the following is an excerpt from THE MARTYRDOM OF AN EMPRESS, and refers to a state ball given at the Hofburg on the occasion of the visit of the new tsar & tsarina (Nicky & Alix) to Vienna:
"all eyes were immediately turned upon the lovely austrian sovereign....her toilette was a vision of severe elegance, chic, and perfection of taste.
the endless fan-shaped train and bodice were of softest, most shimmering black-velvet, veiled with black-silk gauze, embroidered with pearl-hearted black violets. on her proud head sparkled a diadem of black pearls & black diamonds, whence fell to the very hem of the court mantle a transparent veil of black gauze powdered with jet. around the shapely marmorean neck hung row after row of softly gleaming black pearls interspersed with brilliants, and she carried in her hand a sheath of russian and neopolitan violets, tied with jet-embroidered black streamers, to which was fastened an enormous black marabout fan adorned with a crown of diamonds. on her left shoulder was attached the stern-kreuz decoration, also in diamonds."
paints a wonderfully vivid picture, doesn't it?
btw, THE MARTYRDOM OF AN EMPRESS is a very odd book, to say the least. no author is listed.....anywhere. at all.
however, there is an introduction --- and one may infer from that (well, sort of), that a lady by the name of Elizabeth Clare Prophet (born: elizabeth clare wulf) was the author. but nowhere on any of the pages does she say so. what she does say, however, is that she's the reincarnation of the empress Elisabeth of Austria!
regardless, if you can get past that[/i], it's not a bad book. written in (or about) 1981, it contains more descriptive passages than most of the biographies out there.