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I had always wanted to get a beautiful, lace and satin, 18th Century dress and huge, powdered wig and dress up for Halloween like Marie Antoinette. Historical fiction is my favorite genre and while I haven’t read any books about Marie Antoinette, specifically, the movie starring Kirstin Dunst is one of my favorites. I thought it was because I like books and movies about this era that really attracted me to the costume. The corsets and wigs, handkerchiefs, pantaloons, butt pads and whatever form a fashion we will never understand. The makeup and cleavage were always impeccable. Uncomfortable? Yes. Also, creepy. It was hundreds of years ago, so everyone is now long dead and things were just creepier in general back then. The story of Marie Antoinette, no doubt, is perfect for Halloween. She was beheaded in 1793, in Paris.
Finally, I got my costume last year. It’s not the fancy, expensive dress I had in mind but it is full length and I bought a corset and pannier for the proper silhouette. The wig makes me a foot taller than usual, including the feathers. As I was joyfully wearing it for the first time, strutting around the pediatric unit like the real queen of France, I realized something. This outfit, this costume, stems from long before my knowledge of Marie Antoinette. I have this image, this persona in my head that was ingrained long before Kirstin Dunst even had a driver’s license. It dawned on me suddenly, like so many things that I had forgotten or failed to process.
The truth, is that the inspiration for my “Marie Antoinette” costume is actually Madonna’s 1990 MTV Video Music Awards performance of “Vogue”.
I didn’t first realize this because I’m slow but I also found out that it’s much easier to tell someone you are Marie Antoinette, than Madonna in her 1990 MTV VMA performance of “Vogue”. Some people just don’t appreciate it. I was only ten years old in 1990 but I was already a huge Madonna fan. My love of music stems from playing Madonna’s True Blue album over and over at my Aunt Janet’s house. Wearing her giant headphones with the long, long, curly cord, I would study the insert and read all the lyrics, singing as loud as I wanted to until she eventually told me to knock it off. At ten years old, I was maybe too young to be watching MTV music video awards but my aunt was cool. The costumes and the choreography had me hypnotized. Vogue became my new favorite song and I could sing every word with the same confidence, believing I was a star. The albums Like a Prayer and The Immaculate Collection came out that year as well as the movie Dick Tracy. Yep, 1990 was a good year for Madonna and this performance did not disappoint. It’s beautiful with plenty of attitude and her backup dancers are serving!! If you haven’t seen it, check it out below, or watch it again because it is a stunning and flawless performance.
I don’t mean to demean the life of the great Marie Antoinette but she’s not done much for me, I don’t think. Madonna was always there for me and gave me a love of music, dance, expression and got me through my parents divorce. I must give credit where credit is due. My Halloween costume is the manifestation of my love for this performance. This year I’m going to put a little vampire spin on it, so I can just say I’m a vampire.