×

The Winter Ball of 1903: This Obscenely Opulent Costume Party Will be the Last Hurrah for Imperialist Russia

1910s | January 31, 2017

Even with an impending global economic crisis that would commence the end for the Russian Empire; when the Russian Imperial family set out to host a party, they never do “low key”. No expense was spared.

On the eve of revolution in February of 1903, they threw the most obscenely opulent affair the world had ever witnessed. If tsarist Russia was to go down, they were to exit with a bang!

1903 Winter Ball 1

1903 Winter Ball 2

1903 Winter Ball 3

1903 Winter Ball 4

1903 Winter Ball 5

Emperor Nicholas II invited 390 guests to this party held at the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg. This was a 17th-century themed national costume ball that lasted for 2 days

1903 Winter Ball 6

1903 Winter Ball 7

To pose for an epic family portrait, the whole family gathered together; to capture what was to be their final photograph, on the staircase of the Hermitage’s theatre. Every one was given a golden insignia to symbolize his or her attendance at the court that day.

1903 Winter Ball 8

The astonishingly lavish parade of 17th century apparels were inspired by the times of the second Tsar from Romanov dynasty, Alexis of Russia. This is to celebrate the 300th anniversary of the Romanov dynasty.

1903 Winter Ball 9

1903 Winter Ball 10

1903 Winter Ball 11

1903 Winter Ball 12

1903 Winter Ball 13

1903 Winter Ball 14

1903 Winter Ball 15

1903 Winter Ball 17

1903 Winter Ball 18

1903 Winter Ball 19

1903 Winter Ball 20

Covered in real jewellery, the guests spent a fortune for the costumes (some would have the value equivalent to 10 million euros today).

The empress Alexandra Fedorovna donned a brocade dress adorned with silver satin and pearls embellished by a diamond and emerald-studded crown and a magnificent emerald necklace chosen by the court jeweller, Carl Fabergé.

1903 Winter Ball 21

1903 Winter Ball 22

1903 Winter Ball 23

Like it? Share with your friends!

Share On Facebook