Skip to main content

Dulce et Decorum Est- Grand Duchesses of Russia

I am getting married in July and while I bought something off the rack close to what I wanted, I am making several changes to it to make it more my own. The finished gown will be partially inspired by the court gowns of Russia in the early 20th century, like the one above worn by Empress Alexandra.
Some of the best examples of this type of gown come from the portraits and photographs of the Grand Duchesses of Russia, of which there were many. This picture of Olga Nicolevna is a good example of the general silhouette, complete with sash and hanging sleeves.

In this photo of Victoria Mellita the sleeves are even more prominent and she stands swathed in an enormous train of what looks like heavy satin with some extensive embroidery. My gown has a much softer, organic embroidery with beading on it's overlay, and the train is comparatively short.

Here is Grand Duchess Olga, daughter of Nicolas II and Alexandra, looking simultaneously like a lady and a child in 1910 when she would have been 15 years old.

Lest you think that dresses had to be white, here is a little color. This gown is likely from the 19th century, but the official court style changed very little over time, the hanging sleeves being the most distinctive feature for women.

While most of these feature a pointed waistline and probably a separate skirt, my wedding dress has an empire waistline with heavily-beaded sash, and a fit-and-flare, or trumpet, silhouette. I think it's going to be beautiful, I just need to get the beaded lace to my seamstress for those sleeves!

Comments

  1. Tsk, tsk, naughty you! Teasing us with all these descriptions and inspirations photographs, but no actual image of your dress! I hope all the alterations go well, and hope that someday you will show us the finished product!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I will, I promise, just don't want to risk my fiance seeing it in any form.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Italian Renaissance Hairstyles

In keeping with my last post on Italian Renaissance costume I thought we would take a look at something we didn't touch much on; hairstyles. They were extremely varying; up and down, braided, netted, entwined with silks and ribbons, even pearls, and, of course, dyed, bleached, and curled. The only thing in somewhat short supply seems to be hats, and really who would want to cover up what you had spent so much time constructing?

Occasionally a small cap, or scuffia, was worn either with side curls, or with most of the hair stuffed up underneathe:-












Another notable hair decoration was the reta, or hairnet. Some of these were beaded, some woven in decorative patterns, and some left very simple.

Under and around these ornamentations, or even without them, hair was often braided or crimped.
There was the simple modesty of a veil, if you felt the need to cover up... Or, if blending into the background wasn't your thing, there were big turbans, or simply huge ones. 

And, of course, the…

Favorite

How Our Ancestors Slept

As someone who wakes up during the night feeling frustratingly refreshed...and then struggles to rise in the morning, I found this article to be a kind of vindication. Apparently the way we sleep has changed. For more information you can visit the link here.