Rate the Dress: Anne of Austria by Rubens

Last week you found the shocking pink Victorian well…shocking, either for being avant garde, or just for being shockingly bad.  It rated a 5.6 out of 10

I promised that this week I would not post another late Victorian dress, and I’m holding to that.  So I present you with a period that inspired many a late Victorian fashion trend: the Baroque.

Rubens paints Anne of Austria, Queen of France in an extremely patriotic dress of brilliant blue fleur de lys ornamented silk with a fleur de lys shaped bodice.

Peter Paul Rubens, Anne of Austria 1622-1625

The dress, and portrait, are perhaps an attempt to solidify Anne’s position as Queen at a particularly uneasy time.  Her husband had never been particularly interested in her and blamed her for a series of miscarriages.  She had been unpopular with the people for refusing to give up her Spanish ladies in waiting and adapt to French ways, and had only recently been convinced to adopt French fashions.

The portrait celebrates Anne’s new look, and aims to present her in a flattering light to her husband and people.  The results in her life were mixed: her husband remained distant, but Anne did become a powerful, respected force at court.

What are the results today?  How do you feel about the ensemble?  Rate the Dress on a scale of 1 to 10

A little bit of loveliness

I did a talk for a conference on Saturday and it was AMAZING.

Afterwards, the models and I went out into the park next to the venue and had a photoshoot, which was soooo much fun.

And then I went home, had some time with Mr D, had a nap, got up, and went dancing.  Perfect day.

Anyway, here is a sneak peek of  images from the photoshoot.  I’ll be sharing more throughout the week, including individual model photoshoots, and as they come in from the various photographers cameras.

10 beauties on a bridge

The raspberry swirl gown got its first showing ever at this event, though I need to finish the bertha.

Elisabeth as the picture of demure perfection

There were four different cameras in use, so a great deal of interactions and formal and informal posing was captured.

Chiara and Elisabeth show off their skirts

Claire personifies loveliness in the laurel dress

I mainly got formal, posed, images of single models, but I love the shots that other photographers got of groupings.

Multi-period fabulosity

Lisa as a Regency trendsetter

Rachael rocks the 1920s Vionnet frock

In addition to the dresses I made, Madame O wore her sapphire dress, and we paired a vintage 1940s nightie from her collection with a vintage 30s robe from mine to illustrate a point.

Hortense as a rose among roses

I love the different ways the fabric has ben gathered and draped in this image - it really shows the changes in fashion

Shell among the irises in Japonisme - look at her figure!

Mme Poiret amidst exotic greenery, looking very French and 1913

Madame O photographing the beautiful ladies

Chiara, as always, was beyond fabulous in the robe a la francaise

Is Vanessa not just stunning?

At the end of the photoshoot I had the ridiculous idea that we should all get an obligatory wedding ‘jump’ shot.

Let’s just say I’m glad I’m not the one in stays or hoopskirts!



There must be a fabric sale on!

Another Pompeii to Paris talk

As I have mentioned (numerous times) I had another go at the Pompeii to Paris talk on Thursday.

It was a crazy day: sewing and dressing and transporting things across town and organising, and then, at the end of it, getting in invite to be a last minute guest speaker for another event.

But that’s another story.  So here is Thursday’s story, in pictures.

The dressing room was tiny, so the dressed models waited in the theater before the audience arrived:

The models dressed and waiting to go, trying not to crush their dresses

They chatted, and compared dresses, and posed for pictures, and goofed off, and did lots of fun stuff, all of which I missed, because I was busy being…busy.

A little bit of pre-program posing

Joie de Vivre looks so fantastic in Poiret!

I adore her hair in the turban - it's so perfect!

How could you not practice your opera moves in dresses like these?

We're so pretty!

And we're so prim and sweet

Watching the opera singers

Paniers make great arm rests

Claire looking fantastic in the laurel dress, with an anachronistic camera

When I see models look this good, it really makes all the effort worth it!

I was the last person dressed and made up, so missed all the fun.  I ran out just in time for the talk, but at least I got to admire all the beautiful models in their dresses as I talked.

The models came out in chronological order.

The 18th century ladies looking stunning

Robes to chemises to Regency

This time I had a power point to go with the talk, so it was wonderful to be able to compare the models dresses with my inspiration.

I love how much Elisabeth is looking like Madame Recamier in these shots!

Describing the Greek fret motif in fashion

One of the things I really love about getting photos from the audience during the talk is that I can see that the models are paying attention to what I say too.

Chiara and Madame Ornata, listening intently, and posing beautifully

The 19th century beauties join the 18th century belles

I wave my arms around a lot as I talk.  My hair ribbon kept falling out.  The movement does make for great pictures though.

Centuries and layers of fashion and meaning.

I love how all the models look, and how much I look like a Roman mural with my stola flowing around me.

The models all looked so stunning in the gowns, and as a group.

I found some really fantastic counterpoint images for the power point presentation, and love how they interact with the dresses.

Aren't those images fabulous? It's Gloria Swanson and Carole Lombard

Who will get hit with the arrow?

After posing around the screen throughout the talk, the models all came forward at the end.

The end of the talk

Pretty pretty pretty!

And then, of course, the audience got to meet the models, and then we took photographs.

Group shot (minus a few models who had to run off right away)

Me and a friend capturing the glory of the Juno dress

Anachronistic, but still a beautiful image of the stola in action

I love how you can see the picture I am taking in my screen.

And then we took everything off and I went home and had a rest and it was wonderful.

Meet the Dreamstress

Leimomi Oakes is the Dreamstress, a textile historian, seamstress, designer, speaker and museum professional. Leimomi is available for educational and entertaining presentations, textile and fashion advice, special commissions and events. Click to learn more

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