Last week, I took a day trip to Versailles, France. I went with a friend to tour the Palace of Versailles and immersed myself in the deep, rich history and culture of the palace, gardens and surrounding city. I had no intention of drawing inspiration for fashion until I got there. Once I arrived and started observing the architecture and art my mind began spinning with ideas. All I needed was a sketchbook. I got to work on designing when I got back home, taking shapes and patterns from the walls and floors. I created new, cutting edge looks from a 385-year-old building with the richest history.
Designers have been taking inspiration from Versailles for a countless amount of years. The King and other members of the royal family signified their status by wearing nine-centimeter, red heels up until the revolution. These red heels were the inspiration for the Louboutin stilettos with a red sole to signify luxury. Many contemporary stylists and designers look to the palace and its surroundings for inspiration. Christian Dior presented Versailles inspired, grand romantic looks for his Fall/Winter 2007 collection. Karl Lagerfeld created a 2013 Cruise collection for Chanel and the runway show was in the palace gardens. One of the most recent moments was in 2017 when Dior designer Victoire de Castellane created a high jewelry collection called ‘Dior à Versailles’ in tribute to the opulent details of the palace.
As I was sketching some designs, I decided to put together outfits perfect for a fancy night out in St Andrews. These looks, inspired by the golden gates, the palace, and the gardens, are perfect for many of the numerous balls and events students attend every year.
The first looks play upon the overwhelming, vibrant & warm tones that cover the outside of the palace. The first thing you see as you are heading up the cobblestone walkway are the tall, golden gates and the tops of the palace accented with gold. Gold is a striking colour, often representing luxury and high status, and can be the perfect choice for a special night out. Whether you choose a warmer or darker shade, sparkles, sequins, or satin, any monochromatic gold look is sure to turn heads. Mixing multiple shades of gold and gold tones, as the outside of the palace does, is a power move. A pair of white heeled boots are the last step to complete the look. Monochromatic looks are on trend, however most commonly in less vivacious colors. Taking such a powerful colour and creating a full look is sure to make you feel empowered and to be loved by others.
My second look is inspired by the inside of the palace, mainly the ceilings. The paintings are full of vivid colours and beautifully accented by the gold gilded ceilings. There is a constant sense of elegance and royalty as you walk through the palace rooms. Although gowns are most common in St Andrews, I love a good pantsuit. A deep-wine velvet blazer and trousers will not only boost your confidence but also make a strong, positive statement. Styling looks that are a bit more out of the box really pays off. Pairing this pant suit with a royal blue boot or gold, chunky heel would give it that extra something to pull it all together and make you feel like fashion royalty. Don’t be afraid to make a statement with what you’re wearing.
This last set of looks is inspired by the Garden of Versailles. These gardens are spread across 1,976 acres and are full of flowers, trees, ponds, fountains, and sculptures. The day I visited wasn’t very sunny and many of the flowers had just been taken out, so the colours were slightly duller than they are in the summer. This created a colour palette that I fell in love with. The light blue reflections on the water and in the sky are perfect inspiration for a simple pale blue dress with a unique style. If you’re looking for something darker, an olive green silk dress with a high slit and cowl neck is sure to be a lovely choice, inspired by all of the trees and plants near the turn of the season. These dresses would both be paired beautifully with a dusty lavender overcoat to keep you warm when the sun goes down. Playing with colour palettes to find your best combination will benefit your final look. Try using colours that you might not typically wear and mix colors and patterns that complement each other to pull together a look that you love.