Rose Bertin:The most famous French fashion designer who was the dressmaker and milliner of Queen Marie Antoinette


Marie-Jeanne Rose Bertin was the first most famous French fashion designer best-known as the dressmaker and milliner to Queen Marie Antoinette.

Born on 2nd July 1747, Rose came from a family which was not wealthy and received a modest education. At a young age, she moved to Paris where she was an apprentice to Mademoiselle Pagelle who was a milliner. Bertin showed excellent skills at the job and, because she was exquisite at designing, Pagelle made Rose her partner.

Miniature portrait of Rose Bertin


She was the most famous fashion designer in France

She started to dress some of the most influential women in the country such as Princesse de Lamballe, Princesse de Conti, and the Duchesse de Chartres. Because of the good relations with this women, Rose was later introduced by them to Queen Marie Antoinette.

“Le Grand Mogol” was Bertin’s first dress shop which was opened in 1770. The dress shop became famous very quickly because the women followed her from Mademoiselle Pagelle’s. Rose was introduced to the Queen in 1772. After the coronation of King Louis XVI, Bertin showed twice a week in Marie Antoinette’s home and presented her the newest creations.

Young Marrie Antoinette in a dress made by Bertin


Portrait of the Queen with pouf created by Bertin
Bertin made poufs for the Queen which were three feet high

The Queen fell in love with Rose’s creations; she adored every detail which she designed, and in short time, they became good friends. The French women began to pouf their hairs in the 18th century and started to wear oversized gowns with many luxurious details. In that fashion, Bertin designed her own poufs and exaggerated them a little, for example, she made poufs for the Queen which were three feet high.

Then, the important women of France started to raise their hairs like that, and they decorated them with many objects and ornaments which became a trademark of that period. The most famous coif of the Queen was the “inoculation pouf” that she wore at the time when she was convincing the King to take a vaccine against smallpox.

Poufs designed by Rose Bertin


Illustrations of dress designs created by Bertin

Bertin even created dolls dresses in the latest fashion because the Queen wanted to give them as gifts to her mother and her sisters.

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These wax dolls were called Pandores, and they came in small and big as a real person sizes also known as Pettites Pandores and Grandes Pandores. Because Rose was the brains behind every dress of the Queen people started to call her “Minister of Fashion.” According to Wikipedia, this inimitable elegance of Paris established the worldwide reputation of French couture.