Knowing the past can help shape our present and our future
While the future of the fashion industry is always a mystery, the past allows us to relive the nostalgia of the fashion history and remember notable icons within the industry. There is a moment in fashion history that has always enthralled me as it illustrates the highs and lows of a career, no matter what the social standing might be of the individual. It concerns a true pioneer, a titled, auburn-haired beauty who survived the Titanic disaster. She was Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon (Lucy to her friends), a dress designer with studios in London, Paris, New York and Chicago between 1890 and 1930. Born June 13, 1863, she was attributed with holding the first ever runway show. Her very exclusive couture house at Old Burlington Street, in London, saw the Duchess of York (who later became Queen Mary) as a client.
Lucy would search the streets of London for tall, beautiful girls to model her creations. This made her the first model scout. For the first time, models walked to music on her runway. Lucy’s contributions changed the way fashion was presented forever.
Sadly, despite the magnificent empire she had created, the outbreak of World War 1, which detained her in America, caused her decline. By the time she returned to England, fashion had changed radically to fit a different way of life. It was too late for her to catch up with the new trends. However, her rich legacy to the fashion world survives. She proves with persistence, you can change an industry forever. Some of her designs can be seen at the Victory and Albert Museum in London. On your first booking in London, be sure to make a stop there and relive her story.
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