A gorgeous purple visiting ensemble by Lucile, 1905.
Some of Lucile’s titles for her gown may have gone slightly overboard on dramatics. This 1905 ensemble is called “The Tender Grace of the Day that is Dead”!
A design for a dramatic navy blue and black evening gown entitled ‘Oblivion’ by Lucile, 1905.
At first glance this 1905 evening gown designed by Lucile and entitled ‘A Protest’ appears to be just a pretty dress, if not with a slightly unusual name and color combination. The whole truth is far more interesting.
I wrote a while back about the Victorian practice of using different colors or gemstones to spell out messages in jewelry. This dress uses the same practice on a larger scale.
The color combination of (g)reen, (w)hite and (v)iolet would have sent a very specific message to any one in the know.
Specifically: (G)ive (W)omen the (V)ote.
This is a suffragette ball gown!
Lucile was noted for her layering of sheer fabrics as can be seen in this 1905 evening dress.
The robin egg’s blue color is absolutely gorgeous!
Lucy Christina, Lady Duff-Gordon, more commonly known by her professional name Lucile, was a milliner, couture dressmaker, fashion trend-setter and all around very interesting woman.
She also happened to be a passenger on the RMS Titanic when it sank 100 years ago today.
So today I am focusing on Lucile.
This week marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, as well as the re-release of James Cameron’s 1997 Titanic. Despite the many reservations I have at Mr. Cameron’s decision to mark the 100th anniversary of the death of 1,514 men, women and children with a Super 3D Extravaganza!, I cannot deny the profound effect the film has had on my life.
I often refer to Titanic as my gateway drug to history. I was 10 when the film was originally released and while I had always shown some degree of interest in history, Titanic was the first thing that made me truly curious about the past. While other people were giggling over the love story and the boobies I couldn’t get enough of the history. The ship itself, the five course dinners, the way people moved and acted, and yes, the costumes.
With the internet still in its infancy I headed to the library and brought home every book related to Edwardian society, Transatlantic shipping and costume history I could carry. Every penny of my allowance went to buying obscure books I couldn’t find at the library and seeing the movie again and again (four times in all by the end of its first theatrical run) to pick up new details with what I had learned.
My Kate Winslet fangirling also led me to see Emma Thompson’s brilliant 1995 version of Sense and Sensibility, which got me into Jane Austen, which threw me ever deeper fashion history.
So, despite his questionable money making decisions, I guess I should probably thank James Cameron for making the movie that inadvertently set me on the path I’m on today.
P.S. I’ve had a couple people ask me recently how I got into fashion history, so there you go. :D
P.P.S. This is leading to a Titanic-related fashion spam, just give me a bit ;)