A Lucile model in a fur coat and high-waisted dress, circa 1912.
The photographs Lucile had taken of her ‘mannequins’ in the early 1910s may appear tame by our modern standards, but at the time they were border-line scandalous.
Lucile did not shy away from using sex appeal to sell her clothing. Her seductively (for the time period at least) posed models were the forerunners of pretty much every fashion campaign of the last 100 years.
Interestingly enough, sex appeal appears to have run in Lucile’s family. Her sister, Elinor Glyn, was an author who pioneered women’s erotic fiction and is widely credited with introducing the concept of “It”.
Amazingly, Lucile’s most important contributions to the world of fashion were probably not her designs.
Lucile is credited with hiring and training the world’s first profession fashion models and using them to stage the very first catwalk-style runway shows!
This photograph was taken of one of Lucile’s models (which she called mannequins) in 1912.
A wonderful bright purple evening gown from Lucile’s Winter 1911 collection.
If you’re interested/independently wealthy, this dress is going up for auction on April 28th.
The pre-auction estimate is $3,000-5,000. Who needs a car/apartment/college tuition when you could own a Lucile gown?! Although it is worth keeping in mind that the pre-auction estimate for this Lucile gown was $5,000-7,000. It will be interesting to see if this gown has similar results.
This striking asymmetrical dinner dress was made by Lucile between 1910 and 1912. It was designed for a woman in “half-mourning”, the third phase of the very complicated Victorian mourning practices which still lingered in the Edwardian era. Half-mourning allowed for the addition of white, gray and lavender to black mourning garments and also allowed for additional jewelry and ornamentation.
This insanely beautiful evening gown was part of Lucile’s debut American collection in 1910. The gown is made of voided velvet and was heavily influenced by the Orientalist craze of the early 1910s.
Doyle New York sold this gown at auction for $35,850 in 2004.
By 1910 Lucile’s popularity and business had grown so such an extent that she was able to open a store in New York City.
Her coming to America was greatly heralded in the press, and she was soon writing a weekly syndicated newspaper column which appeared in papers across the county.
This full page article announcing the opening of her New York store and promoting her as the “Greatest Creator of Fashions in the World” was published on February 2, 1910.
I received quite a few comments on the teeny-tiny waists of the Lucile gowns I posted (this one was a personal favorite).
Early in her career Lucile may have enforced the Edwardian couture standard for ridiculously corseted physiques, but it didn’t last long.
Lucile later became one of the most prominent couturiers to publicly support the “big-waist movement”, which expanded the fashion-dictated waist measurement from a heavily corseted 18-inches to a far more natural 26-inches in a matter of just a few years.
This article discussing the movement is from The Washington Post and was originally printed on September 22, 1909.