dress history, textile history, art history, Marie Antionette, Elisabeth Vigee-Lebrun, Cottagcore, colonialism, neoclassicism, racism, slavery, Transatlantic Slave Trade, Shein, Youtube, TikTok, exploitative labor, fast fashion, sweatshops, cultural appropriation, homesteading, fashion, aesthetics, lifestyle, fantasy, escapism


This essay is an examination of the legacy of Marie Antionette's Chemise a la Reine. At the end of the 18th century, a portrait of the queen in this dress caused scandal and outrage. Despite, or perhaps because of this, the Chemise a la Reine became a staple in the wardrobe of the Western woman. Today, this style continues to be popular. This is particularly notable in the Cottagecore aesthetic movement. Much like Marie Antionette's use of this style, Cottagecore fashion carries deep ties to an escapist pastoral fantasy. However, more important is the continued legacy of Neoclassicism and the glorification of whiteness, cultural appropriation and the romanticization of colonialism, and the TransAtlantic slave trade and modern exploitative labor. Indeed, these issues are not incidental but intrinsic to both the Chemise a la Reine in the days of Marie Antionette and the Cottagecore peasant dress today. In this essay, I examine each of these issues in depth with a particular interest in how meaning of dress interacts both with production techniques and with movement in time.



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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.

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