When I was a kid, I loved history. I thought that stories about the past were every bit as interesting as the made-up stories in books. Then I grew up, went to high school, and started to hate history because they managed to make it so boring. But now that I’m a filmmaker and a lover of movies, I am slowly easing back into my passion for history by watching period pieces. All right, to be honest, I am watching more for the fashion than the historical authenticity but I still love a good story.
What better movie to watch if you don’t care about historical authenticity than the gorgeous and strangely executed Sofia Coppola film, “Marie Antoinette,” starring Kristen Dunst.
Although none of these women was what you would call boring, this movie tells the story of one of the most fascinating Queens of France. She married Louis XVI when she was 14, became queen at 19, and was executed a few weeks before her 38th birthday. Some say that she was the world’s first “fashionista.” Whether that’s true or not, the girl had charm, style, imagination and courage.
Sofia Coppola is a very hands-on director. She knows music and she knows fashion. So it’s no surprise that this film was so well tailored and well dressed. The color palette is very washed out and filled with hundreds of shades of pastel, which gave the movie this dreamy, whimsical feel.
The best thing about 17th century fashion, especially French fashion, was the big luscious ball gown. Those petticoats on top of lacy petticoats, the underpinnings that exaggerated the hips, and the super low-cut gowns all put all the lady parts front and center. And how could we forget the amazing socks with bows that demanded that you look at the calf? Actually, those were the socks the men wore!
Most importantly, since this is a Sofia Coppola movie, Marie Antoinette is a rock star, a 17th century diva. This movie is a big, fact excuse to show off beautiful pastel candies and sweetmeats and other delights in a series of montages that highlight hand embroidery and silken works of art for Marie and her ladies to play with. Being a young, rich and bored queen, that’s the ultimate celebrity life!
Along with the unusual music choice in this movie, Coppola tosses in a pair of powder blue high-top Converse sneakers among the hand-made, one-of-a-kind shoes. It’ a very Sofia nod to the fashion of the past and present, and now that I think about, it I bet Ms. Antoinette would rock a pair.
Although the movie might not be true to history, in fact it’s more like a music video than a movie, I have to admire Sofia’s talent and guts. Her eye for detail, her love of fashion and her determination to leave her own special mark on a story all prove that she’s a Coppola, right down to her toes.
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