Last week you were surprisingly positive about the black and gold Regency frock. Many of you noticed the bee/bug resemblence, and you actually approved of it! The dress rated an 8.1 out of 10.
This week, I thought it was high time I posted a full portrait, where you could consider the dress and the way it fits the wearer’s looks and personality. This is Maria Anna of Spain, who was considered as a potential bride to Charles I of England, and was instead married to her cousin Ferdinand III.
Maria Anna was everything you could want in a 17th century princess: pretty, without being so attractive as to cause jealousy or tempt a king into an unwise match; even tempered and happy, more than capable of balancing her gloomy husband’s moods; a competent ruler when called upon to serve as her husbands regent, but not tempted by more power, like her sister Anne of Austria. Also unlike Anne, she had no problem producing the raft of heirs that was the ultimate mark of success for a royal consort, and it was this that proved her undoing. Maria Anna died in childbirth only two years after this portrait was completed, and her most notable legacy was her contribution to the horribly inbred and inter-married Hapsburgs.
Today though, we are not concerned with Maria Anna’s character or history. Let us look, instead, at her dress. As a Spanish princess, it’s not surprising that Maria’s dress is still very stiff and formal: more 16th century than 17th century. Within the confines of conservative Spanish royal fashion Maria Anna has found space for something unexpected: unusual and elaborate geometric patterning.
What do you think? Do the lines and checks and squares lift the dress from ordinary to fabulous, or does the trim and design only add to the impression of stiffness and formality?
Rate the Dress on a Scale of 1 to 10