In the late XVIIIth century a military uniform was regarded the sign of a superior political power. Later on, from the late XVIIIth century, the official ceremonial dress of Emperors was the uniform of the Preobrazhensky Life Guards.
Paul I, son of Peter III and Catherine the Great, ascended the throne in 1796 and became the first Russian Emperor to wear military uniform at his coronation. Having admired the style of Prussian military uniform, he ordered all the imperial regiments including the two life guards regiments, Semenovsky and Preobrazhensky, to adopt the same style.
The uniform of the Preobrazhensky Life Guards of green cloth is a vivid example of stylization of archaic and fashionable elements, where the cut of the coat is old fashioned, the trousers and short waistcoat are the latest style. The coronation costume includes the black felt hat, edged with white plume on the inside and with gold braid on the outside, the waistcoat of white cloth, long trousers of elkskin, white leather gloves and jackboots with steel spurs.
At the end of the XVIIIth century the interest in classicism led to a sudden change in fashion. Women's dress at this period showed a drastic break with the past. "Panniers, bustles and corsets were all abandoned, as were also the rich materials of which dresses had formerly been made. Instead women wore a robe en chemise, which did indeed look like an undergarment, for it consisted of a white, high-waisted muslin cambric or calico garment falling to the feet and sometimes so transparent that it was necessary to wear white, or pink, tights underneath."* Having followed the European fashion Russian women changed their preferences and started wearing elegant dresses with a hight-waist and straight skirt modeled on a Greek tunic. Hair dressing was simplified with a similar intention: extravagant coiffures were replaced by free-flowing locks and a Grecian knot.
* from the "Costume and Fashion" by James Laver (Thames&Hudson LTD, London, 2002)