The moment she set foot in France, the Austrian-born princess had to embrace the rigid traditions of the French court, which dictated her every move and what she should wear. Once she became queen, she rebelled. Aware she would not be able to exert much political influence, she turned to fashion to command attention and, with the help of her favorite “designer”, Rose Bertin, established her own style. Her initial success as a fashion trendsetter came at a cost, however. Soon criticized for her extravagance, and accused of dilapidating the French treasury, her unpopularity gained momentum. Yet, her choices in fashion were copied by women all over Europe. Her tragic death only enhanced her aura, and, to this day, her name remains associated with elegance and luxury.
In the series:
Mar. 2 – Marie Antoinette
Mar. 9 – Empress Eugénie
Mar. 23 – Marlene Dietrich
Mar. 30 – Jackie Kennedy
Apr. 13 – Princess Diana
Apr. 30 – Audrey Hepburn** added lecture
Olivier Courteaux received his B.A. in History, M.A. in War and Conflict Studies and Ph.D. in Contemporary International Relations from the University of Paris-Sorbonne. He has lectured at various Canadian universities, including Ryerson and the Royal Military College of Canada.
He is the author of The War on Terror: The Canadian Dilemma (2009), Canada Between Vichy and Free France, 1940-1945 (2013) and Quatre Journées qui ébranlèrent le Québec, on Charles de Gaulle’s famous 1967 “Vive le Québec Libre” (2017). His latest books are: The Empress Eugenie at Suez, 1869 and France and Egypt during the Second Empire.