This very special masquerade gown has both a Tudor and contemporary feel which was inspired by authentic historical costume and also by the film ’ La Reine Margot’ starring Isabelle Adjani as Queen Margot of France.
Based on the novel by Alexander Dumas, Queen Margot is set in 16th Century France, a time of political intrigue and religious persecution. Elizabeth I was on the throne of England during this period. Margot, the Catholic daughter of Catherine de Medici, is married off to Henri of Navarre, a Huguenot, in an effort to end the hostilities between the two religious groups. Margot has no love or interest in her new husband, and takes a Huguenot lover, La Mole, instead. This film is a powerful historical epic with a huge amount of attention given to historical accuracy in sets and costumes. Queen Margot received nominations for Best Foreign Language Film from the Golden Globes and for Best Costume Design from the Academy Awards (1995).
The gowns worn by Isabelle Adjani as Queen Margot were absolutely stunning, sumptuous and beautifully made in a very attractive off the shoulder French style. It is interesting to note Mary Queen of Scots dressed in a French style as she was Queen as France albeit briefly during this period.
The bodice of this pink silk dress was constructed of boned calico lined with pink satin and covered with a top layer of pink silk in the shade ‘wild rose’. The bodice has a large amount of metal boning – it needs to be sturdy because there is no shoulder support from straps. It is cut in one piece straight across the front and back. It is fastened by lacing through holes reinforced by matching thread. The lacing is finished with gold plated aglets. The front of the bodice has a stomacher attached. This was a decorated triangular panel attached to a woman’s gown or bodice which lay over the front panel and was stitched into place. This stomacher is made of buckram, covered in silk and lined with deep pink satin. It has been heavily embroidered in gold thread. The embroidery is taken from an authentic Tudor design of roses and is embellished with pink rose Swarovski crystals and gold plated jewels to add glitter and sparkle.
A rose coloured stone set in a gold plated pendant is attached to the front of the bodice. Three skirts have been created for this gown. A full petticoat with hooped metal boning is worn first. It was placed around a woman’s waist to lift the skirts into a bell shape as it was fashionable at this time to have a full skirt.
Worn over the hooped petticoat is an underskirt constructed of plain non stretch fabric such as lightweight calico or cotton. The side and back panels are plain fabric but the front panel is cut of beautiful gold/pink taffeta embroidered with gold thread and gold spangles. A metallic brocade trim completes the lower edge of the underskirt.
Eight shaped panels are cut in rose pink silk to create the skirt of the gown. The skirt has a more fabric at the hem and less fabric at the waist to create the correct shape. The skirt has a placket at the back and is hand sewn to the bodice by pleating.
The Sleeves are separate. They are not attached to the bodice and are worn off the shoulder. They have been created from tubes of lined silk which are ruched to form an attractive double ‘puffed’ effect at the top. The puff is attached to the top of a smooth fitting sleeve which narrow’s towards the wrist. The sleeves are edged with gold trim and gold plated jewels that match the bodice. This gown can also be worn without the sleeves as a unique strapless masquerade gown.
A necklace has been created to match the gown. It is made from gold plated cabochons embellished with ‘pink rose’ Swarovski crystals, 6mm glass pearls and gold plated wire. Swarovski rose crystal filigree is attached to create very attractive drop. A long chain of 6mm pearls, gold filigree beads and rose pink bicone beads are worn around the neck and drape across the front of the bodice.
A sparkling girdle constructed of 6mm glass pearls, rose pink crystals, filigree beads, and rose pink bicone beads is worn around the waist. A gold pendant with rose coloured stone set in a gold plated pendant is attached to the chain of the girdle to complete the regal jewellery.
A small purse has been made from matching fabric – it has a gold cord double drawstring top and is decorated with gold lace and 6mmm pearls.
A mask to match the gown has been created. The base of the mask is constructed of plaster bandage which is applied to the face. When set – which happens quite quickly – it is trimmed to form the desired shape and the eyeholes are cut. A length of metal or wood is attached to the base to form a handle and the base is covered with gold fabric. Feathers in shades of bright pink and lilac as well as iridescent peacock have been fixed to the top of the mask. The mask is then lined with black felt and a gold cabochon with rose pink jewel attached to the top. The whole mask is embellished with rose pink Swarovski crystals, gold beading, gold trim and gold holographic spangles to create a sumptuous and sparkling mask.
With its sensuous style, sumptuous silk and glittering accessories this lavish gown could have been worn ‘La Reine Margot’ herself.