Catherine the Great reigns supreme as Sky reveals a new gallery of images set to feature in exclusive costume exhibition at the BFI Radio Times Festival
Decadent, politically tumultuous and sexually charged –
prepare to enter the world of 18th century Russia in new images from
Sky and HBO original drama Catherine the Great.
Released ahead of this weekend’s BFI Radio Times
Festival, where Helen Mirren will be inducted into the Radio Times Hall of Fame, the
images provide a glimpse into Mirren’s next major TV role as Catherine the
Great which is set to air on Sky Atlantic this autumn.
The first look gallery showcases four of the opulent costumes
worn by Helen Mirren as the Russian Empress, all of which are set to go on
display for a limited period across the weekend of the festival.
These include Catherine’s golden ceremonial gown stitched
with elaborate beading and pearls, the blue ball gown worn on the anniversary
of the monarch’s coronation, a suit specially made for the Empress to enjoy at
the transvestite ball- one of her favourite events- and the green military
riding habit she wore whilst leading the charge on Russia’s expansion alongside
longstanding lover General Grigory Potemkin.
Located in the BFI Southbank foyer, the Catherine the
Great costume display will give visitors the chance to see in intricate detail
the four costumes designed exclusively for Helen Mirren by costume designer
The Catherine the Great costume display will be
available to view for a limited period at the BFI Southbank
from Friday 12th to Sunday
A link to the gallery of brand-new images can be found here
Written by Nigel Williams (Elizabeth I) and directed by
BAFTA and Emmy® Award-winning Philip Martin (The Crown), Catherine the Great is
produced by Origin Pictures and New Pictures.
The series will air exclusively on Sky Atlantic in 2019
and follows a host of BAFTA nominated dramas including Save Me, Patrick Melrose
and Britannia which have recently launched in Sky’s most successful year to
date for original programming.
Sky Vision will handle international sales and
Green Military Riding Habit
Catherine the Great was a great patron of the
Guards' regiments, who had done much to bring her to power. The Empress would
have a riding habit made in accordance with the uniform of each regiment and
wore the garment to appear before officers on regimental holidays.
Costumer designer, Maja Meschede elaborates: “This riding
habit honours the Preobrazhensky Lifeguard Regiment, one of
the oldest and most elite guard regiments of the Imperial Russian Army. It
combines features of a uniform with Russian national costume and elements of
the French fashion that was widespread in Russia at the time.”
Golden ‘Nakaz’ Dress
Catherine wears this golden gown for her Nakaz -
an important ceremonial speech the Empress gives to
Costumer designer, Maja Meschede says of the
costume: “I wanted Catherine to look powerful
and untouchable, the embodiment of Russianness. It took a month to complete the
elaborate bead and pearl embroideries, which reflect Russian national costume.
As a personal touch for Helen, we stitched the letters HM in pearls on the back
of the cloak by the neck.”
Transvestite Ball costume
History tells us that
Transvestite balls were a favourite pastime of Catherine the Great’s court, a
tradition she continued from the Empress Elizabeth.
Maja adds “Catherine the Great often used strategies
of gender concealment or disguise. With the transvestite ball, we can see how
she seemed to enjoy making a public display of a mixed gender identity.”
Blue Ball Gown
This dress takes inspiration from a gown that
Catherine the Great wore in August 1772 on the anniversary of
her coronation, which defined the style of ceremonial dress for the
Russian Imperial Court until the end of its existence.
Maja Meschede says, “This blue dress fuses the style of a Russian peasant dress with the
fashionable French silhouette and
features embroideries made from gold and silver threads, pearl beading and
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