Friday, April 13, 2012

What you might have worn on the Titanic

It is the 100th anniversary of the tragic sinking of the Titanic. 

When I first started my online vintage clothing business, the latest buzzword was Titanic, because of the blockbuster movie. Everyone wanted the look in authentic vintage clothing, and I can understand that—it’s splendid. The silhouette is straight and tall, the waist is raised, the embellishments are intricate and ornate. Orientalism was a modern trend, and actually, so was modernism. Here are items from the Metropolitan Museum’s collection dated from the time. Please see many more on my Pinterest board Fashions of 1912

Vogue Cover - March 1912  by George Wolfe Plank (
Evening dress, 1910-14 Callot Soeurs
Detail of Callot Soeurs gown
Evening purse, 1910-20, unlabeled French
Evening dress, 1911-15, Jeanne Hallée
Hat, ca. 1912, “L.P. Hollander & Co/Fifth Ave. at 46th St/New York”
Evening coat, 1910-15, Liberty of London, Textile by Arthur Silver
Evening dress, 1911-13, Mrs. Osborn Company (American)
The avant garde on the Titanic might have worn a design by Paul Poiret, the most modern of moderns, and the greatest proponent of Orientalism.
Evening dress, 1912, Paul Poiret
If you were yourself a designer, you might have worn your own creation, as surely did Lady Duff Gordon, professionally known as Lucile. She was a survivor of the Titanic.
Evening dress, ca. 1912 Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon)


verobirdie said...

Those are pure beauty. i love all those items. Thank you!

Norma Shephard said...

Thanks for the images. The Mobile Millinery Museum is touring currently with a number of original costume pieces from the Titanic era,which are as ethereal as the mist that enveloped the doomed vessel itself, including a couture wedding gown which was supposed to have crossed on the Titanic but wasn't finished in time. Lots of embroidered net, pastel silk chiffons and embellishments like glass beads, ornate tassels and hand-made lace.

Denise said...


Where would be a good place to look for info on the European designers from the period (e.g. Jeanne Hallee)?

I've take a quick look thru the internet but have not found much.

BTW, I love this blog. Very appropriate.

denisebrain said...

Denise, I don't know much about Jeanne Hallée. The Met Museum site includes this:*&who=Jeanne+Hall%C3%A9e&pos=24

“This dress captures the exuberance of the 1890s, especially in the lively polka dots and fanciful sleeve treatment. Jeanne Hallée was an important dressmaker at the time and extant examples of her designs are fairly rare.” It shows her as living from 1880-1914, but something is wrong with the dates because her items date from the early 1890s and before.

denisebrain said...

I'm very pleased to meet you Norma, and wish I could see the exhibit! It must be truly rare to find early 10s items extant. The embellishments on fine, light fabrics have made these truly ephemeral.