Costume worn by the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Olga Costume worn by the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Olga

UnknownMid 19th century

The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation "V. Papantoniou"

The Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation "V. Papantoniou"
Nafplion, Greece

The costume devised by Queen Olga for her ladies-in-waiting was inspired by the bridal costume of the Mesogeia region of Attica, Mainland Greece. Perhaps its most distinctive innovation was the addition of a long train, a feature Queen Olga imported from Russia and prescribed for the ladies of the court. For its undergarment it has a long, pleated taffeta petticoat with its bodice stiffened with whalebone. Next come a short chemise of pure silk and a skirt of “bimbizari” (silk fabric), with gold trimmings. The first skirt is covered by another one of felt with a long oval train, with a hook-and-eye fastening at the front; it is trimmed with a broad, pale blue velvet border. Over these is a short sleeveless coat reminiscent of the “griza” (white, medium-length, sleeveless felt coat) of the bridal costume from Attica, decorated in the same way as the train. The pale blue borders were exclusively for the ladies-in-waiting: for members of the royal family, the Queen opted for red. Athenian society ladies could choose whatever colour they liked except those two. To complete the ensemble there were a kalpak, a diadem, a buckle, long white kid gloves, a long “bolia” (scarf) of bimbizari with gold lace along its length and a broad band of gold crochet lace and fringes at the ends. The shoes were always gold pumps. The costume was kept in a metal chest lined with wood to prevent the gold embroideries from becoming tarnished. Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation Collection


  • Title: Costume worn by the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Olga Costume worn by the ladies-in-waiting of Queen Olga
  • Creator: Unknown, Unknown
  • Date Created: Mid 19th century
  • Location Created: Athens, Greece, Athens, Greece
  • Provenance: Donated by Anastasia Papantoniou
  • Photographer: Costas Vergas
  • Rights: rr-f
  • Medium: Silk, velvet, felt and gold lace
  • Bibliographic References: PAPANTONIOU, IOANNA (2000), Greek Clothing: "From Antiquity to the early 20th century", Athens, Commercial Bank of Greece - PAPANTONIOU, IOANNA (2014, ed.), "Patterns of Magnificence. Tradition and Reinvention in Greek Women's Costume", London, The Hellenic Centre

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