Patreon Post Unlocked: Marie Antoinette (1938)


How the hell does a historical costume-focused blog review the film Marie Antoinette (1938)? Adrian designed between 2,500-4,000 costumes for 150 cast members and about 1,250 extras; lead actress Norma Shearer alone had 34 gowns and 18 wigs. I’ve had this film on my to-do list for months now, and I keep putting it off because it’s So Huge. I rewatched the film last night, and decided to settle on the historical influences in Adrian’s over the top, classic Hollywood glamour-infused designs. Because they’re there! Hidden amongst layers of floof and millions of sequins.

Read all of this review of Marie Antoinette (1938) here!

1938-Marie-Antoinette patreon unlocked


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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.

8 Responses

  1. k~~ (@Medancer)

    The flirting dress looks an awful lot like the dress Ella wears to the ball in MGM’s The Glass Slipper. Is it possibly the same gown reused?

    • hsc

      They do look enough alike that I could see a possibility– and as another poster cited below, MGM definitely reused those costumes.

      But there’s also enough difference between them that making an old costume over to that level would probably be more effort than it’s worth. (They did a lot more than just pick off a lot of the excess trimmings and tone it down.)

      And given that Cinderella’s ball gown is such a huge part of the story, I’d think they wouldn’t skimp with a made-over costume. Not with Walter Plunkett and Helen Rose on board.

      However, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Plunkett was directly inspired by Adrian’s costume, since the two gowns share a lot of elements.

  2. Jose

    Kinda out of place, gonna see this one later even if i’m hyper excited but i’m so busy, but here’s a here’s a few recommendations for the next WCWs before i forget
    Susan Hampshire PLEASE! take advantage that The Pallisers are on YOUTUBE!!!!!!!!
    Gayle Hunnicutt (was trying to watch Dallas she’s on it and is awful but i know she’s an excellent actress by her lots of amazing works on Period pieces including doing the Best Empress Alexandra and Irene Adler E-V-E-R!!!!)
    Lucy Gutteridge you reviewed a miniseries she’s in, Little Gloria…Happy At Last (1982) she’s also on Till we Meet Again (1989) and is great she’s on a ton of period pieces that seem interesting give it a shot
    Lesley Ann Warren besides Cinderella i found out abot other Interesting Period Pieces starring her, One Is Beulah Land an Antebellum South epic from 1980 that spands over 40 years and Evergreen a miniseries that spands from 1909 till the 1950’s i think both seem very interesting and make her fit for a WCW
    Please give me your opinion on the matter

  3. Jim

    The poofy white party dress with the feathers you referred to in your article was actually pale blue. It was recycled in a color dream sequence by Joan Crawford in The Ice Follies of 1939. All of Marie Antoinette was actually intended to be in color and the costumes designed that way but was scaled back to B&W for cost considerations. There are actually numerous color still shots still in existence taken during production that attest to the intended rich color palette.

  4. hsc

    One odd thing I’ve run across along the lines of reuse is the claim that in SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, when Lina Lamont is whining “What dope would wear a thing like THIS?” about the 18th century wig she has to wear, she’s wearing one of the wigs from MARIE ANTOINETTE– and her dressing room is supposedly even Norma Shearer’s old dressing room!

    I’m not good enough on hairstyles and wigs to be sure the wig in that scene is from MARIE ANTOINETTE, but the “head necklace” she’s wearing on that wig does appear to be re-purposed from a piece Shearer wore, as shown on this blog:

  5. hsc

    And BTW, thanks for a great post citing the press releases about what went into creating these costumes, plus the research comparing them to actual period designs!

    I just noticed that neither the original set of comments when this was locked on Patreon– nor the comments added when it was unlocked– actually address the post itself.


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