Mon, 02 Sep 2019
This got me thinking about what if all of Versailles had been tricked out in awesome 1970's disco style? I could easily picture Louis XIV in a white leisure suit, open to the navel, with gold chains and bell-bottom trousers, his platform shoes glittering with real diamonds. (Surely you didn't think le Roi Soleil would wear rhinestones?)
I have been enjoying this mental picture for some time now, but part of it is wrong: the bell-bottoms. Louis didn't have a pretty face. But he had great legs, he knew it, and he never missed an opportunity to show them off:
Notice the recurring theme: skin-tight trousers or tights. Fancy garters. When he's wearing heavy state robes, they're cut away or swept back to expose his legs, and he always stands sideways or sticks them out so that you can see them.
(In that last picture, the diamond studded platform shoes, just as I said. Nailed it!)
Here Louis is fancifully depicted as Alexander the Great. He surely did not dress up in costume for the portrait. But the unknown painter knew what Louis liked and made him bare-legged, with a diaphanous blue tunic:
This is not a man who is going to wear bell-bottoms.
[ Addendum 20190903: “Louis loved ballet and frequently danced in court ballets during the early half of his reign. In general, Louis was an eager dancer who performed 80 roles in 40 major ballets.” Thanks to Akiva Leffert from bringing this to my attention. ]