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Video: How the king of outrageous, implicated in the death of Rasputin, and the niece of Nicholas II conquered Paris
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-24 13:10
Prince Felix Yusupov, the brightest representative of the last generation of the imperial aristocracy of Russia, knew how to shock the public with his "pranks", reaching the point of shocking. He gained fame as a gay man, and then married the niece of Nicholas II, the favorite of Alexander III, Irina Romanova. He narrowly escaped execution for participating in a conspiracy against Grigory Rasputin, and having fled abroad with his wife after the revolution, he was able to found a fashion house and conquer Paris.
King of outrageous
The fact that even in his youth, the son of Princess Zinaida Yusupova and Count Felix Sumarokov-Elston began to shock the public, was not a small merit of his mother. In the family, the son Nikolai was already growing up, and the princess desperately wanted her to have a girl. This desire was so passionate that even before the birth of the child, Zinaida Yusupova stocked up on girlish outfits. And little Felix, at the whim of his mother, often sported in dresses and sundresses, while it was almost impossible to distinguish him from the girl.
And in his youth, young Yusupov himself gladly dressed up in women's dresses, appeared in this form in public places, sang romances and flirted with men, which repeatedly shocked the townsfolk, if, of course, they recognized him. By the way, even in adulthood, he sometimes practiced such entertainments.
It was thanks to these antics that Yusupov gained the fame of a gay person, which was extremely difficult for him to get rid of. When the Grand Duke Alexander Mikhailovich announced to Felix's parents about his desire to marry his daughter Irina Alexandrovna to a young rake, the Dowager Empress Maria Fyodorovna opposed this marriage precisely because of the reputation of Felix Yusupov.
However, Nicholas II blessed this marriage, and the wedding still took place. The fact is that by this time Felix's elder brother Nikolai had died in a duel, and the younger became the heir to the title and fortune of the Yusupovs. The marriage of Irina Romanova and Felix Yusupov was beneficial to both families, and for the Yusupovs it was also prestigious.
In fact, the family union turned out to be extremely successful, and the spouses had deep and strong feelings for each other throughout their 50 years of life.
From the assassination of Rasputin to a fashion house in Paris
The tests of the young family began already during their honeymoon trip, which coincided with the outbreak of the First World War. In Germany, they were detained by order of Kaiser Wilhelm as prisoners of war until the end of the war. Only the intervention of Felix's father and serious money made it possible to organize the escape of the newlyweds.
In St. Petersburg, Felix Yusupov, as the only child in the family, was released from military service, but took up the arrangement of hospitals. In 1915, Felix Yusupov had a daughter, Irina, and he himself was involved in a conspiracy of the highest aristocracy against Grigory Rasputin. It was Yusupov who had to get close to Rasputin, ostensibly to cure his feminine inclinations. Felix even invited the "elder" to his wife to get rid of her neurasthenia. As you know, although Prince Yusupov was directly involved in the murder of Rasputin and even shot at him, he fell from a bullet fired by Vladimir Purishkevich.
Felix Yusupov, like other participants in the conspiracy, faced the death penalty, but the intercession of the highest aristocracy, including some members of the Romanov family, only led to the Yusupovs' exile to an estate near Kursk. Thanks to this, after the revolution, they were able to leave with part of the state, first to the Crimea, then to move to Malta and find themselves in France.
There the Yusupovs acquired a house in the Bois de Boulogne and even opened their own atelier in Paris, named after the first letters of their names - IRFE. The success of the enterprise was primarily due to the interest in the Russian aristocracy and the fact that Irina Romanova herself demonstrated the models.
The fashion house IRFE, founded in 1924, is located at number 10 on rue Dufo, many of Prince Yusupov's friends served there, and the demonstration of models was carried out, for the most part, by real countesses. It was at that time that Russian motifs began to appear in the collections of Coco Chanel.
The success of the first IRFE collection was overwhelming. Critics vied with each other to praise the models, and the fashion house has branches in other countries, including Germany and the UK. An important role in the success was played by the personality of Felix Yusupov himself, because many clients came, in fact, only to meet with him.
The wife of Felix Yusupov was simply idolized at that time. She was a real princess, a sophisticated beauty, forced, due to circumstances, to become a model. Irina Yusupova's style, airy silhouettes and ageless appearance influenced the fashion of the 1920s.
Later, IRFE began to produce four more perfumes, developed separately for blondes, brunettes, redheads and women of mature age. Soon the Yusupovs also opened a porcelain store. Felix Yusupov did not limit his activities only to a fashion house. He took an active part in the design of the Maisonette and Lido restaurants.
Unfortunately, seven years after its foundation, the fashion house was closed due to the Great Depression that began in America, because the clients of the Yusupovs were, for the most part, just American women of fashion. For the collapse of such a successful enterprise, Felix Yusupov blamed only himself, his inability to calculate profit and his ability to spend money thoughtlessly. Felix Yusupov died in Paris in 1967, three years later his wife was gone.
An adventurous venture, the success of which was amazing, because the first sketches were drawn simply on pieces of wallpaper, made a splash, and then was forgotten for almost a century. In 2008, model Olga Sorokina decided to revive IRFE. She learned about this venture from the book "Beauty in Exile" by Alexander Vasiliev, then met with the granddaughter of the Yusupovs, Ksenia Sheremeteva-Sfiris, and in 2008 presented the revived brand at the Haute Couture Week in Paris. Five years later, the first fashion show of the IRFE collection took place, preserving the old traditions of the legendary fashion house.
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