Habsburg Chic August 19, 2015
The Habsburg Dynasty loved lavish and ostentatious fashion. Browse the sumptuous materials, intense detailing, and bold silhouettes in these objects and paintings from Habsburg Splendor: Masterpieces from Vienna’s Imperial Collections.
Take a look at close-up details of the artworks below, and look through the slideshow to see the full images.
- Designed for a royal wedding, this imposing sleigh harness is decorated with rich velvet and an ostrich-feather crest. Some 350 golden bells help warn of the sleigh’s muffled approach on soft snow.
- Through a combination of gold, silver, and iron, figures of ancient Greece and Rome adorn this ceremonial helmet.
- Symbols such as a wing and a herald’s staff indicate that this intricately carved cameo is a tiny portrait of the Roman god Mercury.
- Adorned with flowers, twigs, and silver embroidery, both Prince Dietrichstein and his horse wear the color green to represent elements of the Earth. His larger-than-life hat is intricately detailed with jewels and feathers.
- Infanta Maria Theresa of Spain is dressed in a close-fitting bodice, false sleeves, and a hoop skirt called a guardainfante. Many versions of this portrait were sent across the empire to show that the young princess was ready to be married.
- For their marriage portraits, Emperor Leopold I and his niece, Infanta Margaret Theresa of Spain, posed in dramatic Baroque costumes inspired by La Galatea, a popular musical from the early days of Viennese opera.
- Exemplifying the court’s ultrafeminine styles, the satin gown of future sovereign Maria Theresa is lined with lace, gold, and pearls. Behind her, a crown of fur and velvet hints at her imminent role as Holy Roman Empress.
- The ceremonial garments of Hungarian magnates demonstrate privilege and opulence with fur, mother-of-pearl, and a sword sheathed in blue velvet.
- Court etiquette dictated that expensive servants' attire, such as this calf-length ceremonial coat worn by a coachman, enhanced the status of a house.
- Known as a fashion icon and trendsetter, Empress Elisabeth radiated imperial luxury in this simple, black gown. The choice of fabric was deliberate: velvet symbolizes royalty.
See more examples of extravagant fashions and exquisite artworks in the Habsburg Splendor exhibition, on view only through September 13.