four more fashion queens

history,thinking — Danielle on April 13, 2012 at 2:00 pm

Since I posted about some of my favourite fashion queens, I’ve been alerted to a couple of outstanding omissions and discovered a couple new favourites. While not all of them are necessarily fashion-y, all of them have a keen sense of majesty and thrilling stories about how they used their power. Here they are.

Queen Nefertiti played a symbolic role in a religious revolution. Otherwise, very little is known of her life or death. Her bust, discovered in 1912, has become an indelible modern image of feminine majesty, just as her alleged torso evokes idealized fertility.

Eleanor of Aquitaine is remembered as an icon of courtly love, but her real life story (as I learned thanks to BBC’s She-Wolves) was much more interesting than fairy tales. As one of just a handful of fierce Medieval Queens who lived in an era where power had to be physically fought for, Eleanor’s role as a monarch was dependent on being the mother of an heir, and very precarious despite her considerable intelligence and ambition.

Queen Nzinga of the Ndongo, like Hatshupset, avoided the question of gender by crowning herself King. With a wily way of playing her opponents off of one another, she secured her kingdom in the turbulent era of early colonialism, playing an ambiguous, notorious role in history. The most famous Nzinga anecdote has her imperiously perching on a servant’s back when no chair was offered to her.

Empress Elisabeth of Austria is perhaps the most fashion-y queen of them all. Thanks to Lorna for properly introducing me to her! Brilliant, eccentric, and vain, “Sisi” remains forever beloved for her cult of beauty. Her hair took four hours a day to maintain, during which she would study, she had a very unusual diet and perhaps even an eating disorder, was dressed in exquisite House of Worth gowns, and when she aged she ceased allowing her image to be reproduced.

Are there any more amazing fashion queens out there? I love discovering more!

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    3 Comments »

    1. Thank you so much, Here in Madagascar there’s not yet fashion schools. But I’m very interested in fashion designing. I learn more and more with “finalfashion”.

      Comment by Landy — April 13 2012 @ 5:24 pm
    2. Hey there. Just found your blog through the IFB pro blogger feature. Love your illustrations and your insight (in particular on the post about fashion through the decades.)

      If you want, stop by me too some time–I also illustrate.

      Comment by Sabina — April 14 2012 @ 12:16 am
    3. Liberace. You forgot Liberace.

      Comment by vanderleun — April 23 2012 @ 6:01 pm

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