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English: Evening dress, designed about 1912, Lucile (1863-1935) V&A Museum no. T.31-1960

Techniques - Satin, trimmed with chiffon and machine-made lace; cummerbund of silk velvet; bodice lined with grosgrain and supported with whalebone

Place - London, England

In 1960 the Museum acquired a cross-section of Miss Heather Firbank's wardrobe dating from the early 1900s to 1920. The particularly distinctive garments include understated pastel-coloured day dresses, immaculately tailored suits and graceful evening dresses, such as this satin gown. It reveals Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon) in a fairly restrained mood. The long slit skirt is especially interesting, although its draped construction is not too revealing despite Lady Duff Gordon's claim that she had 'loosed upon a startled London . . . draped skirts that opened to reveal the legs'.

Lucile was born Lucy Sutherland in London in 1863. She began dressmaking for friends, and in 1891 opened her own fashion house. She married Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon in 1900. Lady Duff Gordon became a celebrated fashion designer with branches in New York (1909), Chicago (1911) and Paris (1911). She was famous for her clever use of fabrics to create soft and harmonious effects, subtle colour schemes and romantic dresses, particularly suited to evening wear. As she wrote in Discretions and Indiscretions (1932): 'For me there was a positive intoxication in taking yards of shimmering silks, laces airy as gossamer and lengths of ribbons, delicate and rainbow-coloured, and fashioning of them garments so lovely that they might have been worn by some princess in a fairy tale'.

Worn by Miss Heather Firbank

Date 6 August 2008 (original upload date)
Source Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:NotFromUtrecht using CommonsHelper.
Author Original uploader was VAwebteam at en.wikipedia
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