White silk mules sold for approximately fourteen times more than their estimated price at an auction of French Revolution Era artifacts in Toulon, France.
The French Revolution in 1789 was blamed on Marie Antoinette’s frivolous tendencies that brought in deep resentment among her subjects. Born an Austrian Archduchess, Marie Antoinette married the future Louis XVI at the age of 14, when he was the heir apparent to the French throne.
France was then the most powerful nation in continental Europe, and their wedding ceremony, held in 1770, was an occasion unmatched for pageantry.
When Louis became king in 1774 the young queen threw herself into a decadent life of masked balls, gambling, and extravagance. Known as a fashion obsessive with hugely expensive tastes, Marie Antoinette earned herself the nickname ‘Madame Deficit‘ after spending more than twice her allotted clothing allowance.
Her husband the king did little to check her indulgences, which included excessive headdresses and plumes that were frequently caricatured by her detractors.
The shoes are suspected to have been worn by Marie Antoinette, the Queen consort of French Louis XVI in commemoration of national day. This is made obvious by the white silk shoes that bear trimmings of the French tricolor pleated ribbons, dating back to 1790. The La Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790 celebrated the 1789 storming of the Bastille, marking the start of the French revolution.
As we now know, things didn’t go well for Marie Antoinette and her husband, Louis XVI, in the days to come. By September 1792, the monarchy was abolished and the royal family was sent to prison. Marie Antoinette was convicted of treason and subsequently executed in October 1793, a mere three years after supposedly wearing her tricolor-ribboned shoes, which are a size 6 1/2.
The French era artifacts also included one of her silk scarves and a portrait at age 20 by Gautier-Dagoty. The fragment of puce silk and lace from a gown worn by Marie Antoinette was auctioned off for $74,350, at a far higher price than its estimated range of approx. $5,500 to $6,650.
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