Empress Elisabeth (1837 – 1898), known as Sisi to many due to the famous movie trilogy starring Romy Schneider, was in reality an anything but romatic figure. She didn’t live a fairytale life, especially from the moment she married the young Emperor of Austria, Franz Josef, while she was still in her teens.

She felt like a stranger in court and she felt lonely misunderstood. She missed her home in Bavaria, where her favourite nephew, King Ludwig II. lived and whom she visited every once and a while. Her restlessness led her away from her family and she travelled from pillar to post. On an ominous day in 1898, she was killed by a miscreant in Geneva who stabbed her in her chest with a file for no particular reason. What she left behind was an inconsolable husband.


Sisi’s star dress
As famous as she was because of her beauty, as insecure she was about her appearance, especially when she got older. This is her most famous portrait, painted by the artist Franz Xaver Winterhalter and one of her husband’s favourites, who adored her.

With this replica we tried to achieve a result that is as accurate as possible and does justice to this image of beauty and grace, despite the lack of material (only this one painting).

Looking at comparable clothes from that time we studied, sketched, drew and sewed this costume. The many layers of taffeta, bridal tulle and silk have been withness to all the hours of work and love that went into this costume. On each of the over five hundred applied golden stars on the skirt, a rhinestone has been attached by hand and on the ones on the bodice, eleven rhinestones of different sizes are applied.

We made a bracelet with this dress with the protrait of her favourite nephew Ludwig. A similar type of jewel, consisting of a cabochon with a portrait and a bracelet made of pearls, was actually worn by her a lot.

For the magazine ‘Visie’ from the broadcaster EO, we made a version to fit the size of presenter of the programme ‘Geloof en een Hoop Liefde’, who would wear the costume for a photoshoot. With her black fan she looks astonishing and as such she turned out to unexpectedly show up on the cover of the magazine!

On one version of the bodice we sewed a row of golden pearls on the neckline, above the frills of tulle and poofy sleeves. On the other version there’s a golden ribbon on that location, going through a cream-coloured antique lace. On the front there’s a rosette made of bridal tulle.

Both versions represent the atmosphere of the original painting as well as possible: an impressive, gracious and mysterious woman of unparallelled beauty.
Sisi’s Hungarian coronation gown
In 1867, Austria and Hungary were united, partly due to the political influence that came from Sisi. During the ceremony, she and her husband were crowned Queen and King of Hungary. She wore an elaborate dress in Hungarian style, consisting of a broad, champagne-coloured skirt with white lace and tulle and and has an enormous train. The dark blue bodice is decorated with pearls, lace and bows. A beautiful crown with lace veil finishes up the costume.

Our replica consists of massive amounts of satin, lace, taffeta, tulle and velvet. The many-panelled bodice is decorated with two types of lace alongside the neckline and front panel. The poofy sleeves are also embellished with lace and big bows. The front panel is decorated with long strands of pearls and teardrop-shaped singular pearls.

The skirt is covered with layers of white tulle and lace, which gradually lead to the train via enormous folds in the skirt. They are wrinkeled up and decorated with band and a tulle frill. There’s an apron on the front of the skirt, consisting of various layers of lace. The veil is made of the same lace.

A necklace was designed to match this dress, lightly based on the rich silver jewel Sisi wore during the ceremony.

Contact information

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Van Aerssenstraat 36d
3135 AC Vlaardingen
Tel: 0031 6 12 07 99 71
The Netherlands


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