Copyright by Brian Howard Seibert
EMPRESS HELGA’S FASHION EMPORIUM
Please Note: This website is about Vikings and Varangians and the way they lived over a thousand years ago. The content is as explicit as Vikings of that time were and scenes of violence and sexuality are depicted without reservation or apology. Reader discretion is advised.
KIEVAN HRAES’ FASHION STUDIOS (Circa 940 – 1040 AD)
In the early spring of 940, Queen Helga of Kiev travelled to Constantinople with the Hraes’ Trading Company merchant fleet and she took with her a new line of Princess Dresses she had designed and had sewn up in the new fashion studio she had set up in Kiev over the winter. She brought two young princesses with her as models and she brought three painters to capture the looks of the dresses as they were modeled in the Hraes’ palace in the Golden Horn port area of the capital of the Eastern Roman Empire. It was the start of a new line of business for the Hraes’ Trading Company stores throughout Europe, a fashion and makeup line that would expand the sale of silks brought in from Cathay via the Silk Road through Asia.
Fashion shows were not new to Constantinople, but they took place in the Emperor’s palace under the stringent control of the Empress of Rome. There were many dress codes in the Empire, such as it being forbidden to wear purple unless one was of Roman royalty, and Queen Helga was aware of a few of the restrictions, but, being a foreigner and a Varangian, not nearly all of them. Still, the Hraes’ Trading Company carried enough clout with the Romans that Queen Helga had received permission to host fashion showings in the Hraes’ palace in the Saint Mamas quarter of Constantinople and Roman royalty was invited to all the shows. And Roman royalty came to see the new designs being brought in from Kiev and to enjoy the sparkling wines of Frankia and the Khazar Vayar sturgeon roe of the Volga River served on Anglish wafers. Few royals left the shows sober and none left hungry.
As the shows carried on through the summer, the artists that Queen Helga had brought south with her painted up a veritable storm of poses that the two princess models dreamt up. They put together several collections of paintings that would be forwarded to the Hraes’ stores that stretched from Mumba and Baghdad in the southeast to London and Paris in the northwest. These collections were preserved for posterity and are soon to be presented in the following galleries that are presently being assembled.