Sunday, 14 April 2013

1930s Black & White Evening Wear Inspiration

Tonight (well tomorrow morning at 2.20am) is the anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I always take a moment or two to think about those who died, and also those who survived, and what their lives must have been like. One of the survivors was Lady (Lucy) Duff Gordon, the English fashion designer also known as Lucile. She designed this stunning dress below in 1913, the year after the disaster.

Evening dress, Spring 1913, Lucile 
I love it - so modern yet so Grecian, and decidedly what we now call 'Titanic'. During the evacuation of the Titanic the Duff Gordons and Lucile's secretary, Laura Mabel Francatelli,  escaped in Lifeboat 1 - which was lowered only half full. While watching the ship sink, Lucile reportedly commented to her secretary, "There is your beautiful nightdress gone." Silly perhaps, but people have been known to say silly things to lighten a moment.  A crewman replied that while the couple and their secretary could replace their property, he and the other crew members had lost everything. Lucile's husband, Cosmo then wrote out £5 cheques for each of the crewmen to assist them until they received new assignments, which began the rumour that the Duff Gordons bribed the crew in their boat not to return to save swimmers out of fear it would be swamped.

Lucile had earlier survived a ship wreck at the age of twelve, when her ship ran aground in a gale on it's return to Jersey from England. Three years after the Titanic disaster she was book to travel  aboard the RMS Lusitania, but reportedly cancelled her trip due to illness. The Lusitania was destroyed by a German torpedo on 7 May 1915.[29]

Lady duff-Gordon died in 1935, but I think she would have loved these beautiful black and white evening gowns from the 1930s.
1930s gown by Lanvin or Dior

Black & white silk, Callot Soeurs , 1930 
Jeanne Paquin, 1937
Evening dress by Cristóbal Balenciaga, 1939 

Mid 30s black rayon crepe and re-embroidered Alençon lace gown
And this modern take on a 1930s gown.
30 inspired, Carolina Herrera, fall 2013

I've been watching a few Ginger Rogers and Fred Astiare movies lately.  This dress is one of my favourites. I think it's black and white - hard to tell sometimes!

"The Gay Divorcee", 1934
It is reminiscent of this american dress from the same era. The feather pattern is elongated as the panel extends at the back, creating a stunning rear view, and the embroidered eyelets in the centre of the train allow for it to be hooked up at the waistline.

American silk dress, 1932-34
More images on tumblr.

Deb xx

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