Tuesday 9 September 2014

A Military Frock for Catherine the Great

As I gad about town I often find myself treated to some most splendid sights one can imagine thanks to the fabulous fashions of the Georgian era. I have long-posited that military uniforms reached their most wonderful peak in the 18th century and one lady who certainly agreed that the military look could be stylish was our old friend, Catherine the Great.

Lady Mundirnye

Known for her shrewd political maneuverings and a watchful eye on the lands she governed, Catherine made favourites of high-ranking military officials and took a great interest in the direction and leadership of Russian's armed forces. In this Lady Mundirnye gown we can see the military influence seeping into Catherine's clothing, to great effect.

I love the style of this dress that blends fashion and femininity with traditional elements of military dress, with the colours chosen reflecting those used by the Cavalry from 1764 until they were disbanded in 1796. The Empress would have worn this striking outfit to attend parades or other military-themed events that called for a little pizzazz. 

I am sure she cut quite a dash!

Life in the Georgian Court, true tales of 18th century royalty, is available at the links below.

Pen and Sword
Amazon UK
Amazon US
Book Depository (free worldwide shipping)


Helen Hollick said...

I love this costume! Given that Catherine the Great was known fir her love of riding (and allegedly the "inventor" of the side saddle which led to modern-day design. My daughter and I would love to know more about this costume as it would look superb in a side saddle costume class. Any idea where it is. what material it is etc? Could this be a riding habit by the way?

Helen Hollick said...

Oh forgot to add - please email me on author AT helenhollick DOT net

Catherine Curzon said...

I shall drop you a line!

Denise said...

A couple of years ago, they had an exhibition on Catherine the Great at the AGO in Toronto. The items all came from the Hermitage.They did have a blue dress with silver embroidery in the exhibition, but it was different than this one.I believe it was a court dress.

Catherine Curzon said...

She had some marvellous dresses, I imagine that was *quite* an exhibition!