30 thoughts on “Mathilde Does 1890s Couture (Mostly) Right

  1. Nicholas loved Alexandra truly, madly, deeply to the bitter end. And she loved him. She knew all about the affair with Mathilde and dismissed it as a youthful folly. Neither Nicholas nor Mathilde took their affair seriously. It was practically routine for a Grand Duke to have a dancer as a mistress, and a coup for a dancer to be that mistress. Mathilde had the class to make no trouble and moved on to Nicholas’s cousins. She played by the rules and did very well out of her Imperial affairs. She escaped Russia after the Revolution, married one of her Grand Ducal lovers and got a title for her son. She did very well in Paris. She was obviously a lady who knew how to look out for herself.

  2. I actually own the DVD. Although the costumes were superb. I really dislike their fast and loose playing with history. Anyone with any grain of sense knows Alix of Hesse-Darmstadt was Nicky’s OTP and that his determination to win her finally showed his parents that he was sincere.
    I’ll wait a year to say more so that your Patreon posts will be available.

  3. I loved the ballet costumes, hair and the hats but I wasn’t into most of the other costumes. They were beautifully designed but they looked kind of cheap to me, a lot of shiny, thin material which is a real shame because if they had used nicer fabric they could have been stunning. But I get that you can’t make all the costumes out of expensive fabric when you have to make hundreds, there’s a budget after all.

    There were some eyebrow raisers for me, like her leather corset outfit but also some stuff that looked more mid-1880s than 1890s and I didn’t like the fit of some costumes, especially on the extras (so many weird underbust corsets…). I can’t even explain it but a lot of the costumes just don’t look right to me, for example the yellow ball gown. There’s just something that seems off but I can’t put my finger on it.

    I was also super disappointed by the story because they made Alix out to be some kind of villain and that didn’t sit right with me, especially considering the way she died and all. (The film has a real problem with its female characters anyways. Mathilde has no female friends, all women hate her for some reason… I’m not into that.)

    Loved the post though. <3

  4. I’m still trying to understand how the blood-stained pointe shoe stolen by Alix turned into a blood-stained soft slipper.

  5. Thanks for making this available to Patreon nonsubscribers. I sent a tweet to you concerning what Alexandra Feodorovna might have worn to her wedding.

  6. The costumes are accurate but seem a bit off for haute couture.Maybe it’s the too thin,limp,unironed fabrics,or the fact the most of the embroidery seems to be recreating the “designs”on the originals rather than attempting to achieve a flattering creation with each thread meant to beautify the body.Like that “ironwork”costume where the original had each swirl embroidered in different thickness giving a captivating look,but the movie version has it in almost same thickness throughout.Even if it’s embroidered the monotony makes it seem printed on.Many flicks have gowns embroidered all over and like those,this one too goes for the embroidery being far too spaced out in the court gown.Not a historical aesthetic.Embroidery can be-and should be-layered.And those ballet costumes like,what the hell?Those tutus look nothing like romantic or classical tutus.Too fluffy and trimmy in wrong places.It’s Russian Ballet-no,no,NO leniency there😡Those trimmings would not be liked even in modern tutus,let alone the historical aesthetic.
    The headwear was really good though,and the costumes were accurate in construction.I did like the daily wear looks,really accurate and with all the proper layers.But the couture looks disappointing aesthetically.And in many costumes with asymmetric bodices I noticed that the drape hugs the waist in a not very flattering designer.Looks like the work of a really committed and talented designer weighed down by average tailors.

  7. The detail on these clothes is amazing. After seeing so many productions going so bare minimal, it’s nice to see appropriately ongepatchket [Yiddish for orante/fussy] clothing.

  8. Alix wore a cloth of silver Russian court dress for her wedding dress. Her sister Ella drew it in a letter to their grandmother, Queen Victoria. This was mandatory for every Romanov bride, with prescribed jewels. Her coronation dress would have been of the same style but with different embroideries. The wedding gown in the film seems baggy and thrown together (lets put some puffy sleeves on it and its 1890s)
    I dont like Alix’s costumes, they’re nothing like the gowns Alix would have worn, which were actually very elegant, comparatively unfussy in delicate pastels, which suited her shy nature.
    The Dowager Empress (who actually outranks Alix in the Russian Court) is pretty much spot on. She had a very extravert nature and often wore bold colours and designs, while remaining elegant. The period hair is spot on and actually suits this actress’ face.

    I like Mathildes costumes, even though she should be more bejeweled, she famously wore her jewels on stage, even if it didnt suit the part at all.

      1. Yes, the bodice shape is all wrong, look at the actual gowns of the time, very much an inverted v shape, wide at the bust and narrow at the waist. The costume gowns are more naturally shaped which just looks wrong in this period, and is quite unflattering.

        1. there was nothing natural about the 1890s look, it was all about the waist, broad shoulders, wide flared skirts all to empasize the waist. The corsetted waist is structurally necessary to provide enough support for the weight of de skirt part of the gown, otherwise the entire dress is dragged down. FIT IS EVERYTHING

          The more succesful outfits are actually the replicas, even if some of them fail because lack of corsets. The lace up boots Alix is wearing dont seem to be that far off from reality actually, as examples of boots that high do exist, but they definitely would not have been worn with that dress.

          Something I stumbled upon. The sailor suit seems to be a replica of am 1895 outfit in the Museum of at Fit (NY) .


          1. Gibson Girls had shoulders like linebackers and busts to match. Actual surviving corsets generally have a waist in the twenty inch range, the tiny waist effect was achieved by contrast with the fullness above and below.

  9. I love Russian court dress but Maria Feodorovna looks just terrible in hers. The bodice doesn’t fit right and why only one glove?

  10. Maybe not LEDs, but they did have fairylights in the 1890s! I believe they were first used in ‘Iolanthe’ at the Savoy Theatre in the 1880s.

  11. The attention to detail with the costumes and the hair are really impressive, but I think the way they played fast and loose with history would bug me too much. It’s strange to me when producers inject drama into historical events when there are so many that are actually dramatic. There were so few royal marriages that were overshadowed by a more-loved mistress that it’s strange to me that they chose to twist the story of one of the few love matches.

    Also that Worth Pinterest board is going to be my new obsession.

  12. Does anyone know how on earth Alexandra’s gowns managed to survive the Bolsheviks AND Communism–and in such mint condition??

    1. Good question. I did a bit of quick research and didn’t come up with much. The Kremlin Museum pre-dates the revolution, but many things were sold off or melted down/destroyed when it came to imperial possessions and church items. It also seems like the Soviets allowed the museums to remain open with the items highlighted for their craftsmanship, rather than their owners or perhaps monetary value, but that the research was shut down during the purges, which seem to have included a number of the curators. But having spent a significant amount of time in St. Petersburg and Moscow and visited a number of palaces, they have clothes going back to the early 18th century from Peter I. So perhaps it was a mixture of the cultural heritage and also a sense that the people should see the excesses of their former rulers?

    2. Unlike jewellery and fine art, textiles and costumes only very recently have become precious as antique items. I mean not as memorabilia but as the object stripped of its provenance. (My favorite anecdote from a costume collector is the story that his competitors at British auction in the 70s were costume designer working for the BBC.)

      The Eastern Bloc sold things from former aristocratic, royal and even contemporary private and public collections of their citizens and museums – but usually not with their provenance attached. They also avoided selling high profile items and sold a lot of it on the downlow. These conditions would have nullified any profit in selling these particular items.

      Giving these items out, also would have fed the cult of personality for the Imperial family. How they avoided destruction in the early days is hard to pinpoint because you would need to know in which collection they were at the time. But people protected those collections in general at great personal risk and probably would have taken care not to draw attention to these items even existing at the time.

  13. Hey the actress who played Maria feodorovna wasn’t the one who played Alix in The Lost Prince??? I also remember seeing her as Alexandra in Grigory R. (Rasputin) (2014) what an evolution

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