Let Us Eat Cake

Upon learning that the peasants of France had no bread to eat, queen Marie Antoinette is famously quoted as replying flippantly, “Then let them eat cake.” That story is as true as the one about George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, but there’s something about this historical misquote that’s been resonating with me. Maybe its because with everything going on (oversimplification of the year), I have found joy in the extravagant and unnecessary. Feeling pretty is an instant mood-booster, and I’ve grown addicted to ornamentation.

Dress for the job you want, they say, and the job I want is queen of France. My wardrobe is now saturated in exaggerated silhouettes, lace, pastel shades of pink, and billowy layers that juxtapose perfectly with my ordinary life. I have found that surrounding oneself with beautiful things, whether those be patterns or colors or scents, is one way to cope with the stress of living through 2020. Consequently, I have turned my closet and my room into my own corner of Versailles.

Minimalism is as dead to me now as any beheaded royal. It’s a great idea in theory to have clean walls and lots of white space, but where do minimalists keep the things that make their heart sing? When I walk into my room, I see my soul bouncing around in every corner and it reminds me that my space and my life are for me to exist in. Maximalism, as I have come to call my way of life, is about collecting pieces of the world that inspire and endear you, and I’d venture that modern living could use a dose of pleasure.

In the interest of encapsulating the essence of revolution-era French royalty, I enlisted my friend Hayatt to model for me. I liked the idea of merging Hayatt’s own signature style with more delicate details of lace and frills. She arrived with a bag of white, flowing clothes I had never seen on her before, and I was thrilled to get to dress her up like the pretty doll she is. Drawing inspiration from another famous queen, I did her lipstick like Alice in Wonderland’s Queen of Hearts. Then, I stuck multiple sets of clips in her pink hair and we walked up the street to my favorite old house.

This house, a run-down historical property, is an example of the decadent antebellum architecture popular in the South during the Civil War. The overgrown beauty of the place set a perfect stage for my homage to French royalty, especially the lace curtains and the painted white columns. In a way, this house has been my own little palace, a place for me to frequent when my life is lacking in romance or magic, and I hope these photos are imbued with some of that magic.

All of this to say, dress up. Play pretend. Make believe. Collect things. This is 2020, why not have your cake and eat it too?

I loved the delicate details Hayatt included in her look like the white fishnets, lace socks, and pearly bag. I also loved the lace curtains in this window that complimented her accessories beautifully.
This shot was inspired by the beheading of poor Marie Antoinette.

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