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Lucile design

This filmy, off-the-shoulder (all the rage on Fashion Week runways) style was designed by Lucile, a popular designer in the 1910s. Not familiar? Perhaps you are.

Lucile was the brand identity of Lady Duff Gordon, immortalized in Ernest Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast, and more recently, in Kate Alcott’s The Dressmaker as the self-indulgent, manipulative boss who exploits the book’s protagonist.

In real life, Lady Duff Gordon and her husband were survivors of the Titanic. As a couple, they were linked to behavior that was less than heroic at the scene of the tragedy—a strain that evidently taxed the limits of their personal relationship. They divorced shortly after accident investigations.

Lady Duff Gordon was known for designing unstructured undergarments and tea gowns, but it was her knack for branding and marketing that made her famous. She dressed the era’s bombshells, including Mary Pickford and Irene Castle, and her gowns were given fantastic names: A Frenzied Song of Amorous Things or The Sighing Sound of Lips Unsatisfied. I guess the Edwardians weren’t as prim and proper as I once thought!

The vintage brooch is on sale in my Etsy shop for $15.

Life is short. Wear the good stuff.