Monday, January 14, 2008
Let Them Eat Cake!
Most of you know this quote as it is attributed to France's most decadent queen, Marie Antoinette. She was recently portrayed by Kirsten Dunst in a film by Sophia Ford Coppola. When I took my daughter Francesca to see this film a year ago, she was entranced, and proceeded to transform her bedroom into a homage to Marie's lavishly furnished rooms in her palace at Versailles. She even has a pair of our gold electroplate Dauphine Candlesticks on her bookshelf!
Fast forward to one day in late December. My two daughters Alessandra and Francesca and I are racking our brains to figure out what to do for Francesca's 11th birthday party in January. Over the years, we've created a legacy in terms of original birthday party themes, and the pressure was on to make this one as exciting as the rest. That was when my clever 19 year old had a "Eureka moment" and came up with the idea of a Marie Antoinette party in which the guests would come in costume, have their makeup done (white powder, beauty mark, and all), and dine on french pastries. Francesca immediately loved the theme, and because we happen to have a darling collection called Marie Antoinette in our line this year, it was perfect timing.
Here's the invitation:
When the day of the party finally came, Francesca dressed up in one of her sister's old theater costumes. Alessandra did her makeup and hair, and when Francesca came downstairs, she looked like a bona fide member of the French court. Then, her friends started arriving, all spectacularly attired and coifed. We had the soundtrack from Sophia Coppola's film playing in the background, and Alessandra did the girls' makeup while they watched scenes from the movie and admired each other's ensembles.
The table set with Rosanna dinnerware
The birthday girl eats cake
After everyone had been done up, the girls sat down for tea and delicious pastries from Le Fournil, one of the best French bakeries in Seattle. As the girls happily devoured eclairs, cream puffs, and napoleons, we talked about the story of Marie Antoinette, what it was like to live in the French court and how it would feel to to wear a corset all the time! Prior to receiving the party invitation, a few of the girls didn't know who Marie Antoinette was, so I included in each favor bag a note card about the abridged history of Marie. This party was wonderful because not only did the girls have a blast, but they learned about history in an thoroughly engaging and interactive way.
So, as Marie said, "Let them eat cake!"
And we did.
A votre sante!