Let Them Eat Cake (1999) short review

This TV series, created by French and Saunders (a famous British comedy team. You probably know Jennifer Saunders from Absolutely Fabulous) is COMPLETELY HILARIOUS.  It’s set at Versailles in 1782, and Saunders plays the Comtesse de Vache (Countess of Cow), an AbFab version of an aristocrat who spars with her witty maid (Dawn French), hairdresser, and rival Madame de Plonge.  If you like historical humor, you will love this.  If you like AbFab, you will love this.  Nothing makes me howl as much as the opening 6 minutes of the episode “Murder,” when the Comtesse’s attendants leave her alone for two days, and she’s unable to get out of bed because — well, she’s an aristocrat! She can’t get herSELF out of bed! Meanwhile, Elizabeth Berrington plays a Queenie version of Marie Antoinette, complete with ridiculous Austrian accent. The costumes are definitely theatrical:  I think all of the dresses have fitted backs, some of which are incongruous with the rest of the dress. Some of the fabrics are weird, and there are some non-18th c. aesthetics, like skirts of a different color than the bodice.  That being said, I really quite liked many of the costumes!  The wigs are great, it LOOKS like they used silk for many of the dresses, and sometimes a character will step out in something that will make you say, “Wow, I think they based that on a real historical garment!” See Marie Antoinette’s dress, and the Comtesse de Vache’s blue and white jacket ensemble (okay the pockets are weird, but otherwise, I quite like it!). I can’t recommend this highly enough!


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.