18th Century, Rate the dress

Rate the Dress: Princess Louise Marie in furry finery

I suspected that last week’s Schiaparelli would be unpopular with some, but didn’t anticipate how many of you would consider it a ‘waste of time and material’.  The only love it got was as a potential costume for a Broadway  musical.  It rated a 4.9 out of 10.

Perhaps the frock of a Princess (and a nun) can tempt you to higher praise?  Drouais paints  Louise Marie of France in a dress of luxurious tobacco-coloured silk trimmed with wavy bands of fur and lightened by lace sabot sleeves.

Portrait of Princess Louise Marie of France (1737-1787), François-Hubert Drouais, ca 1770, Musee national des Châteaux de Versailles et de Trianon

The style of dress is somewhat old-fashioned for 1770 (Louise Marie’s sister in law, the charming Maria Josepha of Saxony, was painted in similar frocks in the early 1760s), and is rather sombre in tone.  Suitably un-worldy for a princess who was about to become a nun?  Or was Louise Marie, like her sisters, the other aunt-in-laws of Marie Antoinette, another “bitter old hag” who could not be bothered to dress properly?  Or is it technically suitable, but tasteless or ugly?  You decide.

Rate the dress on a scale of 1 to 10


  1. Tobacco-coloured silk?
    This is a princess who had access to better color choices.
    Or better court artists to paint her.
    Seriously is a nice warm brown or beige hard to ask for?
    The color of the frock is terrible and it killed the whole thing for me. Plus the front of her frock is weird due to the horizontal fur trim.

    P.S: I have heard of the term frock yet what is the meaning of it in our day in age.

    • Elise says

      I agree 100 percent. She reminds me of the goth girl in high school who wore ugly things precisely because they were ugly. And because she had better things to do. 4/10

      Wasn’t there a potential bride for Henry VIII who was also purposefully painted in an ugly dress? I forget the details…

      • Or the goth girl who wears a nice coat but then she wears the most run down faded black jeans in her closet with the nice coat. It ruins the look.

  2. 5.5 out of 10. I’d really like it more if the trim were something else. The fur just looks too awkward.

  3. Similar? It’s the same dress!! The only difference is that bit of fur over the shoulder, and that could have been moittee fromt he other painting.
    This whole exercise is seriously disilusioning me about royals – did they just swap frocks like sisters do today? Did they hold big Royal frock swap days?? I just figure that when your only mode of capturing an image is the ultimate Photoshop i.e. paint, that even if you can’t afford a new dress, the artist could at least make it look different 😉
    I do like it, I think the colour is like gold. I quite like the severe but luxurious trims contrasting with the lace. I’d give it a 6.

  4. actually like the color and the fur trim but i hate the lace sleeves too much frill going on in just one spot!

  5. I like the color scheme (though it doesn’t suit Maria at all well, I admit.) And I rather like the idea of fur trim on a dress. But so many strips of fur, running in *both* directions–horizontal and vertical–is just plain weird. The lace and fur combination doesn’t appeal to me, either (though otherwise the lace sleeves are nice).

    In other words, there are some nice elements to this dress–some of which would be better served if they were transported to a different garment. I’ll go to 6 again, mostly because not even the weird use of fur can destroy the wonderful period silhouette.

  6. Madame Ornata says

    I like the colour – yummy golden caramel and chocolate brown, glowing and sumptuous on a cold day. But I don’t think it the best colour for her, she seems to be a cold colour pallet and that is altogether too warm for her complexion.
    Fur is really hard to get right and although it is (as Emily said) “awkward” rather than awful. I still don’t think it is a positive contributor overall.
    Looking past this, there are some really lovely features. The basic shape and design of the dress is lovely and the elegant off the shoulder lace is quite yummy. With some tweeking I could be quite tempted to make something inspired by this dress but not exactly as is. I’d give it a 6/10

  7. Mlle. Sophie says

    I agree that the shape is very pretty, and I like the color scheme. Still I’m not sure if I think the fur looks cozy and luxe or like Louise Marie is a part time chipmunk. Yes, maybe she had better options to wear, but since she was about to become a nun maybe she was going for an understatement. Anyway I can’t help but like it enough for a 6. Replace the fur with something better and that’s a whole other tomato.

  8. I think the only thing I really DON’T like is the bow at her neck. It’s like… um, really, a nun?
    And then, yes, I guess this is not exactly a dress for her complexion. It might be party caused by the fact that the Color Me Beautiful theory, from what I could gather, is a 1980s thing. 😀
    Otherwise – it looks like the kind of costume that would be deemed quite fabulous in a fantasy blockbuster. So if I take the idea that 18th century royalty = 18th century fantasy blockbuster (ha-ha), it’s pretty nice! 7?

  9. I don’t mind the dress itself or the color too much–I rather like fawn/taupe colors, when used properly–I’ll give this one the benefit of the doubt and assume it was a luminous golden tone in real life. But the fur…I find the fur odd. It seems like a bizarre way to utilize fur trim, and looks kind of like it’s slapped on down the front for kicks. A little fur trimmed cape? Sure. Fur stripes on your gown yeilding a chipmunk effect? Eh, not really. I also find the lacy sleeves a bit too much like an over-enthusiastic male figure skater–they’re puffy-shirt esque. Overall…a 6, because I think it has potential to be reworked nicely but isn’t there yet.

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