Women’s dresses with corset and crinolines – Kumu museum at Tallinn shows how wealthy women dressed up at the Victorian era

Greenish tartan taffeta dress with train decorated with dark green stripes and buttons. Europa, about 1860. Photos: Sirpa Pääkkönen

If you are interested in the history of women’s mode, at the museum of Kumu in Tallinn. you’ll find a good collection of Victorian style mode. The exhibition shows how wealthy women dressed on-words from 1850th.

A hat.

The exhibition is based on  the collection of Alexandre Vassiliev. He is fashion historian, stage designer and collector of Russian origin. There is foundation under his name. The foundation owns nearly 10 000 historical costume from the 18th to the 20th centuries. Two years  ago at Kumu there was a very good exhibition of Art deco style, also from his collection.

The exhibition Poetry and Spleen at the contemporary art museum Kumu in Tallinn Estonia consists 50 costumes and more than 150 accessories and photos.

The Vicorian era got its name from English queen Victorian (1837-1901). The Victorian era has become a symbol of romanticism, conservatism, false moral and the lower social position of women in the 19th century.
Evening dresses decorated with ruffles, ribbons, buttons, tulle cuffs and collar. Fashion house Worth & Bobergh , Paris 1860.

The dark side of 19th romanticism fashion was the corset and uncomfortable metal frames supporting crinolines. Women’s wear was characterized for example by high collars and stiff steel boning in long line bodices and corsets. Tiny wasp waists were emphasized by enormous sleeves.
 The dominant emotion was melancholy.

The exhibition Poetry and Spleen is open until 30th September at Kumu in Tallinn, Estonia.

Two-piece grey taffeta dress decorated with dark grey embroidered elements, 1890.


  1. Beautiful and elegant! Thank you so much for sharing! I really love the Victorian era. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. Greetings from Finland where I live.


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