I met Sabine de la Rochefoucauld years ago when she was the VIP guide at Versailles, and Harold Pinter and Antonia Fraser who was writing on Marie Antoinette, raved about her. She has now been for many years at the Louvre as chief of Protocol for royalties and stars, but still organizes visits for normal people. One of her cherished theme is “Fashion in the paintings collection”. As a cousin of Annette de la Renta, she has always been close to the International fashion world, and through her education in one of the oldest families in France (born la Rochefoucauld, married to a la Rochefoucauld), she knows all about aristocratic dressing. Dedicated to Oscar de la Renta, her album “Louvre Haute Couture” published by Gourcuff Gradenigo, is a reprint of all the articles she wrote for La Grande Galerie, the Louvre’s magazine, between 2009 and 2023. And it is a perfect present for teenagers and mother in laws alike…
This is the perfect way to visit the Louvre from your sofa and in a whimsical way. From Charles Le Brun’s design for the tapestries of the King to a medieval rendering “L’Offrande du coeur” (the offer of the heart), François 1 er ‘s armor and Raphaël’s magical portrait of Dona Isabel de Requesens (in Louvre Lens at the moment), the outfits chosen by the author are very diverse and full of informations. Little boys were dressed in dresses in Jacques de Lajoüe‘s paintings, anglomania is visible in Jacques Louis David’s portraits, but my favorite is “The Beautiful Nani” by Veronese, cir 1560, in Venice. Gold jewelry, lace, transparent silk, the pearl necklace and the sophisticated hairdo are pure ravishment.
Each painting has a long caption explaining the fashion but also the social customs of the time whether in French courts or in England and in Italy. “Louvre Haute Couture” is a perfect present for teenagers to entice them to go and visit the Louvre but it is all a great source of amusement for anyone who enjoys fashion … Ed Gourcuff Gradenigo, 24€
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