In my grandmother’s photo album, alongside her images, I found also pictures with some relatives.
The “star” of this article is an aunt of her (sister of my great-grandmother) and the fashion of her time. She has an exotic name…Fatima Russo (close relative with Alecu Russo- Moldavian poet, writer, literary critic and publicist, born in 1819).She was a beautiful woman. I have only 2 or 3 pictures of her. She was very close to my grandmother and also was her only son, Vladimir Russo, a nice young man. My favorite picture is when Fatima was young, somewhere in 1890-1900. She was very beautiful and elegant in her dress of late Victorian inspiration.
What was Victorian fashion? Queen Victoria of the Uniteted Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland imposed a certain style during her long reign. The strict costume of the Queen was of mourning after 1861 because of her husband’s death, Prince Albert. But the style for this era began before that in the last years of 1830 and “suffered” multiple changes. For most women, dresses were colored and ornamented with lace, ribbons, frilly. Brooches, rich ornamented necklaces, earrings were present in the Victorian outfit and hats or hair accessories.
Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia offers us a short but well done presentation of Victorian clothes for women for every decade:
“In the 1840s and 1850s, women’s gowns developed wide puffed sleeves. Dresses were simple and pale. Realistic flower trimming was used on dresses. Petticoats, corsets, chemises were worn under gowns. By the 1850s the number of petticoats was reduced and the crinoline was worn; as such the size of the skirts expanded. Day dresses had a solid bodice and evening gowns had a very low neckline and were worn off the shoulder with shawls.
In the 1860s, the skirts became flatter at the front and projected out more behind the woman. Day dresses had wide pagoda sleeves and high necklines with lace or tatted collars. Evening dresses had low necklines and short sleeves, and were worn with short gloves or fingerless lace or crocheted mitts.
In the 1870s, uncorseted tea gowns were introduced for informal entertaining at home and steadily grew in popularity. Bustles were used to replace the crinoline to hold the skirts up behind the woman, even for „seaside dresses”.
In the 1880s, riding habits had a matching jacket and skirt (without a bustle), a high-collared shirt or chemisette, and a top hat with a veil. Hunting costumes had draped ankle-length skirts worn with boots or gaiters. Clothing worn when out walking had a long jacket and skirt, worn with the bustle, and a small hat or bonnet. Travelers wore long coats like dusters.
In the 1890s, Women’s wear in the last decade of the Victorian Era was characterized by high collars, held in place by collar stays, and stiff steel boning in long line bodices. By this time, there were neither crinolines nor bustles. Women opted for the tiny wasp waist instead.”
The amazing fact of this fashion style is that it spread in all Europe and America.
In Victorian age were very popular fashion magazines like Harper’s Bazaar; The Englishwoman’s Domestic; La Mode Illustree; Journal des Demoiselles; Petit Courrier des Dames.
Fatima de Russo represents my bound with Victorian era, an age of certain romanticism, an age of elegance but also full of secrets…Victorian secrets.
Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and children by Franz Xaver Winterhalter
Me in Victorian age
In these photos I am wearing: vintage velvet with lace blouse; corset from Nissa (www.nissa.ro);long skirt from natural silk (no name); jewels no name; gloves from my grandmother.
À bientôt !