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The Kiss

21st of October 2023

Model Aldriana Gabrielle
Creative direction and Photography Gili Biegun
Hair and Makeup Elena Anna Erouslanova 

The Enchanting Tale of Catherine de’ Medici: A Legacy of Romance

In the annals of history, there are stories that transcend time, weaving an intricate tapestry of passion, culture, and tradition. One such story, whispered among the corridors of courts and castles, is the legend of Catherine de’ Medici—the captivating Italian noblewoman who brought a touch of romance to the heart of the French monarchy. This tale, perhaps more than any other, is often linked to the term we now know as the “French kiss.”

Catherine de’ Medici’s journey to the French court was a marriage of politics and love. Born in Florence, Italy, in 1519, she belonged to the illustrious Medici family—a powerhouse of Italian politics and art. Her future was destined to be intertwined with France when she was betrothed to Henry, Duke of Orleans, who would later ascend to the throne as King Henry II of France.

This enchanting union marked the beginning of Catherine’s illustrious reign as the Queen of France. Her arrival at the French court was not only a turning point in her life but also a pivotal moment in the history of kissing. The French, at the time, had their own set of customs when it came to displays of affection, which were relatively reserved and formal. Catherine, however, brought with her the sensuous and passionate Italian approach to love and intimacy.

Catherine de’ Medici’s Italian heritage played a significant role in transforming the landscape of French courtly etiquette. She introduced to the French court the concept of kissing on the lips—a practice that was both passionate and intimate. Her influence was profound, and it wasn’t long before the French court embraced this more fervent expression of love and affection.

While the precise historical accuracy of Catherine de’ Medici’s role in popularizing the kiss on the lips is still debated, her impact on the French court’s culture and customs is undeniable. Her marriage to Henry II in 1533 marked the beginning of a powerful reign, during which she wielded immense political influence and helped shape the course of French history.

The term “French kiss” itself emerged in the English-speaking world in the early 20th century, a nod to the passionate style of kissing that Catherine de’ Medici is said to have introduced. Regardless of its exact origins, the French kiss has become an enduring symbol of romance and intimacy, cherished by lovers around the world.

As we look back on the legacy of Catherine de’ Medici, we are reminded not only of her role in shaping the French kiss but also of her indomitable spirit and the enchantment she brought to the heart of the French court. Her story serves as a testament to the enduring power of love and the profound influence of a remarkable woman on history and culture.

Blazer and skirt by MUNTHE

Blazer and skirt by MUNTHE Bag by Aleui

Dress by Shani Shemer Shoes by Anny Nord

Blazer and skirt by MUNTHE

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