Rose Bertin, saw her career as a dressmaker take off when the young Queen Marie Antoinette made her her “Minister of Fashion”. During her time in the queen’s service, Bertin had a significant impact on the fashion of the period and laid the foundations for the future of Parisian haute couture.
Rose Bertin exerted a significant influence over the fashions of the era, constantly launching new trends, such as extravagant gowns for court appearances, towering ‘pouf’ hairstyles, and the rustic muslin dresses which Marie Antoinette wore at the Trianon Palace.
“Rose Bertin was admitted to the queen’s inner circle, an honour which allowed her to become the most successful dressmaker in the realm and amass a considerable personal fortune. Her clientele included the royal family, portrait artist Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, the Marquis de La Fayette, and various foreign queens. “
But with the spirit of the Revolution growing stronger as ordinary people grew weaker from hunger, numerous pamphlets denounced Rose Bertin as “a corrupt and corrupting merchant of luxury.”
The last clothes the queen wore, on the day she was transferred to the Conciergerie, were from “Le Grand Mogol”, Rose Bertin’s Parisian boutique.
After the execution of Marie Antoinette, Rose Bertin fled to London to avoid the Reign of Terror.
By the time she returned to France, in February 1795, the Revolution had lain waste to her reputation and turned French fashion on its head. Bertin's style, identified so closely with the excesses of the monarchy, was utterly out of vogue.
Rose Bertin fell into anonymity and died on 22 September 1813.