September 13, 2018

{Amazing Women On the Titanic} 'Lucile' Costume Exhibition

Original Lucile designs on display at the Titanic Museums
Step into a captivating world filled with grace and glamour as well as hardship and tragedy during the current presentations at the Titanic Museums in both Branson, Missouri and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. “The Amazing Women of 1912 on Titanic” highlights unique stories of 19 groundbreaking women on board the legendary ship—like British barrister Elsie Bowerman, American missionary Sylvia Caldwell, best-selling author Helen Candee, and silent-film star Dorothy Gibson.

However, the elegant centerpiece of this event showcases a singularly “amazing” woman: Lucy, Lady Duff Gordon, the celebrated British couturiere who, under the name of Lucile, “was known for her innovative and provocative designs plus savvy self-promotion, attracting royalty, socialites and entertainment figures to her coveted brand—women whose influence set the fashions of the day,” explains her biographer Randy Bryan Bigham. “She helped usher in sexy lingerie, looser corsets, and the modern runway show,” he shares in Lucile – Her Life by Design.

Presented through November 2018, the “two-years-in-the-making” exhibits display a rare collection of original Lucile designs: beautiful evening gowns, wedding dresses (worn by the rich and famous), lingerie, accessories (including two fabulous hats), and charming ephemera—most items from Bigham’s own collection. Other garments and accessories from FIDM Museum in Los Angeles; Canada’s Fashion History Museum in Ontario; and private collectors Inger Sheil and Lisa Kominek.

To get a sense of the unprecedented scope of Lucy Duff Gordon’s achievements, Bigham remarked: “Lucile was one of the first important female haute couture designers, the first major London-based couturiere, and the first leading designer to open full scale branches in America. She also was the first top name in fashion to do lower-priced lines and to launch perfumes and cosmetics.”

By the time Lucy boarded the RMS Titanic in April of 1912 with her husband and secretary, she was acclaimed and wealthy—“a celebrity in her own right,” Bigham explained, with Lucile salons in London, Paris, New York and Chicago. She was traveling to New York incognito, away from the usual media spotlight that followed her, to be able to rest and relax on the grand luxury liner. Fate, however, would intervene!  ~

For more details about “The Amazing Women of 1912 on Titanic and the Lucile design exhibitions: and

Photo credit for all exhibit images above:
Titanic Museum Attractions

Article printed in the Summer/Fall 2018 issue of Season Magazine

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