Royalty – Part II

I was not allowed to take photos in Hofburg, but when I entered Sissi’s apartments and saw these two gowns, part of Sissi’s trousseau, nobody could restrain me. When I was little I very much enjoyed watching movies presenting the 19th century outfits and I was telling my mother that I’ ll become the type of lady that always wears crinoline gowns. Right! Well, too bad that Kate met William before me, wink! But wait, not even the Duchess of Cambridge wears those crinolines!

Now a little bit of history and gossip about Elisabeth of Austria or Sissi. First of all, she was born Duchess of Bavaria but she was not the usual duchess as she had the chance to grew up far from the protocols of the court in a very unrestrained environment. This was due to her father, considered a very peculiar man, who always preferred the countryside rather than the court life. Thanks God we are living now in an era when being different is the best thing ever, and the word obedient is not in our dictionary anymore! I hope you can smell my sarcasm.  But back to Sissi: a shy and introverted child, “often skipped her lessons to go riding about the countryside“.

Therefore, when she was chosen to be Austria Emperor’s spouse, she had some difficulties in adapting to the Hofburg life and to all the responsibilities an empress has. Because of the above and also of her mother-in-law patronizing attitude, “the only quality for which she felt herself appreciated, and over which she had control, was her physical appearance, so she started cultivating this as the primary source of her self-esteem. Obsessively achievement-oriented and almost compulsively perfectionist in her attitudes, she became a slave to her own beauty and image.”

So, not only I had the opportunity to admire the two amazing gowns, but I  also found some interesting things about Sissi’s obsessions. In the porcelain area, I discovered a device used for squeezing the duck meat and  for her diet, Sissi was only drinking the… how should I call it? aaaa…”duck juice”? So long with the grapefruit juice in the morning, girls, wink! This is even more disturbing since at her death she was found to have suffered from starvation! Not only she was extremely drastic with her diet, but she had also a “vintage” gym room where she would exercise every morning. And it seams that every castle she lived in was equipped with a gym room. Can you imagine her gym costume?

In her youth Elisabeth followed the fashions of the age, which for many years were cage-crinolined hoop skirts. But when fashion began to change, she was at the forefront of abandoning the hoop skirt for a tighter and leaner silhouette. She disliked both expensive accoutrements and the protocol that dictated constant changes of clothing, preferring simple, monochromatic riding habit-like attire. She never wore petticoats or any other underlinen, as they added bulk, and was often literally sewn into her clothes, to bypass waistbands, creases and wrinkles and further emphasize the wasp waist that became her hallmark.

Source: 1 Hofburg entrance  by me, 2 City Hall by me, 3 St. Stephen’s Cathedral – photo taken right from our favorite cafe by me (I think), 4 Women with a scooter (by my bf), 5 Karlskirche build after the plague left the city by my bf, 6&7 Hofburg – Sissi’s apartments by me (incognito, not to be caught)



4 thoughts on “Royalty – Part II

  1. Wonderful post! Thank you for sharing the photos and story. It’s funny to realise that women were obsessed with strict diets and exercise such a long time ago… Love it how she perceived fashion and life in general. x

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