Our ever so eloquent editor-at-large, Dara Block, delves into the stacks of her fashion archives and pulls out a beauty for us: the September 2006 issue of Vogue, with the cover devoted to the character of Marie Antoinette as created by Sofia Coppola and played by Kirsten Dunst. Dara takes a closer look at the incredible styling work of Grace Coddington as inspired by the beautiful fashion of the film. Thank you so much, Dara, for this chic peek at the influence of Sofia's Marie Antoinette.
Marie Antoinette: Vogue September 2006
By Dara Block
There is something quite special and unique about Sofia Coppola's 2006 film Marie Antoinette. From the location in Versailles, France, to the story, the cast, the set, and of course those extravagant costumes designed by Milena Canonero... she actually won the Academy Award for best costume design back in 2007 for her exquisite work on the film. Even if you don't quite understand Sofia Coppola's interpretation of Marie Antoinette, you have to admit that the design of the film makes it well worth watching. For Coppola, the queen's love of fashion is really what interested her... Sofia once stated, "You're considered superficial and silly if you're interested in fashion, but I think you can be substantial and still be interested in frivolity. The girl in Lost in Translation is just about to figure out a way of finding herself, but she hasn't yet. In this film, she makes the next step. I feel that Marie Antoinette is a very creative person." I couldn't agree more with Coppola on her feelings about the teen queen and apparently so did Vogue magazine back in September 2006 when they decided to celebrate the iconic style of Marie Antoinette by featuring Kirsten Dunst in her role from the film on its cover. I feel like this is one of Vogue's most influential and powerful issues and with that in mind I thought it would be appropriate to take a closer look inside the pages of this sumptuous issue and the impact Sofia Coppola's film has had and continues to have on fashion today!
First of all, let's just talk about the amazing cover photographed by Annie Leibovitz of Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette. I think Leibovitz really captures her feminine essence with this image... that pink floral background blends so perfectly with her pink silk-corseted dress. Looking at this cover, I can't help but focus my attention on her hair, which happened to be Marie Antoinette's signature. I believe she was the first to start the pouf-hair trend. From what I have read, hairstylist Odile Gilbert went through 40 cans of Klorane dry shampoo to powder Kirsten Dunst's extensions to achieve that height and volume. Its not only her hair that stands out, but her rosy glow, as well... make-up artist Stephane Marais totally grasps that youthful shine of Marie Antoinette. Overall, its quite clear that this cover really is a visual feast for the eyes!
As you open the magazine, you will come across a striking editorial entitled Teen Queen styled by the one and only Grace Coddington. Vogue magazine did something different for this issue and asked a handful of designers to play with the theme of Versailles in all its opulence and grandeur to come up with some looks inspired by the style of Marie Antoinette. The results, all seen on Dunst, are quite sensational. The layout, of course, was shot in Versailles and this was the first time a magazine was allowed to photograph there in over 25 years... making it a truly special editorial.
The first look seen on Dunst is this corseted pink and dove taffeta and chiffon ball gown designed by the late Alexander McQueen. Dunst was photographed at the peristyle of the Grand Trianon at the Château de Versailles. I so love the way her McQueen dress contrasts with that checkered floor. McQueen actually used boned crinoline and air to give the dress its voluminous shape. This dress is truly fit for a queen... I don't know about you, but I would so love to try this on!
As you turn the page, you will see a group shot of all the actors featured in Marie Antoinette such as Louis XIV, played by Jason Schwartzman, Dunst as Marie Antoinette in a pale blue corseted dress, and of course the queen's lover, Alex Von Fersen, looking angrily over at her. Leibovitz created a stunning late-night gambling scene and I love the way they all look together as an ensemble. This photo was taken at the Centre Historique des Archives Nationales, Hôtel de Soubise where many of the film's interiors were shot. In this particular photo, all the costumes were designed by Milena Canonero and all the wigs were designed by Rocchetti. The costumes and the actors together make this such an extravagant yet memorable image from the editorial.
Next, we see Dunst and Schwartzman posing in the park at Versailles. Leibovitz beautifully captures the king and queen as they return home after attending a masked ball in Paris. Both actors look so regal in their costumes. I especially love the added mystery of those intricate black masks.
Following that photo, we see Dunst standing by the Grand Canal at Versailles in a Chanel Haute Couture "Petit Trianon" lace dress with tulle rosettes made just for the pages of Vogue. From what I have read, ten Chanel seamstresses worked on this embroidered lace gown and I must say she looks quite elegant in this Chanel creation.
Next, Dunst is seen in an Oscar de la Renta chine-taffeta gown also created especially for Vogue. Rumor has it that the dress was two yards short of the twenty needed to make this de la Renta creation. The studio actually pulled apart another sample and pieced the train together. It appears all that hard work has paid off... Dunst looks stunning!
I think my favorite look from the editorial has to be Kirsten Dunst in this Dior Couture by John Galliano dress that is made of black aluminum foil covered in organza rushed into undulating bubbles. This gown is quite epic and something that would most certainly only come from the mind of John Galliano. She looks so strong and elegant in this dress and I love how she is posed standing on those stairs.
Next, we see Dunst wearing a Balenciaga by Nicolas Ghesquière pale-blue jacquard quilted, hand-painted, and embroidered dress created especially for the magazine. Ghesquière used 18th century fabric from the Balenciaga archives to create the belt on this dress... She looks so majestic in this dress and very much like a statue in this photograph.
The last look from the Teen Queen editorial is a cotton and silk pannier dress made for her by Olivier Theyskens for Rochas. From what I have read, this Olivier Theyskens dress had to be kept on a mannequin from the time it left the atelier to the moment Kirsten Dunst put it on. The drapery on that gown is quite amazing and I love how it looks with that dark forest background... plus, her expression on her face does adds so much to this photo! I do wonder what she is thinking? At any rate, this is such a suitable image to end this magnificent editorial!
As we can see, Marie Antoinette is the perfect movie to promote on the cover and inside the pages of Vogue. The magazine unquestionably gives us a spectacular look at some of Marie Antoinette's greatest looks and we definitely are able to visualize what an impact her style has had on some of today's most celebrated fashion designers. It is interesting how six years later we are still talking about this film and how important it is in terms of style and imagination. I really appreciate the originality and femininity Sofia Coppola brought to this film and I must applaud Vogue for this impressive September issue. I so love to see magazines that can blend film, fashion, and style all together in such an elegant and graceful manner. Marie Antoinette, herself, was such a trendsetter in terms of beauty and style and I love that Vogue decided to recognize her as a fashion icon. It's quite exciting to know that centuries later she still inspires the world of fashion! On that note, consider yourself lucky if you still own this influential issue... it truly is an unforgettable classic!
Marie Antoinette editorial images Vogue US © 2006 Condé Nast. All Rights Reserved.