May 24, 2018 | By Lourdes Linares
Portrait of a young Marie Antoinette at 12 years old, by Stephane of Lorraine, 1767-68, Schönbrunn, Vienna (oil on canvas). Ivory silk mules dating to approximately 1790.
Modern-day shoe hounds can probably relate to one-time queen of France Marie Antoinette’s purported affinity for fashionable footwear, though perhaps not quite with the fervor of one recent fan, who purchased a pair of the late queen’s ivory silk mules for an astonishing $57,000. Scholars seem to agree that the elevated price is due to the fact that Marie Antoinette likely wore them during her reign, and further that they may have been worn to La Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790– a theory based on the fact that the shoes feature tricolor ribbons, a nod to the French flag and a symbol of French culture on a day of nationalist pride honoring the storming of the Bastille one year prior. As for size, Ms. Antoinette could have moonlighted as a foot model today: the silk mules measure in at 36.5 European, or 6.5 in U.S. sizing.
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