TROUSSEAU OF AN EMPRESS.
Some of the Pretty Things Provided for Alix.
Princess Alix Victoria Helena Louise Beatrice of Hesse, Czarina of Russia, is the youngest living child if the late Grand Duke Ernest Loius of Hesse and is sister to the present Grand Duke. Her mother was the Princess Alice, second daughter of Queen Victoria, and she is, therefore, a grandchild of the Queen of England. Her three elder sisters, the Princesses Victoria, Elizabeth and Irene, are married to Prince Louise of Battenberg, the Grand Duke Sergius of Russia and Prince Henry of Prussia, respectively. It will be seen that the Hesse family is closely linked with the Russian imperial house, for the late Czars mother was Princess Marie of Hesse, while her nephew and his son have both sought their brides in the same quarter.
The consort of Philip II of Spain was once presented by some rich merchants with a pair of silk stockings. These well-meaning but rash burghers were severely reprimanded and punished for their temerity in even hinting that the Queen of Spain had legs like ordinary mortals. Another sovereign, Queen "Bess," of goodly memory, was more lenient, but scarcely less confused, when some of her trading subjects gave her a pair of long woolen hose. A blush mounted on the cheek of the royal virgin, and she was "visibly ashamed." Nowadays, however, all that is changed, and one of the most imposing and important items in the marriage basket of Alix of Hesse, Czarina of Russia, is the numerous and varied styles of the specially made stockings prepared for her Royal Highness by a Nottingham manufacturer. The Princess has evidently a neat taste in all things pertaining to her footgear, and many of the designs chosen are her own original efforts. Her royal grandmamma, Victoria, gave the young Empress most of her lingerie, which is, therefore, nearly all of English manufacture.
There are many pairs of very fine silken hose in pale pink, pale blue, a silvery tone of gray and most delicate French gray and green to be worn with evening dresses. These are all embroidered in fine little raised sprays, with pale colorings in silk, either contrasting in hue or admirably harmonizing with the stockings themselves. For ordinary day wear there are liberal numbers of black spun silk, thick and durable, and having a very pretty light open-work design up the center of the foot. Many are of fine black silk, for indoor wear with smart afternoon dresses, and they are embroidered in a small Paislay design, and some in wild flower sprays, called respectively "chintz" and "Dolly Varden." It is interesting to know that these are all of English make and that the embroidery has been wrought by the nimble fingers of Nottingham cottagers. There are some pairs of a design in broken lines of bright color crossing a black ground, such as red and bronze lines on a similar somber background. These are decidedly original and most becoming to a pretty foot. Many pairs in silver gray have lines and dots through them of paler gray, looking by contrast almost white. Others are black, embroidered in pale color, such as clover, periwinkle, anthurium and gloxinia, all designed to match dresses with which they will eventually be worn.
Of all, the very prettiest are of black sink, the foot in stripes of exquisitely fine real black lace work, with narrow stripes of the silk between, and the lace delicately caught up over the silk with the effect of a fine embroidery. In the same style are some having the lace work less fine and yet nigh cobweb-like in texture, with a slightly raised silk embroidery over where the lacework unites with the stockings. The Royal Stuarttarian also figures among the trousseau stockings, for the Queen gives to all members of her family on their marriage at least one dress in velvet of this design. There are also ribbed open-work black and white stockings in a woven tiny meshed stripe called Grecian, though made in Nottingham, that are very fascinating. Each pair has the cipher "A," surmounted by a princess crown, embroidered in red as marking. There is also a quantity of Nottingham silk and woolen underwear of a light, warm, durable and exquisitely soft kind, marked again with the princess cipher and crown.
It is interesting to know that the Czarina has many gloves in glace kid, with plane stitching matching the kid, and that her favorite colors are yellow, grays and tans. For indoor wear are a goodly selection of suede gloves, in lovely light tint, prettily and aptly called champagne shades, as well as many white, gray, fawn and tan colorings. There are some pairs of English buckskin gloves made in England, and beautifully soft, pliable and durable, as well as some antelope skin, which are specially suitable for riding and driving. Then there are gloves of English make from Russian leather, the skins having been prepared in the Crimea. Veils are also a small but varied portion of the outfit, and some of these have been specially made to fit the hats and bonnets to be worn by the Princess. These are in black, white and gray, and have the mesh very finely oven and the spots small, sometimes single. A new veil, made in Nottingham, is also included, and looks like point dAlencon bordering and springs, applied on a fine Brussels net ground, in an ivory-white coloring, very becoming to the complexion.
Among other pretty items provided for this fortunate young Princess are little dainty twilled morning jackets, having finely tucked Vandyke collars, trimmed with lace, and some having pointed sailor collars, with lace insertion. These are in very pale colors. Some silk and satin broche blouses are also very charming, trimmed in various pretty ways with velvet or lace. One, having black Spanish lace over the yoke and on the sleeves to the elbow, is particularly good style, as is a tea-gown in twilled silk, with insertion and trimming of ecru lace. The colors are chiefly those which the Princess likes best soft pinks and delicate grays.
The gowns provided for the royal trousseau were most of them made in Paris or in St. Petersburg. It is one of the ancient traditions of Russia that a bride, being brought from a foreign land to wed a son of the imperial house, shall be stripped at the frontier of all her alien outfit and dressed forthwith in Russian garments from head to heel. This "law" is not carried out in its entirety nowadays, but a goodly portion of the brides trousseau must of necessity be of Slavonic origin.
The Call, San Francisco, Tuesday Morning, November 27, 1894.