Duff Gordon, Lucy, Lady

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Duff Gordon, Lucy, Lady

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  • Kennedy, Lucy
  • Lucile, 1863-1935
  • Duff-Gordon, Lucy Christiana Sutherland, Lady
  • Sutherland, Lucy, 1863-1935
  • Gordon, Lucy Duff, Lady

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Born Lucile Christiana Sutherland in 1863, Lady Duff Gordon was raised by Canadian Parents in London, England. Following a childhood focused around dolls and dresses, Lucile designed women's wear as Mrs. James Wallace from 1895 - 1897. She began a successful dressmaking business shortly after the divorce from her first husband. This business proved to be successful, and evolved into Maison Lucile in 1887, distinguished for its colorful fabric and whimsical, feminine designs as well as its celebrity clientele. In 1900 she married Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, thus changing her name and title as clothing coutier. While owning and operating Maison Lucile, Lady Duff Gordon also wrote fashion columns for the Hearst Papers and other notable fashion magazines. She opened branches of Lucile in New York in 1910, Paris in 1912, and Chicago in 1915. She is recognized her stature as the first British fashion designer to use live models during fashion shows, and, after establishing her name as one of the foremost fashion designers, designed costume for film and theatre. Such productions include costume designs for the British premier of the Franz Lehar Opera, the film The Merry Widow (1907), and for the Hollywood feature Way Down East (1920). She is most credited for her collaboration with the Ziegfeld Follies from 1915 - 1921, some sketches of which appear in this collection. Financial strain prompted her to close her design house in 1923, though she continued to work as a theatrical designer until 1925. Lady Duff Gordon passed away on April 20, 1935 at the age of 71 of breast cancer in a nursing home in London.


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