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  • Place of origin:

    London (made)

  • Date:

    c.1912 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Lucile, born 1863 - died 1935 (designer)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Silk crêpe, silk, machine-made lace, lined, boned

  • Museum number:


  • Gallery location:

    On short term loan out for exhibition

The house of Lucile was renowned for its asymmetrical styles, of which this matt black silk crepe dinner dress is a perfect example. Set into a high waist, the bias-cut skirt is softly swathed over the left hip and the hem is extended into a triangular train. The cross-over bodice has a plunging V neck fitted with a machine-made black lace, while bands of cream and black silk decorate the neck and cuffs.

This is from the collection of Heather Firbank (1888-1954), daughter of the MP Sir Thomas Firbank and sister of the novelist Ronald Firbank. The dress is a half-mourning dress, meaning that it was worn in the later stages of mourning. Mourning etiquette was well controlled and what could be worn at each stage was rigidly prescribed.

Physical description

Dinner dress of black silk crêpe, edged with bands of black and cream silk, and low 'V' neck is fitted with machine-made black lace. With a high waisted bodice and a Magyar shoulder line and drapes across to the left side where the narrow split and draped skirt is also caught up. Elongated triangular drape at the back of the waist which folds over the arm and then link with the small printed train. The sleeves are extra long, shaped towards the wrist and hand where they are faced with cream georgette. Double hem stitched seam joining them at the bodice.

The bodice and skirt are lined with black silk. The shoulders are lined with black georgette. There is a wide grosgrain waistband which is boned and hooks to fasten. Additional narrow inner grosgrain waistband which fastens with black metal hooks and eyes, and the petticoat has matching snap fasteners.

Place of Origin

London (made)


c.1912 (made)


Lucile, born 1863 - died 1935 (designer)

Materials and Techniques

Silk crêpe, silk, machine-made lace, lined, boned


Circumference: 875 mm, Circumference: 661 mm, Width: 405 mm, Length: 1405 mm, Length: 1645 mm

Descriptive line

Dinner dress ofwool crêpe and machine-made lace, designed by Lucile, London, c.1912

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Mendes, Valerie. Black In Fashion. London: V&A Publications, 1999.


Fashion; Women's clothes; Textiles; Lace; Evening wear; Europeana Fashion Project

Production Type

Haute couture


Textiles and Fashion Collection

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