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  • 1. Eugenie de Montijo A famous painter named as Franz Winter Halter create a painting that visualise the garden at the Versailles , women dressing in a old eighteenth century that is made of gold taffeta and the hair of the women is made of the white powder. This painting is quite awesome in many ways, as the dress is of the gold of the women; hair is with the white powder, opulent design of garment, visualization of the garden, fashionable style of the skirt, and ribbon. All these things are very eye catching. The next things that come to the mind is that what is this painting all about? Who is she? And why the painter made this painting of her with gold fashion dress and in royal garden? What is the story behind this? So the answer is very simple to all the questions in one line as the last empress of French named as Eugenie de Montijo. Eugenie de Montijo was the last empress of the French and was a Spanish countess. She was born in 5 May, 1826 and died in 11 July 1920. She married to Napoleon – III that’s why she was the last empress of French. It is known about her that she was very charming, beautiful, sensitive and polite. She was the last women to reign over France during the second empire. She came to France to educate but soon after some time she married to Napoleon and became the very powerful and public figure in Europe. If you thoroughly go in to the details of the profile of the Eugenie de Montijo, you will call her as feminist today. Fig: Eugenie de Montijo, the Last empress of French She followed the footsteps of the great queens who were the good female leader during their time such as Queen Elizabeth, Maria Theresa, Catherine, and Marie Antoinette. She was much practiced to the Catholic and soon grounded in the faith there and became very devout of the Church. She first time met to Lois Napoleon Bonaparte when he was at the President
  • 2. of the French Second Republic and soon became the attraction for Louis and the Spanish beauty was taken by him. She had already the reputation as the women leader but after marrying with Louis the position became very strong. She was considered as the object of Louis desire but she mentioned to everyone that except her husband no one can have her. These things perhaps have knocked the mind of Louis but instead of it he was fallen in his desire for her deeply like a forbidden fruit for him. By this title of Louis the family of the Louis were extremely amused. It was assumed that Louis was marrying to the women who is below his station and doesn’t suit to the family. The major reason for the Louis to marry with Spanish women Eugenie de Montijo was so that after becoming the emperor he will have legitimate son and heir. During year, 1856 she born a child named as Prince Imperial Napoleon Eugene Louis Jean Joseph Bonaparte and he was the only child of her. This gave the future empire of the French and it seemed as the stability in the empire of the Bonaparte. She also served the public a lot and made number of public relations as being a part of the New France Government. As being a charming, pleasant, polite and simple behaviour, people of the France supported her. She attracted number of people around the world through her politeness and beauty. People started to give the example of her that because of her the Napoleon family will rule again on France. She was very much found of the fashion and current trending in dresses, she wore the cage crinolines first time in year 1855 and after some time the large bell like skirt. This showed that she was very fond of the fashion and garments. She almost tried all types of France fashion garments. The western culture started to follow her in fashion and garments. Even though as it seems that her life must be glamorous and splendid but in reality it was not like that. Her life was full of the danger and political problems. As in her personal life Napoleon was not a faithful husband to her, he used the advice of her, because of her smartness, intelligent and wisdom but not supported on many events for his own sake. Sometimes she ruled over the France with her own decisions and then there will be some political and social problems which caused her in great trouble as few of the social and political people became the enemy of her. The best example can be seen from the great work that she did and influenced to the public through the good policies and decisions but many times came under attacked by the Italian emperor so the public of the France thought it like a conspiracy for them. This created a danger for her life as she was called as the France ruined and helping to the Italian improper because these Italians were, for them sometime Napoleon was a member. Anti-Catholic officials in the area had closed the grotto, but Eugenie was a believer and when
  • 3. the Prince Imperial was cured by water from Lourdes which Eugenie had sent for, the Empress used her influence to have the grotto. She fought a lot in her life and faced every kind of danger as being an empress of France. But during the same time some other emperor became stronger and the problem became terrible to secure the providence from them. During year 1873, the emperor died and her son died in year 1879 in South Africa while fighting with the Zulus. She avoided all political issues and returned to her old villa in Hampshire alone. She made good relations with British and in year 1887 she was honoured with the position of the Godmother. While visiting her own country Spain at the age of 94, she was buried in Imperial Crypt where her husband and son buried already. This shows the life of her with passion, charm and wisdom that also includes the fashion and garments too her life. Fashion was the passion of Europe that time as most of the western countries followed her. She favoured the Rocco style instead of the renaissance style of Europe. She also created her own styles and designs too. The Tuileries was a place where the grand balls were full of dance, music, fashion and art. But the fashion became the central model there during the time of Eugenie where she changed the fashion style as in fresh and beautiful way. The Tuileries would also hold the two types of masquerade such as mask and dresses. In 1854 there was huge influence of her on the public and to the many emperors which suggest that how the fashion got changed based on her thoughts and style so the Tuileries place was full of the beautiful fashions and style. The court in The Tuileries, were influenced and every person over there was dressing like the style of her. She dressed herself in different ways for the same day as in day time she wore the woollen, poplin or silk dresses, which was rainbow colors, plain or painted too. She was very much fond of the pastel shades like dove gray, cream, or buttercup yellow. This indicates that how she changed the mindset of the people in regard to the fashion and style. Charles Frederick worth was an English born fabric sales man as of her dream. He was inspired by the designs and fashion and emphasized to restructuring his own design. First time Eugenie de Montijo found the dress by him at an exhibition and slowly she became his one of the most important client. Soon after some time he only designed for her and was called as the engineer of the structure of fashion design. She was one of the first women to wear the cage crinoline of his design and this was much lighter than the earlier traditional designs. She also pioneered the shortening of the skirts to feel more comfortable. Worth introduced the shoulder hung court train in fashion for her, and so she was one of the models
  • 4. that time with the latest fashion and dresses. Sometime later, Worth also introduced back swept skirt. As the painting of Franz Winter Halter describes that she loved the dark fashion dresses as well. This second empire was a trend of changing the fashion for a time being in future. The second empire wanted to bring the prosperity and wellness in France. So for this time The Tuileries place was seen as the royalty will come to this place from the world. The designs were really good that time and every lady there was not supposed to wear the design twice like that. Thus it can be said that she was one of the mind changer in fashion and designing for the western world. References: 1. Schmadel, Lutz D.; International Astronomical Union (2003). Dictionary of minor planet names. Berlin; New York: Springer-Verlag. p. 19 2. Calasibetta, Charlotte Mankey; Tortora, Phyllis (2010). The Fairchild Dictionary of Fashion. New York: Fairchild Books. pp. 249–250 3. Shields, Jody (1991). Hats: A Stylish History and Collector's Guide. New York: Clarkson Potter. p. 43. 4. "Eugenie". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. ncyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2012. Web. 20 May. 2012 5. Bresler 1999. Louis the II was also known as the former general of the french military., p. 37 6. Roger Price (1997). Napoléon III and the Second Empire. Psychology Press. p. 16. 7. Arthur J. Dommen, The Indochinese experience of the French and the Americans (2001) p. 4 8. Göran Therborn (2008 [1978]). What Does the Ruling Class Do When It Rules?. Verso. p. 198