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When Fashion Followed Terror: Guillotine Earrings during the French Revolution's "Reign of Terror"

The years 1793 and 1794 during the French Revolution were known as the "Reign of Terror." During that time, there were over 16,000 official executions by beheading using the guillotine.

And in a macabre way, fashion and style followed the events of the day, and guillotine earrings became all the rage.

From Cult of Weird:

Barbaric or not, people loved the guillotine. When the Reign of Terror began taking heads on an average of 46 per day, including Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, the terrifying instrument of swift death became part of everyday life. It was the subject of art, music, and fashion.
“It was depicted, recounted, and bandied about by popular songs with their series of refrains on ‘the widow,’ ‘the national razor,’ ‘the patriotic haircut,’ ‘the sword of equality,’ and ‘the altar of the nation,'” says Murat. “People no longer referred to ‘being guillotined’ but spoke of ‘sticking your head through the cat-flap,’ ‘poking through the window,’ or ‘sneezing into the basket.'”
“Like tricolor skirts and nosegays, or jewelry set with chunks from the Bastille,” Jane Merrill and Chris Filstrup write in I Love Those Earrings, “the guillotines testified to a person’s daring (unmistakably they were symbols of castration) and being on the winning side.”

( Photo: @hannahtraining )


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