Author Topic: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917  (Read 36272 times)

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bluetoria

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #30 on: May 12, 2005, 01:33:07 PM »
Griffh, your posts as ever are truly inspiring because they are so gently and beautifully expressed. Thank you for all this lovely information.

Quote

When I was living on my own in NYC as a teenager I was afraid of everyone and I would not want to go outside or visit my friends.  Then I would read how brave Princess Cantacuzene when she when she has to confront some of the terrifying conditions in St. Petersburg and Kiev during the early days of the October Revolution...I would faithful read how these women survived, often unaided by anyone.  I would read what they felt and how they got through their fears and this would give me renewed strength to face what was to me an equally hostile world.  
  


I share your admiration for many of the people about whom posts are written on this forum. It seems that there is a great deal to learn from them in an age when many worthy values have been discarded & their courage is truly inspirational.

I agree with all Alexandra has written about confronting brutality & ugliness with gentility, which in the end, I believe overcomes all hostility. 'Gentleness is only a mask for real strength; true strength shows itself in gentleness."
Thanks griffh!  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by bluetoria »

Offline felix

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #31 on: May 12, 2005, 03:14:54 PM »
I have to admit I havnt read much of this,I know nothing about  women's clothes,but I just was reading some thing about Alexandra at the ballet,wearing black and covered with diamonds and emeralds. With her reddish hair, she must have been some site! Also a friend was visiting from N.Y.C. in fashion work, and looked at Romanov photo books. He was very impressed with there clothes.

aleksandra

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2005, 07:37:04 PM »
what kinds of dress did alix own?
Lace,satin, velvet & cotton?

Offline Sarai

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2005, 07:59:35 PM »
This is what Lili Dehn had to say about Alexandra's shoes and clothes:
"The Empress favoured long, pointed footgear with very low heels: she usually wore suede, bronze or white shoes, never satin. "I can't bear satin shoes, they worry me," she would say. Her gowns, except those worn by her on State occasions, were very simple; she liked blouses and skirts, and she was greatly addicted to tea-gowns: her taste in dress was as refined as that of Queen Mary of England; like her she disapproved strongly of exaggerated fashions[...]"

Mgmstl

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #34 on: May 19, 2005, 09:14:11 AM »
Quote
This is what Lili Dehn had to say about Alexandra's shoes and clothes:
"The Empress favoured long, pointed footgear with very low heels: she usually wore suede, bronze or white shoes, never satin. "I can't bear satin shoes, they worry me," she would say. Her gowns, except those worn by her on State occasions, were very simple; she liked blouses and skirts, and she was greatly addicted to tea-gowns: her taste in dress was as refined as that of Queen Mary of England; like her she disapproved strongly of exaggerated fashions[...]"


What was it Miechen said about AF's style, she would adorn a court dress with MANY pieces of jewelry, looking like  "un gout de parvenu."   I always thought of AF's style as more fussy, less simple.

Offline griffh

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #35 on: May 19, 2005, 10:19:23 AM »
The dispute over Alexandra's taste was really centered more on comparison's with the Empress Dowager.  Minny was still a young woman when Alexandra with all her beauty and freshness came on the scene and until then Minny had held, more or less, the scepter of fashion.  That was in part thanks to her sister the Crown Princess of England, Alexandra who had the most exquisite taste, was forever youthful, and had been considered in her time, the most beautiful Princess in Europe next to the Empress Elizabeth of Austria.  There is the most charming story of the Crown Princess on the way to the opera.  Her carriage it struck by a run-a-way cab and tipped over from the impact.  People started to immediately surround the accident site and there was great concern as they saw that the overturned coach belong to the Crown Princess.  Then the door opened and the Crown Princess Alexandra appeared without a hair out of place and tiaria intact and she delfly emerged from the coach unharmed.  She was wearing the most beautiful gray-lavender sequined opera gown and looked so stunning that the crowd of spectators burst into spontaneous applause.      

Minny was not considered as beautiful as her sister Alexandra but she clearly wanted to be and either she or Alexandra came up with the idea of dressing alike as early as the 1870's.  They would create a sensation when one would appear from Russia and the other from England in the same gown, usually a Worth creation.  By dressing like her beautiful sister Minny was able to appear to great advantage.  

The rub was that both women loved tailor mades and like the English, they did not dress up too much for public events, while the young Empress Alix loved the frilly ruffled delights of the Edwardian era as much as she loved the severe Gibbsonesque skirt and blouse  and straw boater combinations, very young and very smart for the 1890's.  

The simple truth is that Alix threw all of the "great beauties of the Russian Court" into the shadows including the once stunning GD Vladimir.  The Vladimir's never had a kind thing to say about Alix and clearly felt superior to everyone else in the Romanoff Family.

Alix's gowns of the teens did follow the neo-classic revival and were much simpler in construction as were all the gowns of the period.  By constrast the gowns of the 1890's were much stiffer, often velvet skirts were lacquered on the inside to keep their shape.  Your can get a feel for this in the GD Marie the younger's description of going through her mother's gowns.  Marie's mother, Alexandra of Greece had passed from complications during the birth of the GD Dimitri.  Marie's description of her mother's waredrobe from the 1890's really gives a feeling for the period.  

The nortorious straight-laced hour-glass corsets were also from this period and the craze to have a 16"-18" waist was from this period.  The Empress Elizabeth of Austria managed through exercise and diet to maintain her "16 waist up until her assassination in 1898.  There is a memorial statue of her taken from her measurements at the time of tragic demise and you can see her small waist.

Alexandra was virtually dressed by her older sister for the first years of her reign, or at least was influenced by her and as is well documented, Ella had the most refined sense of taste.  Alexandra was so severely critisized for everything she did that one attempt to appease her critics was to finally decide to have most of her gowns made by Russian courture houses.  As a result the smarter element in Russiam Society who were dressed by the great courture house of Paris complained of the lack of taste and quality of her clothes.  But reguardless, there was something about Alexandra's taste, as she matured, that was undeniably regal.  Her wired lace Empress collar and the sweeping lines of her neo-classic reception gown for the visit of the French President to Russia, with in weeks of WW1, had a marvellous sense of distinction and still that linguing sense of delicacy that was so much apart of Alexandra's character.  The GD Vladimir's gown at the same reception was very regal but the GD had become so stout that it looked more like a mantel than a gown.  

After the 1905 Revolution Alix did become stout for a time but started to loose the excess wieght during the war.  This might have been the result of her starting to smoke.  Even though she prematurely aged during these years because of  the constant angziety over her son and her sense of guilt, still once she started to loose the excess weight, her slender form reemerged and you can see the most lovely example of this on the balcony picture in Tobolsk.  

   

Offline Alexandra

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2005, 07:18:27 PM »
I suspect that Alexandra's weight fluctuations may have had to do with her emotional and hormonal status (some  of which material is addressed quite thoroughly on the threads about her health and the possibility of her suffering from panic disorder, so I shan't go into it here). I think, however, that her vegetarianism was very probably more conducive to slimming than smoking. Vegetarianism was very popular in Russia prior to the Revolution - it was one of the things banned as 'bourgeois' in the communist period, and of course it has religious overtones because of the various  fasts prescribed by the Church.
People today often (mistakenly) believe that the orality satisfied by smoking is the cause of their keeping their weight under control - a surprising number of ballet dancers smoke. Actually, I have seen more people successfully lose weight, and keep it off, through a vegetarian regime than I have through smoking. So I should think that the Tsaritsa experienced similar results.

Offline griffh

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #37 on: May 20, 2005, 05:09:42 PM »
Hey thank you Bluetoria, Alexandra and everyone for your kind remarks.  And Janet R. as soon as I get my library unpacked I will, with the permission of Bob post the photos.  

Alexandra, I think you hit the nail on the head with the vegetarianism having more to do with with Alix's taking off the extra weight than the smoking.  I had forgotten that she was a vegetarian.  Do you know when that occurred?  My impression is that she was not a vegitarian until later in her life.  I know that Ella became a vegitarian as part of the shock caused by collecting, in the snow, the bits and peices of her husband's shattered remains.  The blast the blew Serge to smitherines must have been enormous as I read once that some one found one of his thumbs three blocks away on a second story window seal.  They knew it was his as it had a ring on it.  It seems so much like Serge to have worn a ring on his thumb.  (As I write this unverified story I have the strangest sensation that someone is going to tell me in no uncertain manner that Serge never wore rings on his thumb and that such a thing was totally unlike him)  I wait but to be corrected.  

But still I think the idea that Serge wore thumb rings works on some level.  It is artistic and even with all of his retrograde political conservatism and questionable racist/pusedo religious theories, he was remarkably modern and very artistic in his taste as you can see from the very modern Art Nouveau chair he sits in one of the pictures and the equally elegant shirt with its' ultra smart design and the smart suit he is wearing.  The photo is in one of the threads.  Serge is the stangest combination of contraditions of any member of the imperial family to me.

Anyway I was thinking a great deal about the GDuchess Vladimir and came accross this description of her during a fancy dress ball which I think conveys a very accurate impression of Marie Pavlova Sr.'s haute couture and regal, imperious stature and how unlike Alix's natural dignity and lovliness the Grand Duchess was.  

Marie Pavlovna Sr. is standing in the famous Moorish room of her St. Petersburg Palace surrounded by photographs of almost every royal personage of the time.  That same marvelous American Diplomat's wife who observed Alix at her coronation, has caught this glimpse of the Grand Duchess Marie Pavlovna Sr. during one of her fancy dress balls.  The Grand Duchess is:

"...standing in the center of this room, the thick fur of a white bearskin at her feet, with the ferocious mouth open and the terrible teeth hanging out, her luxuriant, regal figure clothed in the gorgeous blue robes of the native Russian costume, the gown and head-dress, kakoschnick, ablaze with jewels, and the long velvet train carpeting the floor behind her.  She stood the personification of Russian femininity, enchanting in its touch of barbaric wildness and its tinge of Oriental voluptuousness--the strong calculating face, yet careless, showing a nature swept by the hot fires of the South, yet as cold as the North--one of the most remarkable women of her day, portraying a combination of contadictions best described--as most Russian."

The Grand Duchess is clearly someone who spent her life playing "Empress in Exile" and probably had no more or no less animosity towards the young Empress (after she realized that she could not play the role of a surrogate mother which is what I believe she attempted to do in the opening years of Alix reign as Empress) than she had toward anyone who held that title, including the Empress Dowager when she reigned as Empress.      

It is hard to realize that this is just one of the Grand Duchess's with power.  I can only imagine the sparks that must have flown when the Grand Duchess Vladimir was in the same room with the Grand Duchess Nicholas and her sister.  Good Heavens, what must the undercurrents of contol have felt like when the Stanza, the Queen of the Occult met Marie Pavlova, the Priestest of Pride at Court functions?  We know that very little love was lost between the rival elements in the family.  I guess I am being rather judgemental here and not very Christian and I do love them all as they added such drama and suspense to the story, but I think that these family rivalries must must have had more to do with Alix's shyness than her own lack of confidence or insecurity.    

bluetoria

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #38 on: May 21, 2005, 06:09:42 AM »
Griff, your posts are always so absorbing & so full of interesting asides! Thank you!

I agree with you about Serge being such a mass of contradictions; he seems to be one of the least 'knowable' members of the family.

The friction you describe between the family members adds, I think, to their fascination. Again & again in learning of them it seems that this family/these families are such a microcosm of all humanity - a combination of so many characters some of whom gel, some of whom so rub against each other that sparks fly.
It does not seem at all unChristian (as you wrote) because you never write anything cruelly & it gives a better insight into how all people react with one another (imo).

Thank you griffh!  :)

Offline koloagirl

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #39 on: May 21, 2005, 03:21:39 PM »
Thank you Griffth!!!   :D

On a site that is full of incredibly gifted writers with information and minutiae that most of us can only wonder at --- you are certainly one of the most remarkable!

I continue to be fascinated by all of your postings - your writing style is so easy to read and flows so wonderfully.....no matter on what subject!  You bring the reader into the world you are writing about.

Please continue to honor us with your presence here!
I mean that sincerely!
Best Regards,

Janet R.


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Offline BobAtchison

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #40 on: May 25, 2005, 01:34:46 PM »
The receipts for Alexandra's dresses exist in the archives, along with her hats, accessories, etc.  You can also find the same for the Grand Duchesses, Aleksey, Nicholas, etc...

I have some copies of Maria's clothes and hat bills.  Alexandra paid for all of them out of her funds but the bills were made out by name.  Everything went most of the time to Madame Gheringer.  She received the deliveries and also got the bills which she signed off on.

On an average day Alexandra dressed for morning, afternoon and dinner. On formal days or when they were entertaining she changed more frequently.  She must have needed three 'seasons' of clothes (correct me if I am wrong here those who know fashion). One could speculate that she needed 2 weeks of dresses a season....  If there were 42 dresses per season that could be 126 a year.

That would seem reasonable to me.  They ordered special travelling clothes when they planned big trips abroad.  They had to have mourning clothes - just in case.

I know the Empress wore some of her daughter's clothes in 1917.
Just some thoughts on the subject...

Bob


Offline ChristineM

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #41 on: May 25, 2005, 02:03:37 PM »
Fascinating Bob, thanks.   Interesting observation about the 'mourning clothes'.   H.M. who has been touring Canada, will have a set of mourning clothes with her.  

When the Royal Family are at Balmoral, Sandringham or on visits which take them away from London for a period of time, the men always travel with a black tie and dark coloured suit and the ladies with mourning clothes.   In the event of a family death or a national disaster, they will, therefore, be appropriately dressed on their return to the capital.

Although George VI was diagnosed as terminally ill before Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip went on a State visit to Kenya, his death was not anticipated for some months.   Nonetheless, the young princess had mourning clothes with her.   Photographs of the new Queen's return to London in deepest black and profound grief to be greeted by HER new government, are most evocative.

When twenty three year old Alicky travelled from Darmstadt to Livadia as the prospective bride and Tsarevna, she obviously already had mourning clothes tailored for her.

tsaria
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by tsaria »

Offline griffh

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #42 on: May 27, 2005, 01:28:09 PM »
Thank you Bob.  It is so comforting to know that you have preserved all the important detailed information of the reign and it is so helpful that you have the specific details that will enable us in our research to have something specific to weigh each item that we read about.  

I wanted to include some specific information about Russian Court dress and put it in context with the England as it's court was recognized as setting the standard for refinement.  I always love to use Queen Victoria's life and reign as a helpful guide to the 19th century as she came to the throne at 18 in 1837 while Nicholas I, Nicky’s great-grandfather, was on the Romanoff throne and passed in the seventh year of Nicky's reign in 1901.  

When Victoria was 15, in 1834 just three years before her reign began in England, Nicholas I established in the Codex of Laws of the Russian Empire a new type of ceremonial costume for maids of honor and ladies of honor.  It is possible that he did this for two reasons.  The old order of sartorial splendor that had been established in the late Medieval era had drawn to a close with the French Revolution of 1798.  

It must be remembered that the old order had for the almost five hundred years had sent a fortune on their attire, far more than even the amounts demanded by Louis 14th's court.  The tapestries, linens, curtains and wardrobe of Nobles and Royals of the period far more costly than the palaces and castles they adorned.  Men as well as women often had untold fortunes in diamonds and precious jewels sewn on their clothes as their appearance demanded a display of power and wealth that had to be unequalled.  Gradually clothing, linens, and furnishings started to cost far less and the "Modern World" which historians say began between 1815-1830 witnessed a much less extravagant world where sartorial splendor such as Josephine's love of cashmere shawls which she indulged at about $1200 per shawl was nothing compared to the fortune that was spent in 1360 just on table linen.  

As I mentioned before, the impact of this sartorial shift in expense and style was still in progress when Victoria was born in 1819.  The English Court dress, like all other courts of the period, still clung to outmoded 18th century pannier hoop that had supported all of Marie Antoinette’s elaborate gowns.  However the pannier was now worn under the light weight handkerchief linen neo-classical gowns of the Empire era (1790-1823) whose waist-line was worn directly under the bosom.  

This court dress made women heads, arms and bosoms look like the finial on top of an ornamental lamp shade.  The pannier was finally banished in 1821 and English Court dress only regulated the head-dress which must include the traditional three white ostrich feathers and the length of court trains.  However all other sartorial demands were left to the current Paris mode in fashion.  Both Royalty and Nobility were under the constant pressure to remain current in terms of fashion, as were anyone who wished to be taken seriously as a person of refinement.  

I am sure that Nicholas I must have witnessed the same strange oddity of court fashion in Russia as was seen in England from 1800-1821 and possibly he wanted to avoid the pitfall of similar fashion disasters.  

So at the Opening of the Season in 1834, for the first time every aspect of the fashions worn at the Russian Court were carefully regulated by law.  However the new court gowns did reflect a chic French influence that was used to adapt a traditional Russian form of dress, the sarafan.  

Like the composer Wagner who not only composed the music, but also designed the theater, stage sets and costuming of his productions, Nicholas I wanted to control every element of the pageantry of his court and to his credit, it must be admitted that he chose a beautiful design and colors.  

The basic design for court gowns consisted of "an upper velvet dress without fastenings with a very open train, long sleeves folded back with exposed arm-holes.  It was worn over a lower dress consisting of a corsage with a wide skirt of white satin.  The color of the velvet and the design of the gold or silver embroidery adorning the dress was determined by the rank of it owner, as was the length of the train: the higher the rank of the lady at court, the longer the train of the dress.  According to the decree, ladies-in-waiting and maids of the bedchamber had an upper dress of green velvet with gold embroidery identical to the embroidery on the ceremonial uniform jackets of court officials, and a lower dress of white fabric, usually satin.  The empress's maids of honor had dresses of scarlet velvet with similar embroidery.  Ladies possessing no rank at court, but invited to a reception at the palace, had to present themselves at the court in dresses cut in the same fashion as the ladies at court, but their dresses were sewn from different fabrics and decorated differently.  This official ceremonial outfit was complemented by kokoshnicks (head-dresses) with veils of lace or tulle for ladies and headbands with veils for unmarried girls.  The empress's maids of honor ware a diamond monogram on a light blue ribbon to the left of the chest, while ladies-in-waiting wore a portrait of the empress in a diamond frame." (Nicholas and Alexandra, The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia, item 343, Ceremonial Court Costume of a Lady-in-Waiting.)    

Earlier in the thread when I quoted the following passage describing Alix:

"When she entered the room she was surrounded by her maids of honor who she dressed alike in ruby velvet with all wearing a miniature of her on their shoulder surrounded with diamonds and there soft tulle veils catching the light made them appear as a rosy cloud of beauty setting off the Alexandra's gown and jewels.  

As the entered the ball, Alexandra made such an impression of beauty and delicate nobility that a hushed exclamation swept the room, "The Empress!"...  

The American Diplomat's wife has mistaken the diamond monograms worn by the Maids of Honor for the diamond framed portraits of the Empress worn by her Ladies-in-Waiting.  But that does not hinder the beauty of the description to me.  

I don't have my Queen Marie of Romania's autobiographies handy, but if I did I would quote her description of the Russian Court receptions with its breath-taking sartorial splendor.  The exquisite beauty of the Russian Court gowns was such that they were often exhibited as works of art.  Two ceremonial court gowns, embroidered with gold needlework by the Nuns of the Khotkove (outside Moscow), Ivanovsky and Novodevichy convents in Moscow were exhibited at the Chicago World's Far in 1893.  

Russian goldthread embroidery had its unbroken origin as far back as Ancient Rus and connected the Church and the Tsarist Court with the continuation of its ancient heritage, only broken by the Bolsheviki Revolution.  

At exactly the same time that Nicholas I was designing the sartorial splendor of the Russian Court, the Prince Regent, later George VI, had created a scandal by the huge pile of debts that he had expected the English public to pay as he attempted to maintain the old rich style of dress on court occasions and which he demanded that his fifteen brother's and sisters maintain.  Like the earlier period, George VI had a fortune of jewels sewn on his court dress.  Finally in the late 1830's the English public had had enough and the Prince and his family were subjected to increasingly hostile and often crude and cutting satire.  

Strangely enough the Prince's largesse did not extend to Queen Victoria or her mother, the Duchess of Kent, and to make matters worse the Prince Regent had not seen fit to even award the Duchess of Kent an income as his brother's widow.  The Duchess and her daughter Victoria, it was hoped, would be forced to leave England for Germany where they could live off the welfare of relatives.  But plan failed when the Duchess' brother Leopold, husband of the short lived Crown Princess Charlotte, bank rolled his sister and niece Victoria.  

However when George VI died there were severe repercussions on Victoria's clothing allowance.  The scandal also imbued Victoria with a life-long horror of debt and a somewhat subdued approach to fashion which eventually became a studied conservatism in dress.  In 1837 when she came to the throne, she was allotted $6000 pounds per annum for her dress allowance and it remained unaltered to her passing in 1901.  She rarely overspent and when she did she made up the difference from her own privy purse.  

Her impact on Alexandra can be felt, even though the expenses may have varied dramatically.  I can't wait to get my pictures together and am trying to gather them gradually as I unpack my books.



aleksandra

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2005, 10:13:30 PM »
Anymore info on her wearing the dresses (sp)?
Colored photos, writing of or her auconet (sp)?
Like the style of the dress and hats, how much changed from 1894 to 1917?
What kind of fabric she liked and dresses she kept?
I know she would sell her dress if it was worn or not fitting her, she'd take off the pricey buttons and sell those separate? I think.
 

Offline griffh

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Re: Imperial Style and Alexandra's Clothing from 1880 to 1917
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2005, 11:39:47 AM »
Aleksandra I have never heard that the Empress sold her clothes.  That is very interesting.  I know that she sold her exquisite embroideries to raise money for her Charitable Institutes and Hospitals, but I have never heard that sold her clothes.  Where did you read that?  

I may be wrong but I believe that Alexandra must have followed the same procedure as other Royals.  In the book "Royal Fashion," (the history of Princess Charlotte and Queen Victoria's wardrobe) it explains the tradition followed by most Courts:

"Those who worked for the Queen in her various homes were, of course, in the best position to acquire…mementos of their mistress..."  

The book explains that many of Princess Charlotte’s gowns were in the collection were given by the Princess to her dresser, Mrs. Louisa Louis, others came from gowns given to Ladies of her Court who passed them down from generation to generation and finally gave them to the Victoria and Albert Museum.  It must be remembered that a any gown that Alexandra would part with would be highly prized by who ever received it.  Often gowns were given to charity but most gowns were so beautifully made and made with such lovely fabrics that they were highly prized treasures.  Earlier in the thread I told of the Crown Princess Stephanie giving a gown she wore to the opera just before her husband’s tragic death, to Lady Georgina Buchanan and how Lady Buchanan cherished the gown and kept it in her wardrobe for twenty years and was going to pass it on to her daughter Muriel when the Revolution broke out.  

As to cutting valuable buttons off her gowns, if such a thing did happen, it would be simply removing jewels that had been sewn on her gowns.  Jeweled buttons were as much a part of a jewelry collection as earrings or brooches, etc. and in the nineteenth century buttons and brooches and necklaces could be combined in various ways and wore on gowns, or as hair ornaments, or in hats or integrated into the design of a gown.  

All Royals when having a evening gown made in Paris would send their own jewels and laces which would be removed once the gown had been worn.  Lost jewels were a constant theme in this period and one of the most important roles of a ladies maid and footmen were the careful accounting, not only of the jewels worn by a lady but the ones sewn on her gown.  A personal footman would accompany his lady to a ball and remove her wraps and at that time make sure that none of her jewels had come unattached.  It was very trying for many titled women to attend Court functions and the functions at the Grand Dukes Courts as personal footmen were not allowed.  

Of the jewels lost at Court perhaps the most famous was a diamond pennant that had belonged to Catherine the Great that the young Grand Duke Michael had talked his mother, the Dowager Empress Marie, into letting him wear to a fancy dress ball on his turban.  

In the carefully regulated life at Court a personal life was all but impossible.  As the Grand Duchess Marie the younger said in essence was that she had been raised to represent the Dynasty.  The Revolution gave her a chance to live as an individual.  We take individual choice so much for granted but it did not exist as an option for Royals and those that tried to live as individuals and not be ruled by the dictates of the Dynasty paid the price of disapprobation such as what we witness with Nicky and Alix and their devotion to their family life.