Marie-Jeanne Bertin known as Rose Bertin is The french dressmaker who had the most considerable influence on the fashion scene of her period and lay the foundations of Haute-Couture.
Located in the Palais Royal district of Paris (which contributed to its fame) Miss Bertin opened the “Grand Mogul,” ancestor of the famous department stores of the nineteenth century. It has been an important link in the luxury trade in the heart of the urban development of the capital and helped to blur the hierarchical order between the Court and the City.
She quickly won the patronage of several influential courtiers, such as the duchess of Cartres and Louise Marie Adelaide de Bourbon, who introduced her to Marie Antoinette, in the summer of 1774. When her grand designs caught the eye of the newly crowned queen, her popularity with the upper-crust soared.
Madame Bertin became Marie Antoinette’s chief dressmaker in the 1770’s and designed most of her gowns. On average, Marie Antoinette purchased 150 gowns a year and most of them were from Rose Bertin. Madame Bertin would visit the queen twice a week, where they would discuss plans for new gowns. Madame Bertin would bring sketches and fabric samples and make suggestions.
Rose Bertin influenced the fashion of her time by constantly launching new trends such as the Formal Court Dress, high hair styles and the muslin country gowns worn by Marie-Antoinette at Trianon. She quickly became known as the “Minister of Fashion”.
The Queen Marie Antoinette wearing Rose Bertin
Alongside the queen, this position enabled her to become the leading fashion supplier of the kingdom. Her customers included the royal family, the portrait painter Elisabeth Vigée-Le Brun, the Marquis de Lafayette and lot of foreign queens.
She went into exile during the French Revolution, hiding away in England and opening shop in St. James. In her death in 1813, Rose Bertin already entered the legend.