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When Gilbert Adrian began to design his sumptuous, extravagant gowns for MGM’s Marie Antoinette, the feature was intended to be filmed in color. Adrian spared no expense in choosing the most extravagant of fabrics, colors and designs for his pieces—much to the ire of the MGM heads who balked at the increasingly high production cost for the film. When Sidney Franklin was replaced as director by W.S. Van Dyke, the decision was made to cut the plans for technicolor and film Marie Antoinette in black and white to curb the already bloated budget for the film. The result was that many of Adrian’s gowns, as seen in the film, appear in extremes of black or white—such as a gown worn by Anita Louise as the princesse de Lamballe, which appears entirely black on film but was in fact purple; or the apparently white ballgown worn by Norma Shearer which was actually a brilliant shade of light blue.

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