Born Lucy Christiana Sutherland in London in 1863, Lucile was a fashion designer, theatrical costumier and fashion journalist, and sister of novelist Elinor Glyn, creator of the ‘It Girl’. Lucy turned to dressmaking to make a living for herself after her marriage collapsed in 1893, and quickly found herself, as ‘Lucile’, one of the superstar designers of her day, pioneering the use of models and the catwalk show over her long and colourful fashion career as proprietor of Maison Lucile. She married Scottish landowner Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon in 1900, and the two became notorious following allegations of ungentlemanly conduct on his part during the sinking of the Titanic in 1912.
The business continued to grow but after 1922 Lucy was no longer involved or producing designs and the company went into decline; however, she continued to design for private clients and to work as a fashion columnist. In 1932 she wrote her autobiography, titled Discretions & Indiscretions. Lucile died in 1935, but her great-great-granddaughter Camilla Blois has reinvented Lucile’s designs for the modern age with her Lucile lingerie range.
This book has more on the Titanic and on the ‘Duff Gordon bribery scandal’.