I’ve joked SO MANY times about wanting to own a pair of Marie Antoinette’s shoes. I’m not really a shoe person (although there’s a pair of Irregular Choice beauties that I’m currently desperately longing for) but to me Marie Antoinette’s Shoes are the pinnacle, the EPITOME of female glamour. Of ALL glamour in fact.
There’s something so fascinating about the shoes worn by women of the past though, isn’t there? I suppose it’s because shoes are so portable and so trinket like and also there’s something so intimate about the fact that the foot goes inside them which in a way makes the long ago wearer seem closer to us. I mean, this isn’t just any old shoe – this is a shoe that Marie Antoinette put her actual foot inside!
Sadly for me, when a pair of Marie Antoinette’s shoes recently came up in auction, they were not only far too small (a UK size 4) but also way out of my price range and sold for the equivalent of about £36,250. Crikey. As usual, the auction house vastly underestimated how much they would go for and predicted a sale price of between the equivalent of €3,000 and €5,000. Do you remember a post I did a while ago about another sale of royal relics and how they were massively undervalued by Christie’s?
One of the pieces sold in that earlier Christie’s sale was this fragment of puce silk and lace from a gown worn by Marie Antoinette while imprisoned in the Temple. This was once owned by Madame de Tourzel as well. This item was expected to sell for €4,000 – €5,000 but actually went for an astounding €55,700.
Back to the shoes – they are said to have been worn by Marie Antoinette at the Fête de la Fédération on the first anniversary of the fall of the Bastille, 14th July 1789. We know that on that day, the Queen chose to wear a simple gown of plain white cotton with feathers dyed in tricolor hues and tricolor ribbons hanging from her headdress. It seems logical to assume that Marie Antoinette, whose attention to sartorial detail is rightly legendary, should have teamed this with tricolor trimmed shoes.
I’m also really keen on this portrait of the young Marie Antoinette at the age of twenty by Gautier-Dagoty, which came up in the same auction and was valued at between €4,000 and €6,000. Isn’t it lovely?
Here’s another pair of Marie Antoinette’s shoes, a lovely pair of beaded mules, which can be seen at the Musée Carnavalet in Paris. Sorry about the ropey photograph but they keep them in a gloomy little box in the French Revolution bit.
I wonder who bought them? D’you reckon we’ll see them on a red carpet at some point? Will they appear in a museum or have they been whisked off into the hush of another private collection? Personally, if I owned them I’d keep them under my pillow and never let them out of my sight…