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