Lucile, Lady Duff-Gordon: Inventor of the Modern Fashion Show

#fashion #history


LadyDuffGordon-1919 Lucile in 1919, photographed by Arnold Genthe; Photo credit: Wikipedia

On the 13th of June 1863, Lucy Christiana, Lady Duff-Gordon (née Sutherland), best known as ‘Lucile’, was born in London, England. She gained recognition as a leading fashion designer in the late nineteenth and the early twentieth century. After being abandoned by her first husband, James Stuart Wallace, who left her practically penniless, she set up her own dressmaking business and soon became a favourite with society women. Her layered, soft-hued chiffons, liberating slit skirts, less restrictive corsets and frilly lingerie, all made with a special care to match her clients’ individual personalities, were worn, among others, by Hollywood’s silent cinema stars – Mary Pickford, Marion Davies, Norma Talmadge, and Clara Kimball Young. The attention she paid to each one of her designs became eventually her forte:  “I studied the type of each [client] and designed a gown…

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