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General News > Lucile Fashion Designer, Titanic Survivor
This summer’s show in the Fashion & Textile Gallery at The Bowes Museum features a dress designed by Lucile which spotlights both the glamorous and dangerous worlds of 1912, the year that Lucile survived The Titanic.
This is the fascinating story behind an exquisite wedding gown, designed by Lucile, one of the most famous fashion designers of the time. Lady Duff Gordon, known as ‘Lucile’, had fashion houses in London, Paris and New York. She was the first designer to stage fashion parades using beautiful models.
Lucile was rescued from the Titanic in April 1912. The dress was worn in June 1912, and is the centre-piece of an exhibition which captures the mood of the time. The story behind this dress illustrates both the innovations and the optimism of the age exactly a hundred years ago. The tale of this young bride is one of bravery and tragedy, bound up with the early history of flying and motoring. It is an insight into her exciting and glamorous life, which was shattered by World War One.
The beautiful gown she wore for her marriage to a pioneer aviator is a seductive mix of shimmering soft satin, pearls and diaphanous layers exemplifies Lucile’s signature style at the height of her career. Cecil Beaton considered that the Lucile ‘creations of this period are surely the loveliest..... drapery of filmy chiffon was weighed down with embroidery of almost incredible delicacy’
The Lucile dress will make its appearance on 14th April in The Fashion & Textile Gallery at The Bowes Museum. At present it is nestling in tissue paper in its own special box in the textile conservation room awaiting the conservator and the mount-maker to bring it back to life. Although approaching its centenary, the dress is in almost perfect condition, preserved and treasured by the family until they donated it to The Bowes Museum in 1989. The donors were nieces of the bride; Princess Iris Wittgenstein, Diana Cavendish and Sylvia Ryle-Hodges.