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Walking costume

Walking costume

  • Place of origin:

    London, England (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1917 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lucile, born 1863 - died 1935 (maker)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Twilled silk and wool, boned

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The large green and white silk label in the neck of the jacket of this ensemble tells us it was made by Lucile Ltd of Hanover Square, London. Lucile was born Lucy Sutherland in 1863. She began dressmaking for friends, and in 1891 opened her own fashion house. She married Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon in 1900. Lady Duff Gordon became a celebrated fashion designer with branches in New York (1909), Chicago (1911) and Paris (1911).

This brown silk tailored costume was worn by Heather Firbank (1888-1954), daughter of the affluent Member of Parliament Sir Thomas Firbank and sister of the novelist Ronald Firbank. In 1960 the Museum acquired well over 100 items from her wardrobe. This collection forms an invaluable record of a stylish and wealthy woman's taste between about 1905 and 1920. Miss Firbank patronised many of the top London fashion houses of the period, and a large amount of her clothes were purchased from Lucile whose shop on Hanover sq was just around the corner from the Firbank's Mayfair apartment. Many items were shown in an exhibition at the Museum in 1960: 'Lady of Fashion: Heather Firbank and what she wore between 1908 and 1921'.

Physical description

Light brown twilled silk and wool costume consisting of a three-quarter length jacket and skirt. The jacket has a double-breasted belt cut as one with the skirt of the jacket (a separate piece to the upper part of the body), and with inset pocket flaps. It has deep set sleeves which taper to the wrist, and a shawl collar. Mid-calf skirt with floating panels attached at the hem and waist seam, front and back, and a hip yoke with buttons and narrow belt. Boned petersham waistband. The jacket has a label

Place of Origin

London, England (made)


ca. 1917 (made)


Lucile, born 1863 - died 1935 (maker)

Materials and Techniques

Twilled silk and wool, boned

Descriptive line

Twilled silk and wool jacket and skirt, made by Lucile, London, ca. 1917

Exhibition History

Knit One, Purl One (V&A 01/01/1985-31/12/1985)

Labels and date

Machine-knitted silk
British: Harrods Ltd, about 1919

This three-quarter length coat has deep set sleeves which taper to the wrist, a shawl collar and two pockets. It is completely knitted in rib and each section of the garment is fully fashioned (knitted to shape on the machine).

Harrods supplied a wide range of knitted coats in wool, alpaca, cashmere, vicuna, camel hair and artificial silk as well as pure silk. 'HARRODS NEW VALUES IN KNITTED COATS. So practical and adaptable is the Knitted Coat that its great and still growing popularity is not surprising. Harrods offer a wide choice of the most exclusive models, in many Colourings, for sports or afternoon wear. The Quality and Value are unquestionable.' Harrods catalogue 1917.

Worn by Miss Heather Firbank

British: Lucile, about 1919
Worn by Miss Heather Firbank
The sash is a replica [1985]


Fashion; Day wear; Women's clothes; Textiles; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Haute couture

Collection code


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