The Rumored History of the Champagne Coupe
The champagne coupe was the first vessel for drinking champagne and was extremely popular in the earlier 20th century.
The cuope is a wider glass than the flute we typically drink champagne from today. I had always heard the rumor that the first champagne glass was cast from Marie Antoinette’s breast, but it turns out this was most likely just a rumor. In fact there are many royal boob rumors as to how the first champagne glass was created:
- Madame du Pompadour (1721-1764): This mistress of France’s Louis XV supposedly had the glasses crafted as a special gift for her imperial lover who it was said greatly admired her breasts and longed to be able to drink champagne from them.
- Madame du Barry (1743-1793): The same story told about du Pompadour is also told of du Barry, another mistress of France’s Louis XV.
- Empress Josephine (1763-1814): This wife of Napoleon had a great fondness for the bubbly (her champagne bills were said to have horrified her husband), so it’s not surprising this legend would attach to her.
- Diane de Poitiers (1499-1566): This mistress of Henry II was said to have commissioned a glassblower at their Chateau d’Anet to make them as a present to Henry, who was particularly enamored of her breasts and harbored a fantasy to drink wine from them. In another version of the tale, Henry was the one who came up with this idea, and the mold was solely of her left breast.
- Helen of Troy: Helen was said to possess “the face that launched a thousand ships,” a reference to her husband, Menelaus, coming after her and her lover, Paris, with a force of thousands. It is said Paris made wax molds of her breasts, then used those molds as forms for drinking glasses.
No matter whose breast inspired this shallow drinking vessel, the facts state that Champagne was invented in the 17th century when a Benedictine monk discovered a way to trap bubbles of carbon dioxide in wine. As for the glass, it was designed and made in England especially for champagne around 1663, a chronology that rules out all of the above possibilities, but doesn’t mean that none of these women had their breasts made into drinking vessels, it just means they didn’t invent the shape. Kate Moss recently had a champagne coupe inspired by and made from the dimensions of her left breast, but opted to not have actually cast, because the process is fairly difficult and the results are usually lopsided and awkward.
One woman set out to prove the rumors false and in her journey had her breast made into a glass, you can watch a video of the process here.