This collection of old apparels of pre-revolutionary Russia belonging to Natalia Shabelskaya is believed to be the largest and most valuable among similar ones. In 1862 Natalia Kroneberg got married with Peter Shabelsky and gave birth to three daughters. After that, she made a shop in her estate and hired fourteen embroiderers. After moving to Moscow, she began collecting unique costumes. She travelled a lot and systematically recorded the origins of each new apparel in her collection. By 1904 she had collected over 20 000 items.
She died in 1904 and her house turned into a unique museum of old Russian art with the very rich and diverse collection.
The first photos of the costumes were printed 1908. Daughters of Natalia Shabelskaya continued her legacy and often modelled for those photographs.
A small part of the photo collection was taken by them to Paris in 1925. Others are still kept by the Russian Ethnographic Museum.
In 2009 the Russian Ethnographic Museum presented an exhibition of old Russian costumes in the Center of Yves Saint Laurent.
The photo collection of the Shabelskiye is a unique source of information about the history of the Russian costume – it’s significant from the scientific and artistic points of view. It also became an absolutely independent phenomenon in the history of Russian photography.