Prato’s Textile Museum, Museo del Tessuto, inaugurated its most recent exhibition on February 9, titled Marie Antoinette: The Oscar-Winning Costumes of a Queen.
The show brings together more than 20 costumes worn by the protagonists of the 2006 film Marie Antoinette, directed by Sofia Coppola, which are on loan from Sartoria The One in Rome, the costume tailoring company responsible for crafting the film’s pieces.
Considered by critics to be the best cinematographic interpretation of 18th-century costumes ever created, the film’s clothing was designed by the renowned costume designer Milena Canonero, who went on to win the 2007 Oscar for Best Costume Design for the pieces on display in the exhibition. The costumes created by Canonero heavily reflect the psychological nature of Coppola’s interpretation of young Marie Antoinette, which can be seen in the choice of whimsical colours early in the film and the darker palette utilized in the final scenes, on the eve of the queen’s demise.
The exhibition opens with a section dedicated to Marie Antoinette, with an installation covering the most important moments in her life, as well as the historical changes gripping France at the time. The main section of the show contains various costumes from the film, with descriptions of the elaborate structures used to “construct” late-18th century dresses. Beside the costumes, scenes from the film play on loop to bring the exhibition into context.
Sofia Coppola’s portrait of France’s ill-fated monarch was praised by critics precisely for its fanciful depiction of royal excess, characterized by the bright colours of the costumes and set design, an image that is credited with influencing the direction of fashion in the years following the film’s release. The movie also represented a new way of interpreting historical subjects, highlighted by Coppola’s decision to throw a pair of All-Star Converse into one of the scenes, bringing the audience immediately back to present day and allowing them to see the main protagonist as a young woman no different than those of today.
The exhibition runs concurrently with another show in the museum, Whimsy and Reason: Elegance in Eighteenth-Century Europe. Together, the two shows offer a complete picture of sartorial styles in the 1700s, offering visitors the chance to discover an extraordinary century through rare examples of historical pieces alongside contemporary interpretations.
Marie Antoinette. I Costumi di una Regina da Oscar.
Museo del Tessuto, via Puccetti 3, Prato
February 11 – May 27, 2018
Open Turesday-Thursday 10-3pm; Friday and Saturday 10am-7pm; Sunday 3-7pm, closed Mondays
Tickets cost 7 euro; 5 euro concessions with discounts for Trenitalia ticket holders