Historical Reads: Rose Bertin


Marie Antoinette's Gossip Guide To The 18th Century has a very interesting post on Rose Bertin, Marie Antoinette's dress maker. To quote:

She began working for Mlle. Pagelle at the Trait Galant. Another rumor had it that one of the costumers was the mistress of the Comte de Charolais. She had two illegitimate daughters. Long story short, when these lovely ladies were to be married off their wedding gowns were ordered from the Trait Galant. Rose was chosen to deliver them and when she arrived at the home she ran into an older woman, a chambermaid. Rose and the woman started talking about the gowns and when the woman asked to see them Rose showed her. It was a total du Barry moment, because Rose found out she was actually speaking with the princesse de Conti! After begging for forgiveness of her informal behavior the princesse promised her 'protection' and 'good will' for the future. A star was born!

She set up shop soon after, Au Grand Mogol, on the Rue de St. Honoré. She had the shop painted yellow with purple accents, and kept pretty shop girls to help costumers. She also hung portraits of her most well to do and popular clients on the walls. Rose was a true business woman and knew how to make it work!

She made hoop skirts that would reach 18 feet in circumference, and decorated them with brocades, silks and rich velvets. She knew how to apply spangles in pleasing arrangements that would highlight ladies in just the right way. She, like Rami, could create elegant flounces of fabric and lace. She knew how to take an ordinary dress and leave it dripping with garlands and flower blooms. The designs were not always symmetrical and were all unique.


To read the entire article, click here.