Author Topic: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II  (Read 108759 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Alibubba

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 29
  • I Love YaBB 2!
    • View Profile
Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« on: May 11, 2006, 07:18:35 PM »
     I have read that many of Alix's clothes exist in several different places, such as the Hermitage, Pavlosk, and Tsarskoe Selo.  I have seen pictures of a few, but I am wondering if photos exist of all her remaining clothes, and if there has ever been a book or catalogue of them all.  Thanks!

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #1 on: May 14, 2006, 01:42:10 PM »
I am not aware of any published book or catalogue which contains a list of all of Alix's costumes still preserved.  There is quite an extensive list of costumes in the catalogue of 'Nicholas and Alexandra: the last Imperial family of Tsarist Russia', an exhibition at the State Hermitage Museum, and every recent exhibition on this theme, such as 'Nicholas and Alexandra: at home with the last Tsar and his family' and 'Nicholas and Alexandra: the last Tsar and Tsarina', at Santa Fe, Newark & Cincinnati, and Edinburgh respectively have exhibited and catalogued the same items, with some additions or variations.  'The art of costume in Russia', a beautifully illustrated book detailing some of the Hermitage costume collections which came out in 1979, illustrated some of Alix's costumes without attributing them to her; irritating as this is, the photos are in some cases more detailed than one can see either on the Hermitage website, or in the illustrations in the more recent catalogues I have mentioned, so it is useful to use alongside these.  A further catalogue, of a 1999 exhibition with French sponsorship, 'Costumes des tsars de Pierre le Grand a Nicholas II collection du Musee de L'Ermitage Saint-Petersbourg' shows many of the same costumes, with one or two costumes I have not seen in the others.

I am visiting St Petersburg in September, and will be interested to see what the Hermitage might have to offer in addition to what is available in the European market.

Offline Keith

  • Graf
  • ***
  • Posts: 380
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #2 on: May 27, 2006, 03:18:11 PM »
Don't know if you've seen these or not, they are in the book Nicholas and Alexandra: The Last Imperial Family of Russia

Evening dresses





Top - visiting dress
Bottom left - evening dress and on right Masquerade Costume


Offline Tania+

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1206
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #3 on: May 28, 2006, 12:55:42 PM »
Dear Keith,

What a lovely and wide selection of dresses of HM. She must have been stunning in them. They were certainly tasteful, nothing to take qualm with. Thank you so very much for taking time to share them with us.

Tatiana+
TatianaA


Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #4 on: June 05, 2006, 03:15:36 PM »
They are lovely gowns. I have seen some of them before, but they are easier to appreciate when you see thrm in color rather than in old black and white photos.

OlgaNRomanovaFan

  • Guest
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2006, 06:41:31 AM »
They're lovely, and in such a wonderful condition considering they're so old. Thanks for the pictures Keith.

Offline griffh

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #6 on: June 11, 2006, 11:48:38 PM »
There is also a collection of the late Empress' gowns at Livadia.  I have looked and looked at all the Livadia sites but I cannot find the one that depicts an elegant gold and cream hobble skirt evening gown.  I will keep looking.  Maybe some one has also seen it.  

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2006, 02:53:11 PM »
Given that Alix disapproved of hobble skirts, and laughed at Lili Dehn for wearing them, would she have owned such an outfit herself?  What is the basis for your search for such a gown from her wardrobe?

Offline griffh

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #8 on: June 13, 2006, 09:04:16 PM »
CountessKate that is such a good question and I will be more than happy to share my research with you.  I have moved twice in one year so I had to dig through my storage room to find my archive of pictures and photos.  Then I spent the day going through my archives to find the picture of Alexandra's hobble skirt evening gown and I finally found it.  The picture of Alexandra's buttermilk yellow and creme satin evening gown was included in an article that Linda Kaari wrote on Livadia Palace for Bob's website in 2000.  I don't believe that Linda's article is still posted but I was in such a hurry to write you this reply that I have not looked.  


The Empress' evening gown appears in the upper left hand side of Linda Kaari's article which was called, "An Introduction to Livadia Palace."  The Empress' gown was not cut in the narrow way that the extreme hobble skirts were but it is draped in a way that makes it look very chic and up to date.  I have so many pictures to show you of hobble skirts where the cut is the same, where the hem is not cut in such an extremely limiting way.  Lili Dehn's hobble skirt was cut as a very narrow pencil skirt and that is what did not allow her to run.  Women who wore the extremely tight hems had to wear hobble suspenders on their legs so that they would not take steps that would tear their narrow hems.  That is the kind of hobble skirt Lili was wearing.  

The hobble skirt silhouette was achieved by the neo-classic cut of the tunic and the Empire cut of the bodice, both aspects that are very apparent in Alexandra's evening gown.  Oh Gosh CountessKate I have a whole series of pictures to show you that will explain what I am talking about but my power went out today and my darn scanner won't work.  As soon as it is fixed I will post the photos.  I hope this helps.  The beautiful gowns that are pictured on this thread are from 1897-1905 and it makes sense that Alexandra's later waredrobe would be kept at her palace in Livadia which was built in 1911 just as the revolution in fashion was occurring.  It was paramount that Royals and the nobility stay current which Alexandra was able to do while at the same time avoiding extremes.  

I hope this explanation is helpful.  Thanks  Griff

Offline CountessKate

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 1085
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #9 on: June 14, 2006, 04:32:01 AM »
Griff, thank you so much for your very detailed explanation.  There's no doubt Alexandra kept in the mode, albeit in a modified way - she was photographed wearing a directoire-type gown in about 1910, and her public gowns from this date undoubtedly had the narrower shapes dictated by fashion - but I couldn't believe she would have had a genuine confining hobble skirt, after all that fuss with poor Lili Dehn!  I would love to see your pictures on the Livadia wardrobe - I never saw the article you refer to, alas.  


Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #10 on: June 14, 2006, 10:42:32 AM »
Thanks for your information, grifh. As always, you are very helpful. Although Alexandra was not quite that interested in current fashion, nor what you would call a ''fashion plate'', she did have to be somewhat fashionable because she was Russian Empress. Thanks for your insight into how she avoided the extremes of current fashion, and yet looked quite fashionable at the same time.

Offline griffh

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2006, 01:09:00 PM »
I think that is spot on Imperial Angel.  Oh gosh my darn scanner is really off.  I don't exactly know what it's problem is.  I can copy stuff and print but the scanner is really acting up.  I think I have to get my software and put it in all over again.  Anyway I just wanted to say that is why I have not been able to post any pictures as of yet.

On another thread, just after my first move, I started what I had hoped would be a documentation of fashions from 1888-1918.  I wanted to use the actual fashion illustrations for the year and then do a comparison with the Princess of Wales, Alexandra, Ella, and Alix.  That time line covered the year before Alix was presented to society to her tragic humilation and demise in Ekaterinburg.  

I only managed to get the first set of pictures up.  I chose Queen Alexandra becasue as Princess of Wales, she set the standard in dress for the ultra-fashionable just as Princess Di did generations later.  I used Ella because I wanted to document her elegant fashion sense and its influence on Alix during the first decade of Nicky's reign.  Of course this ended in 1905 because of the tragic loss of her husband, Serge, and Ella's consequent removal from society and the establishment of her Nursing Order and Convent.  And I wanted to document Alix smart sense of taste because of all the confusing accounts about her fashion sense.  Hopefully I can continue to add to that thread once my scanner is functioning again.

Peronally I have found what fashion historians, Michael and Ariane Batterberry, wrote about the French Revolution of 1789 could just as easily be applied to the Russian Revolution of 1917:  

"Theatrically speaking, the French Revolution, and its aftermath was a costume drama, with dress playing a significant role in each shattering act..."  

The thing that is sometimes invisible to us is that dress is not frivolous, it represents mental behavior.  We all make choices about our appearance that define how we want to be seen or what we think of ourselves, even when we say that we are no longer interested in fashion.    

While in exile and with her severly limited waredrobe, what Alix chose to wear or how she chose to identify herself each day in the summer of 1918, humble as it was, was a far cry from the way Lenin's wife, Krupskaya, chose to identify herself by her equally humble waredrobe in the summer of 1918 in Moscow.  

To slightly misquote the Batterberrys:

"Theatrically speaking, the (Russian) Revolution, and its aftermath was a costume drama, with dress playing a significant role in each shattering act..."  

It was thought that changed in Russia, first, before there could be a revolution and thought does not limit itself just to science, mathematics, politics, or religion; the same thoughts that cause political change are also expressed in the arts and in fashion as well as in our own appearance.  

Well anyway back to trying to figure out how to get my scanner working again.  

  

Offline imperial angel

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 4608
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #12 on: June 21, 2006, 11:57:00 AM »
Thanks for that post, I agree with all of what you say. Alexandra was a beauty, and in her younger years at least fashionable enough. She was never like Alexandra, Princess of Wales or the much later Princess Diana who had a genuine interest in fashion apart from the fact they were expected to be well dressed, and somewhat fashionable. But Alexandra did have many lovely clothes, and is a good illustration of the fashion of the era although she wasn't a clothes horse, nor would she have wanted to be seen as one. Fashion is often seen as frivolous, but you are right that it can say much, and is a form of the arts, in ways people might not see.

Offline Sarushka

  • Velikye Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 6489
  • May I interest you in a grain of salt?
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #13 on: June 26, 2006, 11:17:17 AM »
Here's another:



I have more photos of the imperial family's clothing, but some of them are unlabeled, so I don't know if they belonged to Alix, or Minnie, or someone else entirely...
THE LOST CROWN: A Novel of Romanov Russia -- now in paperback!
"A dramatic, powerful narrative and a masterful grasp of life in this vanished world." ~Greg King

Offline griffh

  • Knyaz
  • ****
  • Posts: 536
  • I love YaBB 1G - SP1!
    • View Profile
Re: Designs by Worth and Other Haute Coutures: Part II
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2006, 12:06:32 AM »
[Description for picture montage above]

I have not been able to find a photo of the Empress in any of the gowns shown in this thread, however, I have compared a photo of her wearing a gown very similar with one of those gowns.  If you look closely at this photo of her you can see that she is wearing a gown very similar in cut and design to the one pictured above her.  If you look at the detail on her bodice, there is a sun ray design that is very similar to the other gown.  Look at the cut of the sleeves especially with their sholder puff and the elongated pointed bodice and compare them with the same cut and elongated bodice in the gown above her.  Also if you look at the sequined and jeweled design of her skirt in the photo you will see that it is a variation but close in feeling to the other gown.  I also included a fashion illustration of the period to show the ideal of the period.  The other impression that one gets from comparing the gown in the photo of the Empress to the gown above her is how simiar they must have been in their coloring.  You get the distinct feeling that, even though the photo is in cepia, the gown she is wearing must have been similar to the pastel coloring of the gown above her.    

With Victorian and Edwardian fashions a costume historian can date a gown, almost to the month, often just by the cut of a sleeve.  The enormous leg-o-mutton sleeves that came into vogue in 1894-1896 had suddenly deflated into a sholder puff in 1897-98, while A-line skirts in vogue in 1894-1896 remain almost unaltered in 1897-98.  The reason that both gowns are from 1897-1898, which was the time between Tatiana's birth and Marie's birth, is revealed by that sholder puff sleeve.  By 1899 the sholder puff had almost vanished and by 1900 a tight fitting sleeve came into vogue.  

The thing that confuses some historians and tends to make them misdate this photo of the Empress is that another version of the photo with the addition of a diamond and pearl crown, taken during the same sitting, was used as a resource for an etching of the Empress by a Imperial Court engraver in 1905.

This is not at all unusual.  A perfect example is the Empress Dowager who was still autographing a photo of herself as late as 1914, that had been taken of her in the 1880's.  I have actually seen the 1880's photo dated as if it had been taken in 1914.  If the individual who misdated the photo had ever bothered to look at an actual photo of the Empress Dowager in 1914 they would have realized their error rather quickly.  

Unfortunately the State Hermitage Museum's wonderful monograph, "The Last Imperial Family of Tsarist Russia," (where most of the colored photographs posted on this thread came from) made the same mistake and did not catch their error.  They mistook the date the etching with the actual date of the photo of the Empress the engraver used as his resourse and even included a short blurb from Gillard of his impression of the Empress' beauty in 1905.  

Of course the Empress was still perfectly beautiful in 1905, but by then every aspect of the fashionable silhouette had changed drastically as any photograph of the Empress in 1905 reveal, which depict her wearing the newly introduced inverted curved, momo-bosomed gowns of that period not to mention her hair styled in a much more relaxed and fuller pompadour that also became la mode in 1905.   
 
By-the-by does anyone know how to make that other picture smaller.  I reduced in Photobucket but it did not make it smaller.
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by griffh »