Few names in history are quite as evocative as Marie Antoinette. Frequently imagined strutting through the palace of Versailles, a galleon perched atom chandelier-skimming hair and with panniers as wide as a doorway, she’s become one of the most recognisable figures in history. And while no images survive of Marie Antoinette’s lavish wedding to Louis XVI of France, historians have a fairly good idea of what her dress would’ve looked like…
Giving 18th-century ladies their unique, wide-hipped look, these basket-like hooped devices could be made of anything from whalebone to wood, and were sometimes as wide as 3.5 metres!
2. Whalebone stays & cloth of silver stomacher
Don’t breathe out! Marie Antoinette owed her perfect poise to tightly laced whalebone stays. The V-shaped stomacher was won over the stays. Ornate and opulent, it matched the rest of the dauphine’s gown.
The underwear staple of any lady’s wardrobe, the simple chemise was concealed beneath the wedding finery. This would be the only simple thing Marie Antoinette would wear on her wedding day.
4. Cloth of silver mantua
The final piece of the puzzle, Marie Antoinette’s silver mantua was covered with diamonds and pearls fit for a blushing royal bride.
5. Silver petticoat
Billowing out over the panniers, the petticoat was of the finest cloth of silver and beautifully decorated.
6. Stockings and garters
Tied around the knee, Marie Antoinette’s stockings would’ve been pristine white.
Just like today, 18th-century brides loved to show off their finest shoes on the big day. Decorated and buckled, Marie Antoinette stepped out in style.