 1715-1815" by Jean Starobinski. This book is beautifully illustrated with real costume and costume accessories of the period, as well as a concise history of the period and its main figures, including of course Marie Antoinette. A better biographical book to read dealing with Marie Antoinette's life would be either "The Journey" by Antonia Fraser, or "Marie Antoinette, the Portrait of an Average Woman" by Stefan Zweig.
This book is like another disappointing effort, which I will also mention here, called "Walks Through Marie Antoinette's Paris" by Diana Reid Haig. Both misguided works to cash in on the Marie Antoinette cash cow!