My fascination with Marie Antoinette

Since I started making things on a daily basis, I went back many times to the same subject: the fashionable rococo queen of France, Marie Antoinette. I imagine many people would think that a heavy decorative style is too much, but not me. To me it is not about making my home or my wardrobe look like that, it has more to do with feeling. I love 17th and 18th century classic painting, so much that, in fact, I questioned a few times my career choices. I spent a lot of time reading about artists and royal figures portrayed in those paintings I am talking about. My fascination is putting the visual element in the context it was created in the first place.

Last year I spent some time in Paris. I went to see her cell, where she was held in La Conciergerie before she was beheaded. I couldn’t step away from that shrine built in her honour. Here are some photos I took of the place. I lived it with so much emotion! The tragedy of her life was resonating in my head, I imagined her agonizing, separated from her children, waiting for her ill-fated end. She was conveniently blamed for all France’s problems.

But then I went to Versailles and other palaces where she lived. I visited her personal retreat, Le Petit Trianon. As you can see, it is not that heavy, it is more like she wanted some peace and quiet from trying to impress the elite. A home built for her, a gift from her husband Louis XVI, housing one of her most famous portraits by Elisabeth Vigée LeBrun.

Luckily, what is perceived of Marie Antoinette today is her flamboyant, very romantic and feminine fashion style. All those laces and frills, pastels, roses and pretty towers of macaroons. Those are the elements drawing me back to this subject over and over again. Endless source of inspiration, indulging into our femininity and, why not, occasional frivolity.

When I am too tired to actually make a piece of jewelry, I am sitting on my sofa surrounded by fabrics, velvets, silks, sequins and printed images of what interests me. Always a person as a focal, a classic portrait or a random expressive face. This is how most of them start.

Putting ideas together, touching those materials, moving them around to balance the whole thing out…Some might say I am actually doing nothing, but I disagree. I intensely live in the moment, I record an idea that makes me happy. Who knows? maybe one day you will see a finished piece from all this.