ICOM International Committee for Museums and Collections of Costume, Fashion and Textiles

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May 23, 2023

Sisi’s “mystery dress” Exhibition

The mysterious wedding dress of Empress Elisabeth of Austria

A presentation at the Imperial Carriage Museum Vienna (“Wagenburg”)

12 May to 5 November 2023

The Imperial Carriage Museum is on the trail of one of the most famous and mysterious garments in our history – let yourself be enchanted by the first exciting results.

Sisi´s train

In 1989 the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna acquired a splendid train, preserved by the descendants of Empress Elisabeth (“Sisi”) for over a century as part of her bridal clothes. Since 2008 it has been on permanent exhibition in the Imperial Carriage Museum as part of the “Sisi Trail”.


A portrait of the empress from 1857 was rediscovered in 2021, and shows the associated dress, which made it possible to reconstruct the ensemble, with the help of the latest technology. The spectacular result is revealed to the public for the first time here, together with the painting.

The portrait, which was largely unknown, is a loan to Vienna by the Silesian National Museum in Opava (Czech Republic) and will be on show at the Imperial Carriage Museum until 5 November 2023. Only during this time, it will be possible to directly compare the historical presentation with the preserved train. However, the reconstructed dress, together with the train, will in future be on permanent exhibition at the Imperial Carriage Museum, as a new high point of the “Sisi Trail”.


The presentation is accompanied by a video documenting the exciting story of the search for clues about the mysterious wedding dress. As its appearance has not yet been documented by a reliable source, it is impossible at this point in time to definitively prove or disprove whether Sisi actually wore the dress shown in the portrait for her wedding in the Church of the Augustinian Friars, on 24 April 1854. The search for reliable sources will continue in the coming months. If successful, the truth about Sisi’s wedding dress will finally be known, otherwise it will remain a “mystery dress”.

To see the Exhibition website, click here.

Images all rights reserved, Sisi´s portrait © Silesian National Museum, Train and dress reconstruction © Imperial Carriage Museum