Author Topic: Alix's Engagement and Wedding  (Read 121344 times)

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rskkiya

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #30 on: June 18, 2004, 04:47:44 PM »
Well I suppose that I have a rather "bohemian" fashion sense -- I find that its started to get a lot more 19th century recently... Anyway would you say Alix was an arbiter of turn of the century style- or was her style more timeless?
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

NAAOTMA

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #31 on: June 18, 2004, 05:14:11 PM »
There is also a pracitical side to all that changing of clothes-in a time when drycleaning and laundry were no snap, if you bathed each day (an upperclass luxury) or twice a day and changed clothes like crazy, you did not have all that cleaning and laundering...just a thought.

NAAOTMA

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #32 on: June 18, 2004, 05:15:16 PM »
Oh-meant to say "practical" in above post...

Offline Janet_W.

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #33 on: June 18, 2004, 06:38:04 PM »
Actually, Helen, it has been mostly overcast for the last week or so--definitely "June gloom"!

A friend of mine told me she once wore a mini skirt in Greece--this was some years ago ::) --and was almost the recipient of an old-fashioned stoning!

Southern Californians, I guess, are notorious for being rather free-and-easy with their dress code . . . or lack thereof!  Even so many of us still dress within the "proprieties"--tho' when I'm serving as a docent and wearing my hat, long-sleeved blouse, and long skirt that practically sweeps the ground as I walk, I do look forward to changing back into jeans! Makes one appreciate, all the more, what our local pioneer women of the 1870s and 1880s had to deal with on a daily basis . . .

Offline nerdycool

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #34 on: June 18, 2004, 06:54:01 PM »
Quote
Has anyone here found that their own fashion tastes have changed due to this site? Maybe I am just a harmless crank...but I have found myself looking for longer skirts & plain crisp blouses ala OTMA whenever I go shopping... I know that this fashion is not very  "pret a porte"  but I can't seem to help it!


While I don't wear that kind of thing *now*, I have been thinking about making a tea dress just for the hey of it. And also of making a simple, long, black or navy skirt to go with a nice white blouse. That will be before I make my version of a court dress :) I would make myself a sailor outfit, but I fear I'm too old for that. Maybe when I have kids.....hmm.....

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #35 on: June 19, 2004, 05:19:46 AM »
Well, according to THE HISTORY OF THE ZIPPER, probably never. The gadget wasn't invented until 1913, patented until 1917 & did not come into popular use until the 30's- for childrens clothes. Original use was for rubber boots.
There is more to this story, just ASK JEEVES....
Cheers,
Robert
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Lisa

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #36 on: June 20, 2004, 04:10:53 AM »
Does anyone know if there was special clothing for the "new-mother"(as we say in French "les accouchées"the women who just had a baby):dress,hat...
And for the religious events in the women's life ( confirmation,conversion...)?
Was there,in general,clothing reserved for special events? ???

Thanks for replies,it's very important for me!!! ;)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Lisa »

Offline Sarai

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #37 on: June 20, 2004, 03:05:51 PM »
Quote
Has anyone here found that their own fashion tastes have changed due to this site?


My own clothing style has not changed, but when I think of children's clothing, I find myself preferring more elegant clothing and flowing dresses rather than just t-shirts and shorts or jeans. I don't have any children yet, but I imagine I would like a future daughter to wear frilly and feminine dresses and dress her up like a regular little doll when she is very small! I love that OTMA were always so very well dressed and elegant, and I like the idea of keeping children actually dressed like children instead of like miniature adults, especially with girls nowadays. Of course, I also realize that some middle ground must be reached between reality and fantasy, as one must remember that OTMA were royalty and thus one can't dress their child to that level every day unless one is wealthy - which I am not. And also, children like to wear what other children are wearing plus they like to romp and play, and elegant clothes are not conducive to that. I remember reading that OTMA were often much too elegantly dressed to play, and I wouldn't want clothing to inhibit that for my children. I also wouldn't necessarily want to dress my son in a sailor suit unless he was very young, as that is not too typical these days. Overall, I think that Alix dressed her children in the best of what was typical of the day, and when considering children's clothes today the best one can do is also dress them in what is typical but suited to one's taste.

Offline masha

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #38 on: June 20, 2004, 04:49:40 PM »
Getting back to the original theme of this posting, here’s a description you may find interesting & that sheds light on what it must have been like to be a granddaughter of Queen Victoria. It is taken from “For My Grandchildren – Reminiscences of Her Royal Highness Princess Alice Countess of Athlone”. (Prince Leopold’s daughter, who was also Empress Alexandra’s first cousin):

“Each lady had a lady’s maid and every gentleman had a valet. There were many servants and one of the duties of the housemaids was to preheat the beds with warming pans. These contraptions, made of polished copper and looking like a frying pan with a cover on it and a very long handle, were filled with red-hot coals and swished about between the sheets by a housemaid just before the hour at which the family retired…sometimes maids, too lazy to prepare the warming pan, heated the beds with their own bodies, getting out just before the occupants arrived upstairs….In the mornings one was awakened by servants bearing highly polished copper cans full of hot water. A “hip bath” shaped like a high-backed chair without legs, was placed in the middle of the room and filled with hot water, the windows were closed and the fire relit. Who shall say that electric blankets and central heating are more luxurious than such amenities? …As the cropping and bobbing of hair was not generally practised, the brushing of long tresses and the use of the curling tongs could be quite a business for oneself or one’s maid. On the other hand, we were spared the modern practice of paying frequent visits to professional hairdressers. Artificial curls were sometimes added to the natural coiffure. Facial make-ups were taboo, though on special occasions a little rice powder on the nose or a touch of geranium petal on the cheeks might be allowed. The painting of finger and or toe-nails was never practised, though we had to keep our nails highly polished. The painted lips and nails and rouged cheeks of today were confined to courtesans and the stage. Long hair was often plaited and wound around the head; buns were common.
Skirts and petticoats were voluminous and even day-skirts trailed along the ground. These and the crinolines and corsets made the assistance of a maid, even for young girls, essential. Mariners who were accustomed to bending or reefing sail in a square-rigged ship during a strong gale would have made convenient husbands… The liberty & independence of the modern young woman contrasts sharply with the discipline imposed upon the girls with whom I grew up. We were never allowed to go anywhere without a lady-in-waiting or chaperon. I was severely reprimanded when I was caught driving in a carriage through the streets of Potsdam with a cousin, but unaccompanied by my lady-in-waiting. Yet, because of these restrictions our amusements were all the more exciting. As we were very dependent on one another for our mutual entertainment, I think we attached more importance to our friendships and were more considerate of others than present –day-families…Notwithstanding our trailing skirts, our side-saddle riding habits, our absurd bathing costumes and our chaperons we enjoyed games and our lives were not devoid of romance. We had our own decorous methods of conducting a flirtation or attracting masculine attention. More eloquent messages can be conveyed by downcast eyes, embarrassed blushes, a graceful curtsey, a slim waistline, a turn of soft shoulders or the discreet glimpse of a beautiful bosom than by extravagant make-up, bold-glances or the unabashed display of nylon knees. Thora recalled how on one occasion, just before they went in to dinner, Grandmamma (Queen Victoria), having concluded that her granddaughter’s dress was too low, pointed with her fan and said, “A little rose in front, dear child, because of the footmen.”

Offline Martyn

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #39 on: June 22, 2004, 07:19:29 AM »
Masha, that passage really gives us the flavour of the age in which Princess Alice lived.  It conjures up a life that is privileged and royal and yet somewhat bourgeois and prim.
I think that the issue of royal clothing is quite complicated and much commented upon; Alix was criticised for supposedly having little taste when it came to her clothing.  Marie Feodorovna, on the other hand was always much admired for her elegance and sense of fashion and was always shown to best advantage in Russian court dress and bedecked with imperial jewels.  MF patronised the House of Worth, whereas most of Alix's surviving clothing is primarily of Russian manufacture - this may have contributed to the perception that Alix was somehow less elegant than her mother-in-law.  Maria Pavlovna the elder was always greatly admired for her stylishness, even though her figure was more voluptuous than the current fashion permitted; it was generally acknowledged that it was Miechen's deportment and the way that she wore her clothes and jewels  that consolidated her air of elegance.  In competition with these two imperial fashion icons, it is small wonder that Alix, whose taste in clothes was more reflective of her personality and less fashion led, should be compared and found somehow lacking in style.
I have to say that those items that are still extant from Alix's wardrobe are mostly lovely; it may be that from our later perspective we are less aware of the subtle differences in taste that may have decided who was truly elegant and who was not.
I think that it is true to say that people expected their empresses and queens, grand duchesses and princesses to look the part and were happy to judge them if they failed to measure up.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

rskkiya

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #40 on: June 22, 2004, 10:31:02 AM »
Martyn,
Good point. What we in the 21st century see as impossibly elegant, the discriminating tastes of the late 19th-early 20th century European courtier may have noted as parvenue and declasse. More than time separates us... it is the cultural nuances that we cannot always understand.

( just on another topic- I heard in passing on a Biography program that the first quality foundation make up was produced for "Alexandra" -- could this have been for Queen Alexandra of England- Edwards wife, or for Alix of Russia? I know that Victoria frowned on the wearing of cosmetics...perhaps such makeup already existed or maybe I am just too confused!) ::)

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #41 on: June 22, 2004, 11:05:12 AM »
The make-up certainly did exist, I think it was just a reaction to the former excesses of the French & Regency [George IV] courts that stopped it being fashionable. It was also lethal, as mercury was used.
However, I have read that it was okay for women to use some type of make-up to cover skin blemishes, and I think this may have been something made out of rice paste, imported from Japan. Must have made them look terribly "pasty" or pale, especially in photographs.  Some people looked downright cadaverous in photos if not "touched up".
Also various oils were used as moisturizer & light powder for evening formal occasions. I suppose talc mixed with something to cause a "glistening effect"  with all the jewels & candle lighting.
Nails were shiny but not "painted.
Cheers.
Robert
Life may not be the party we expected, but while we are here, might as well dance..

Do you want the truth, or my side of the story ?- Hank Ketchum.

Offline Sarai

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #42 on: June 22, 2004, 11:25:18 AM »
This is an interesting question, if the Empress and her daughters used makeup. I have never really thought of them as wearing any makeup, as in their pictures they always look very natural. I don't know what was or wasn't available in the way of makeup during that period, but I can imagine them using, if anything, very subtle makeup like blush and powder. I don't believe they used lipstick, but maybe some kind of lip gloss (either clear or lightly coloured)? As Robert said, nail polish wasn't used.

rskkiya

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #43 on: June 22, 2004, 01:51:33 PM »
Sarai and Robert,

Thanks!
Now I promise to stay on topic after one more quick question... ???     I have read that Queen Victoria believed in and encouraged her family to use Bach Flower remedies and a certain amount of homeotherapy for most of their health problems.....was Alix at all familiar with this "alternative medical system" (I  know it couldn't have helped Alexie's bleeding, but it might have helped with other situations ...headaches, tummy aches, emotional stress of being a teenager, etc...
Ps: I really am no expert about any of this, so please forgive me for talking though my hat.

Forgive me...and now back to the topic... ::)
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by rskkiya »

Offline Joanna

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Re: Alix's Engagement and Wedding
« Reply #44 on: June 23, 2004, 09:14:35 PM »
In the photographs of the exhibition of Queen Victoria's clothes, I was stunned at the dark and dull colors although aware that age would cause fading. Black and white photos prior to 1861 always had a magnificence that I had thought would transfer to reality. And then I had read a few years ago of the man who invented the color mauve. From a review of the book:

In 1856, while trying to synthesize artificial quinine, 18-year-old chemistry student William Perkin instead produced a murky residue. Fifty years later, he described the event: he "was about to throw a certain residue away when I thought it might be interesting. The solution of it resulted in a strangely beautiful color." Perkin had stumbled across the world's first aniline dye, a color that became known as mauve... As Simon Garfield admirably points out in Mauve, the color really did change the world. Before Perkin's discovery all the dyes and paints were colored by roots, leaves, insects, or, in the case of purple, mollusks. As a result, colors were inconsistent and unpredictably strong, often fading or washing out. Perkin found a dye that would always produce a uniform shade--and he pointed the way to other synthetic colors, thus revolutionizing the world of both dyemaking and fashion. Mauve became all the rage. Queen Victoria wore it to her daughter's wedding in 1858, and the highly influential Empress Eugénie decided the color matched her eyes. Soon, the streets of London erupted in what one wag called the "mauve measles."

Joanna