Author Topic: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal  (Read 86673 times)

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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #60 on: January 29, 2013, 05:21:46 AM »
I think these are various straps and bands to provide a tubular figure and secure the stockings, without dragging the corset down.  The earlier Edwardian corset which provided for an hour-glass figure could not really be dragged over the hips by the downward action of elastic suspenders, but since the newer style of corsets did not have that restriction, the suspenders had to be more strongly - well, suspended - while the figure the corset was aiming to provide needed to smooth excess fat above and below the hips rather than the waist rather snugly, so much strapping and reinforcing was needed.  The advertising blurb (what can be read of it) highlights the words 'reducing' and 'hygiene' in particular, emphasizing the two important concepts for purchasers that the product will give them the slim, column-like figure so necessary for the current fashions, and yet will provide no undue pressure on the body and give easy movement (rather contradictory actually).  It was all very complicated and in fact for slim young women the same effect could actually be achieved without a corset at all, and undue attention to the bust could be deflected with a simple bra (the first ones were actually made as early as 1905, I think, though they didn't take off until after WWI).

Offline feodorovna

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #61 on: January 30, 2013, 02:59:43 AM »
It's always a joy to see pictures of Alexandra's exquisite clothes, but whilst I was feasting my eyes on a glorious gold creation, shown earlier, I occured to me how difficult a colour to wear is that colour for ANY woman, let alone one who blushes deeply. I speak from personal experience as all my life I've been plagued by rosacea and until I found cosmetics which disguised it, certain colours were a complete no no, as too, were most shades of lipstick. I imagine that Alexandra would have frowned on the use of cosmetics, appearing, as she did, to be "strait laced" but I also imagine that having given birth, in quite rapid succession, five times, her figure benefitted from being corseted.

Offline Sanochka

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #62 on: January 30, 2013, 04:30:22 PM »
I agree that this isn't a terribly flattering photo of the Empress but it's far from the first thing that I would have noticed. Personally I think it a very flattering photo of OTM for some of the reasons I've posted above. The poor lighting and shadows make it difficult to see the Empress clearly so I guess it's possible that we might have the old 'camera adding 10-15 pounds' effect on our hands here.




I found this photo only two weeks ago, but it has become one of my favorites.  There is something about it that caused it become burned into my memory.  I found it on a Web site that was startling in the number of photos I've never seen before, such as this one.  Alas, I neglected to jot down the site's address and have spent many frustrating hours trying to track it down.

Offline Lady Macduff

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #63 on: February 09, 2013, 04:52:10 PM »


This was the photo I was talking about - probably 1911. Anyone know why Alexandra looks so, well, fat?
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #64 on: February 09, 2013, 07:53:03 PM »
Was Alexandra overweight?

"Overweight" is a very subjective term, especially when you're looking back 100+ years.

I personally don't think so, although I'll concede that she probably carried more weight than most Americans nowadays consider attractive.


Anyone know why Alexandra looks so, well, fat?

It's just the angle and shading making her face appear rounder than usual.
« Last Edit: February 09, 2013, 07:57:22 PM by Sarushka »
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #65 on: February 13, 2013, 04:17:08 AM »
Quote
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.

The issue of GenAmi the late Robert Hall referred to in #19, was not available to download until recently, but now I have been able to access it, the article is very interesting in that, among other things, it suggests that the Madame Brisac of the second generation (Valentine Heymans, daughter-in-law of the original proprietors, Auguste and Elise Brisac), had been born in England (Kensington, actually) and was therefore particularly acceptable to Alexandra because of the ease of communication in English.  It also mentions that Valentine Brisac kept up a correspondence with the Grand Duchess Olga Alexandrovna until her death in 1930.

Offline koloagirl

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #66 on: February 13, 2013, 03:42:13 PM »

Aloha all!

I've always found Alexandra's weight to be interesting....who knows why?  LOL 

The fact is that she was pregnant 5 times in what I think we would consider rapid succession...and even though I've never had a child...that has to wrek havoc on your body I would think.

You see many photos of her (most in fact I think) where she is obviously tall, with excellent posture and appears very slim I think...the only time that I can remember thinking she looked
"plump" was following the birth of Alexei, in which time she does appear at least in photos to be much fuller in the face.

I know that at one point in her life (I can't recall when she started)...she was a vegetarian I believe and you read about her pretty only much eating "macaroni" during their exile in particular.....

I love her clothing choices personally...the long, flowing dresses seem to me at least to be much more attractive than the "hobble skirts" that were in fashion during at least some of her reign.

Corsets sound like torture to me...but they obviously gave you wonderful posture!

Janet R.
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Offline Sarushka

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #67 on: February 13, 2013, 05:24:22 PM »
Corsets sound like torture to me...but they obviously gave you wonderful posture!

Corsets are really not nearly as awful as they've been made out to be. It's all in how you lace them. The steels are actually quite flexible -- much more so than a metal nail file, for example.
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Offline koloagirl

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #68 on: February 13, 2013, 08:12:03 PM »

Aloha all!

Yikes....I would hope so "Sarushka"  LOL!!

I've never had the pleasure of trying one on, so good to know they aren't as horrendous as they sometimes appear to be!

I know Alix wasn't considered particularly fashionable in either dress nor home decorating.....but I've always loved her sensibility....I guess I'm a clutterbug too!

Janet R.
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Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #69 on: February 14, 2013, 03:24:08 AM »
Quote
Corsets are really not nearly as awful as they've been made out to be. It's all in how you lace them. The steels are actually quite flexible -- much more so than a metal nail file, for example.

You apparently become used to them, and women of the 19th century would have started off wearing stiffened bodices as children, so there was not a sudden transition to a corset at the onset of adulthood but rather a gradual change.  Historical re-enactors or costumiers do 'corset training' where they wear corsets just to get used to the feel of them, since their costumes look so much more authentic with a corset of the period.  Made to your exact measurements, and the laces properly adjusted, they can actually be reasonably comfortable, apparently.  Certainly there are paintings (I can remember one by either Shannon or Lavery) of women bounding around lawn tennis courts very athletically in corsets and a bustle in the late 1880s.  The photos of the grand duchesses on the tennis courts were taken of girls and young women who all would have been wearing some form of corset or boned bodice.

Offline Sarushka

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #70 on: February 14, 2013, 08:54:53 AM »
  Made to your exact measurements, and the laces properly adjusted, they can actually be reasonably comfortable, apparently. 

I will vouch for this! The fit of a custom-made garment --particularly a corset -- is like nothing you can buy off the rack.

A friend of mine described the feel of a corset very well: it's like being comfortably held, rather than squeezed. That description is what finally convinced me to have one made for myself.
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Offline IvanVII

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #71 on: February 19, 2013, 10:49:47 PM »
My wife has worn corsets for formal occassions when it fitted the gown she was wearing. She was always comfortable and I found them quite appealing.

Offline CountessKate

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #72 on: March 29, 2014, 06:44:32 AM »
Two interesting day dresses of Alexandra's are buried in the Hermitage Museum website, each rather bizarrely described as "Business Dress of Empress Alexandra Feodorovna ,  1900".  The are very similar to one another, both in mauve, Alexandra's preferred colour, and are of Russian make:





The sleeve styles suggest dates of around 1903-1905 to me, but I am open to correction.


Offline KarinK

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Re: Alexandra's Clothing; Formal and Informal
« Reply #73 on: May 29, 2014, 03:11:23 PM »
Another of her dresses from the Hermitage website: "ball gown, Vienna, 1900-1901, Workshop G. & E. Spitzer."



Beautiful dresses like this and the mauve ones posted above always make me wish I could see photos of them being worn.