Sunday, June 6, 2010

Yay or Nay? Maria Luisa of Parma

Off with his head! Last week we looked at Robespierre and you sent his sorry excuse for an outfit to the chopping block. Good riddance! Black is boring, let's examine something good enough to wrap our Christmas presents with.



Laurent Pécheux paints Maria Luisa of Parma (1765) in her classic gown of white and gold stripes. Yay or Nay?

[Metropolitan Museum of Art]

27 comments:

Lily said...

I love the fablic, she looks elegant extravagantand not overdone all at the same time. Its a yay from me.

The Dreamstress said...

I wonder how old Maria Luisa was in this painting? Because she looks awfully pleased with herself in a '9 year old in a pretty princess frock' way. And at 9 (and even 12) you are allowed the worst, most ridiculous pretty princess frock you can get your hands on, and it is still a good thing.

But if you are any older than 12 there is no excuse for wearing 19 metres of upholstery fabric. Unless you look suitably embarrassed and not at all pleased with yourself.

So Yay if she isn't a teenager yet, Nay if she is over 12.

The Dreamstress said...

I just checked. She was 16. No excuse. Off with her head. Maybe that was what that ridiculous neck ruffle was for.

nightsmusic said...

I have to say nay. She looks like a walking couch.

Camille said...

I agree with Lily, I think her dress looks beautiful, elegant, original, but yet it's not too much. It's a yay !

Abby said...

I love it. I'm a fan of stripes, and I think this could be way way way way way worse. It is the 1760s here, I mean, it wasn't exactly the decade of lightweight silks and gauzy cottons. :) They're still stuck in the massive hoops, fussy bows and frilly lace everywhere. This usually results, for me, as a general distaste for this decade (and all before) but I think this was a nice mix of what was fashionable, but not over the top (compared to what she could have been).

I think the lines have been well well done on the bodice and I think she was smart in keeping the lacey bits more subtle. In person, I could only imagine how stunning it was when she walked into a room. The gold and the candle light? She would have been a showstopper.

Yay.

Audrey said...

To me she's trying a little too hard. The amount of fabric in that print is overwhelming. She should have picked one of the elements and featured that. Such as a less full skirt with the stripes or the bigger skirt in a solid. In fashion a goal is to look as if your outfit was effortless. This looks desparate, nay.

Paul Miller said...

Is there a 'bluck' or is that just another word for 'nay'? I like stripes in general, but in this example, with her standing so stiffly, and the panniers stretching the fabric from the front to the back of the room, the wearer seems to be playing a game of 'Princess or Wallpaper?'. And is there something incredibly off about the scale of the princess with the rest of the room, or is that just me?

Victoria said...

Yay. I like that fabric, wouldn't wear it myself....but it suits her!

Emily J said...

The panniers are ridiculous to my modern eyes, but I love the fabric and the overall look, so I give her a yay. I agree with Abby's guess at the fabric in candlelight---gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

Nay... very nay. While her outfit cuts quite a beautiful silhouette, the stripes are making me dizzy. Could you imagine all those stripes should she move too fast, all going in everywhich direction? Nay, Nay, Nay I say!

Jen Thompson said...

Nay! Looks like she's wearing wallpaper. And the size of that skirt is insane.

Ms. Lucy said...

Before seeing this I would have said that 'anything' with gold is a Yay for me...but in this case, it really does look like wrapping paper! (maybe this was the gown that inspired the Christmas paper designers!) NAY!

Laura said...

Well, the dress reminds me a little of wallpaper but I still like it! Plus, she looks so confident and pleased. Yay!

Cherylynn said...

I love everything about it except for those ridiculous panniers. I can't see past them. Proof every era has it's fashion boo boos.

Margravine Louisa said...

an entire drawing room could be upholstered with that fabric. It would take 3 people to help her get through a door.
Ridiculous! a resounding NAAAAAAAy

Ninon said...

This is a big big YAY from me! Gorgeous. Love the stripes.

Anonymous said...

Yay--it's court dress, so the panniers had to be huge.
Within the requirements of attire, this is downright elegant and tasteful. Since she's 16, I'm guessing maybe the painting may have been done in celebration of her presentation at court.

Sunny @ the Library said...

Oh, yes! A thousand times, yay!

(Unlike some others, it seems...) This type of fantastic extravagance in dress is precisely the reason I love the 18th century so much.

Fitting through doorways is *so* overrated!

Rebecca said...

Oh, yay! I love wallpaper stripes with rosebuds running in between them, and I like the sort of butterfly effect as it all meets in the middle. Maria Luisa ALWAYS looked pleased with herself (cf Goya) but here she had a right to be pleased with her dressmaker.

its_me said...

Lovely dress lovely painting.

Linda said...

Gorgeous. Fabric is fabulous and the dress simply shows it off beautifully. I also love that happy pert expression on her face. Thumbs up.

Comtesse Olympe de la Tour D'Auvergne said...

I've always loved this portrait, it's a yay from me!

Jessi P (AKA Emily Ryder) said...

Yay on the dress as I think it suits the - presumed - occasion beautifully. However, the disproportion between the dress and the size of her head puts me off.

Madame d'Matthies said...

Yay. Although it's a simple fabric, the wide skirt makes it just perfect.

Aileen said...

Nay for me, the colors of the stripes, and the stripes themselves, just don't appeal to my eye.

Leah said...

It's a narrow yay for me. At first, I said something like "good God, what is that thing!?" and then amended to a mere "hmph." What won me over? The fabric looks really lovely, and although I am not the biggest fan of panniers, they don't look horrible (even though they do drown her out somewhat). And the curtains!! Has nobody else noticed how fab the drapery in the back is?? The portrait itself isn't all that bad, so she gets a tiny
'yay' from me.