Author Topic: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal  (Read 96147 times)

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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #15 on: September 19, 2012, 04:37:02 AM »
A Brisac evening gown worn by Alexandra (it's worth noting, in view of her known prejudices, that the neck is quite high for an evening gown):


Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #16 on: September 19, 2012, 07:35:16 AM »
While several gowns by the Brissac/Brisac/Brizak workshop have survived, only one other is associated with Alexandra, a day dress in a lilac colour (often called a visiting dress; but I would have thought a visiting dress would have had more elements of being worn outside, and this seems more in line with an indoor dress).  I saw this dress in the 'Nicholas and Alexandra' exhibition in Edinburgh in 2005.  The catalogue entry describes it as being made of wool, silk, lace and embroidery and notes that "This dress may have belonged to the Empress, but further research needs to be carried out to clarify its original ownership".   It is dated to the 'beginning of the 20th century" and I would tentatively place it at around 1903-1905:



Some details of the bodice and sleeve:

 

Offline Sanochka

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #17 on: September 23, 2012, 10:27:45 AM »
The fantastic hem of this dress causes the formal 1913 portrait of the IF to come immediately to mind.  In it, Alexandra's hem cascades like a waterfall, as this seems to do.  Since wool is used, I suspect it must be a spring or autumn dress.

I've been researching Brisac's St. Petersburg shop and am having a difficult time finding info that is not generally known.  Of course, I've been focusing on photos so may have missed some interesting written gems.  The photos you posted of the shop, CountessKate, are fascinating.  Where did you find them?  I agree, they must be "back of the shop."  The mood is all wrong for exalted customers coming in to look at gowns and dresses, among the most expensive in the land.  The front of the shop must have had sofas and chairs for customers to sit in while articles of clothing were brought out one by one to be examined.  This looks like a staging area.  There must be photos of the front of the shop to find and post here.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #18 on: September 24, 2012, 09:00:21 AM »
I've been researching Brisac's St. Petersburg shop and am having a difficult time finding info that is not generally known.  Of course, I've been focusing on photos so may have missed some interesting written gems.  The photos you posted of the shop, CountessKate, are fascinating.  Where did you find them?  I agree, they must be "back of the shop."  The mood is all wrong for exalted customers coming in to look at gowns and dresses, among the most expensive in the land.  The front of the shop must have had sofas and chairs for customers to sit in while articles of clothing were brought out one by one to be examined.  This looks like a staging area.  There must be photos of the front of the shop to find and post here.

In 2011 there was an exhibition of costume the Palazzo Mocenigo in Venice called “L’eleganza in esilio – Tra moda e costume, il tempo di Diaghilev” (Elegance in exile) and a copy of the catalogue online showed the two photos (http://test.pageflip-flap.com/read?r=0VuvNrKz8M7LceoQ).  They were shown with one photo mirroring the other, so it looked like one room, but on closer view you can see what was done.  I split the photos and reversed no. 2 (though this could be the correct view - but I had to choose so took the first as the right one).  Like you, I have found very little on the internet about the Brisac operation, and the catalogue doesn't seem to have any more insights (though my Italian is not terribly good, about the only thing I learnt was that the Brisac 'dynasty', of French origin, established itself in St Petersburg around 1855). 

Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #19 on: September 24, 2012, 10:06:12 AM »
I did some research  myself but, the only thing I found in print is an article in a French Jewish genealogical magazine called GenAmi.  So I would gather that means they were French and Jewish. Not that being Jewish has anything to do with anything other than  their heritage. They may have been secular.  The issue is #59, March 2012. I take it  you can download the magazine for 7 Euros. It is in French though. As this is so recent, I would guess  it follows them after the revolution.
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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #20 on: September 24, 2012, 07:10:19 PM »
I am sure that most of you who have done such wonderful research know that most dresses were not of one piece and the bodice and skirt were interchangeable with other bodices and skirts.

I think that shows in the picture of Nicholas and Alexandra sitting and the beautiful color picture of the dress on the right with a different bodice.

I saw a wonderful exhibition of Worth gowns in one of the mansions in Newport Rhode Island about two years ago. One of the gowns was turned inside out as one Worth patroness has said that the gowns were so beautifully finished on the inside that one could almost wear them inside out.

The gowns I saw were not Imperial and actually all of them did have provenance. I did note that most were quite small and the owners must have been quite short. I towered over the displays. (I am 5'6") I asked the docent, but he did not have an answer except that the people who set up the display chose the gowns.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #21 on: September 25, 2012, 09:14:01 AM »
I am sure that most of you who have done such wonderful research know that most dresses were not of one piece and the bodice and skirt were interchangeable with other bodices and skirts.

I think that shows in the picture of Nicholas and Alexandra sitting and the beautiful color picture of the dress on the right with a different bodice.

I saw a wonderful exhibition of Worth gowns in one of the mansions in Newport Rhode Island about two years ago. One of the gowns was turned inside out as one Worth patroness has said that the gowns were so beautifully finished on the inside that one could almost wear them inside out.

The gowns I saw were not Imperial and actually all of them did have provenance. I did note that most were quite small and the owners must have been quite short. I towered over the displays. (I am 5'6") I asked the docent, but he did not have an answer except that the people who set up the display chose the gowns.

I was indeed aware of the two-bodice dress arrangements - there are several examples amongst the Empress Maria Feodorovna's dresses.  However, I have never seen the bodice which was photographed on Alexandra, so wonder if it has been lost. 

Anyway, I shouldn't have been so hasty to say Brisac was only represented in Alexandra's wardrobe by a couple of surviving dresses - the following two are definitely from the Brisac workshop:

 

while this is attributed to it:


Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #22 on: September 26, 2012, 11:20:47 AM »
Beautiful as the Brisac gowns are, some of Nadezhda Lamanova's gowns for Alexandra are just as glorious.  The following two dresses, a ball gown and a day dress are from the 1890s:

 

The following is a detail from the bodice, sleeve and skirt of the day dress - the workmanship is very beautiful:




Offline Robert_Hall

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #23 on: September 26, 2012, 11:40:55 AM »
I have seen these sort of gowns in showrooms- in China.  They are beautiful and not cheap. But as nice as they are, they did not match the workmanship of  these. I also have a  nice collection of embroidered kimonos fron Japan.   Again, beautiful bit not quite the standard shown on this thread,
 Are Japan and China the only  ones to do this now, I wonder ? Haute couture now is  fine quality but lacks the detail these have.
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Alixz

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #24 on: September 26, 2012, 02:29:50 PM »
I love the "leg o mutton" style sleeves.

The clothing from the 1890s and early 1900s has always been my favorite.

I was wondering if the "flowing" gowns that Alexandra was said to wear were worn during the last months of pregnancy. Women didn't flout their stomachs back then as they tend to do today. I sometimes wish we could go back to at least the 1970s-80s when women still covered themselves decently.

A pregnant woman is beautiful but I don't want to look at her bare stomach.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #25 on: September 26, 2012, 02:47:27 PM »
Quote
I was wondering if the "flowing" gowns that Alexandra was said to wear were worn during the last months of pregnancy. Women didn't flout their stomachs back then as they tend to do today. I sometimes wish we could go back to at least the 1970s-80s when women still covered themselves decently.


It's possible that at least some of the 'flowing dresses' of the Pavlovsk exhibition were for pregnancy, though some look a bit too narrow for true comfort in that situation, and very similar to the 'empire' style of 1910-1914.  It seems probable that this selection of her clothes represents a variety of dressing gowns, peignoirs, tea dresses and empire line day or evening dresses.

Offline Tony de Gandarillas

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #26 on: September 28, 2012, 01:39:31 PM »
Quote
I have read references to Mme. Brissac and her establishment.  I also know that there was a substantial group of French people living in St. Petersburg.  I was wondering if anyone knew more about Mme. Brissac.  Does she belong to the French Ducal family de Brissac?

Here are a couple of photos of the Brisac workshop, in the immediate pre-war period of about 1912-1914, judging by the style of the costumes:


Thank you CountessKate for the information.  The gowns are just beautiful and she seems to have been quiet a business woman.  

Tony de Gandarillas
« Last Edit: September 28, 2012, 02:33:13 PM by Alixz »

Alixz

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #27 on: September 28, 2012, 02:34:48 PM »
Hi Tony, I had to remove your "quote" of the large pictures. The Forum doesn't allow "quoting" of pictures because they take up a lot of band width and make up loading very slow for those who may not have cable modems.

Thanks,
Alixz

Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #28 on: September 28, 2012, 07:47:56 PM »
More from "The Solokov Investigation" according to one her maids Alexandra always wore a corset and believed it was indecent for a woman to go around not wearing one. So I am now pretty sure she was wearing one when she was murdered as were her daughters and the maid.

Offline Sanochka

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #29 on: September 29, 2012, 02:39:52 AM »
Six sets of corset stays were found at the Ganin pit, which accounts for Alexandra, her four daughters, and the maid Demidova - exactly six women.  Since the clothing that each was wearing on the night of the murder was burned, each of the six must have been wearing a corset.  I, too, have read that Alexandra considered going without a corset "indecent," and so wonder at a post elsewhere in these threads in which the author stated that Alexandra did not wear corsets.  The shape of many, if not all, of the dresses featured here on this thread suggest a corset - especially those dresses of the 1890s and early 1900s.