Princess Orlova Davydova in Masquerade Costume Ball of 1903

It took me long time to understand that this incredible and yet magnificent headpiece is called Kokoshnik. It caught my attention for being wore by a lot of 20’s divas and impressed me for the excessive decorations and the preciousness of materials. I also like the eccentric look it give, the comic aspect and together it also creates a sort of halo, a way to make the woman look a saint.

The kokoshnik (Russian: кокошник) is a traditional Russian head-dress worn by women and girls. It is patterned to match the style of the sarafan and can be pointed or round. It is tied at the back of the head with long thick ribbons in a large bow. The forehead is sometimes decorated with pearls. The woman or the girl usually wears her hair in a plait. Until the time of Peter the Great, it was worn only by girls and unmarried women.

The word kokoshnik first appears in the 16th century documents, and comes from the Old Slavic kokosh, which means a hen or a cockerell. However, the earliest head dress pieces of the similar type (rigid and completely covering the head) have been found in the 10th-12th cc. burials inVeliky Novgorod.

For more visit the MET and The Russian Museum of Ethnography.

Sources: wikipedia.com; valentinovamp.com; alice-uae.blogspot.com; vogue.com; tfs; tumblr

Anna Pavlova

Anna Pavlova

unknown vintage picture


Dolores del Rio, 1928

During Belle Epoque and the 20’s era, the Kokoshnik became very popular due to the Russian revival launced by Ballets Russes by Diaghilev and actresses often wore it.  These diadem-shaped tiaras became part of the official court dress for royalty and ladies-in-waiting.

Dolores del Rio 1922

Mae West, 40’s

Olga Baclanova



Claire Windsor, 1926

Vilma Banky in The Eagle, 1925

Gloria Swanson, 1921


Mary Pickford

a Rodolfo Valentino scene film

Chanel Pre-Fall 2009 collection

The Chanel Pre-fall collection 2009 became famous for being inspired by Russian folk and Karl Lagerfeld reinvented Kokoshnik for his models, even though McQueen used kokoshnik before, for the Givenchy Spring/Summer collection in 2000.

Givenchy Spring Summer 2000 Collection

Vogue Russia 2011

Abbey Lee, unknown editorial

MissPandora, fashion blogger

Cindy Lauper 1986

Nina Hagen, 80’s

Jane Birkin, Serge Gainsbourg and Marina Vlady

More historical pictures:

Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia, dressed for a costume ball in traditional seventeenth-century.

Aesthete. Art historian & blogger. Content creator and storyteller. Fond of real and virtual wunderkammer. Founder and main author of rocaille.it.

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