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Garments of the Emperor’s favorite ballerina. Costumes from the film about Matilda Kshesinskaya shown at Pavlovsk


Luxurious ceremonial garments next to strict attire of the 19th century. Pavlovsk hosts an exhibition of costumes designed for Alexey Uchitel’s new film


The film is called «Matilda». It is yet in production, but its already clear - the film will be very pretty. Several thousand items of clothing are copying those worn by barons and the famed ballerina Kshesinskaya. 70 tons of fabircs were brought in from China in order to make those. Mariya Marchenko delved into the atmosphere of the ballroom epoch.

The gloss of the last days of the Russian Empire. Luxury and exquisitness in everything. Every dress designed for Alexey Uchitel’s new film «Matilda» is a work of art, made with particular love to details. Evening dresses of waiting-ladies. Head-band with a veil, long tail, sleeves with openings and even the color of fabrics are historically accurate. The senior freulin has a green one, the junior has a light-magenta. Only the main wedding garment of Alexandra Fedorovna - it required 15 meters of silver satin - is missing from the exhibition. Its too expensive and is currently taking part in the filming.  

Natalya Vershinina, head researcher at «Pavlovsk» Museum: «The Empress put a diadem on her head, which also weigh a lot. And, as a result, the total weight of those garments reached 20 kilograms. And when the Empress had to go around the Kremlin for the coronation - that was quite a load. It was a test to become the Russian Empress».

Just as it has been a very hard test for costume artist Nadezhda Vasilieva to make garments for the acting crew. 7 thousand clothing items were made for actors. During one scene alone - the coronation of Nicholas II, more than 300 movie extras were taking part. The exact copy of interiors of the Moscow Kremlin’s Uspenskiy Cathedral was made at one of St. Petersburg’s factories.

Mariya Marchenko, reporter: «The parade uniforms of generals and ministers were copied from originals kept at the Hermitage. The embroidery was made by hands of Indian masters, threads for epaulletes were ordered in Pakistan, where the art of making those is still alive. Helmets with eagles were made of plastic in Great Britain. This project is truly international».

Even medals were made of steel, because painted plastic was too obvious. Costumes of the Emperor’s love Matilda Kshesinskaya are exactly like the originals, but the sizes of today’s ballerinas are different.  

Primas of nowadays would consider Kshesinskaya as slightly chubby. Four dresses from ballet shows «The Awakening of Flora» and «Pearl» have been displayed at the rotonda. The latter was performed at the coronation, and the dancer known for a scandalous affair with the Emperor was banished from it - not to irritate Alexandra Fedorovna.

Rifat Gafifullin, deputy director of science: «So the main role was played by Linyane. But thanks to the protectorate by the great dukes, she was given a pas-de-de and a small role of the pearl».

By the way, the scene from the film of choosing the main role ballerian for the coronation ballet was filmed here - at the Pink pavillion of the Pavlovsk Museum. Its manager - Vera Dementyeva - was against it at first.

Vera Dementyeva, manager of Pavlovsk Museum: «Many crews want to film here, and it seems to be a profitable venture, but we seldom say yes. But when we saw these garments, we were bedazzled by this incredible beauty»

Opportunity to take a peek behind the scenes of one of the most anticipated films is a short-lived one. At the end of the month, all the garments will be sent back to the filming set. The film will hit the screens next year. Then the main intrigue will be solved - the name of the actress who plays Matilda Kshesinskaya. It is still being kept secret, even included into the actress’ contract.