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The Fashion Monkey: A Staged Promenade through the Neues Palais

The Fashion Monkey: A Staged Promenade through the Neues Palais

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On the occasion of the three-hundredth anniversary of Frederick the Great’s birth, the Foundation of Prussian Castles and Gardens, Berlin-Brandenburg, restaged his one-act play, Le Singe de la Mode, or The Fashion Monkey. Written in 1742, The Fashion Monkey recounts the story of the fashion-obsessed Marquis de la Faridondiere and his uncle’s attempt to put a stop to his free-spending ways by proposing that he marry the particularly thrifty maiden Adelaide. In his quest for the latest fashions, the marquis must also address matters of philosophy.For the festivities, Belgian artist Isabelle de Borchgrave created and installed throughout Potsdam’s Neues Palais figurines whose papier-mache frocks are near-perfect simulations of lavish lace, rich velvet, and rustling silk. With photographs by Andreas von Einsiedel, the book collects this ambitious work and supplements it with the play in its original French and an essay by the foundation’s director, Samuel Wittwer, on the intellectual environment of Frederick the Great, the cultural history of The Fashion Monkey, and the creation of de Borchgrave’s 2012 works.