Here is a Magnificent Lady of Titanic's era: Frances, Countess of Warwick, society favorite, politician, former mistress of the Prince of Wales. She was close with at least two Titanic passengers - W.T. Stead, of whom she was an outspoken supporter, and Lucy Duff Gordon, by whom she was exclusively dressed. This image, from the National Portrait Gallery (London), shows the Countess in 1898 wearing a "Lucile" evening gown.
(Image Deleted: Sorry Randy, I know for a fact that the NPG charge £100 per year for the use of their images on the web. I have tried in the past. Please only post images if you can confirm that you have permission to do so. ed.)
A copy of the image I posted of Frances Warwick was purchased by me from the National Portrait Gallery. I have worked for the NPG as a researcher and it was I who identified this image and dated it for their collection. The curator of photos granted me portfolio and promotional rights. I was unable to scan my print so I used the online thumbnail image. I know I am within my rights as an author to use it but you know best about web permissions, etc., and I understand your concern.
At any rate, I post here another Magnificent Lady image that is definitely in the public domain as it appeared on numerous postcards in its day and prints are still widely available. This is Princess Ena of Battenberg in 1906, the year she wed King Alfonso of Spain. She was a client of Lucy Duff Gordon's and in fact wears here a Lucile gown, designed especially for this engagement photo. Lucy later provided lingerie and other items of apparel for Ena's marriage to the King of Spain.
Miss Elsie...in color! You know me...have to ask: is that a hand-tinted photo, or an actual color pic? They were both in usage around this time; but the earliest I have seen (color photography) was 1907. Of course I can rely on you for the skinny on these things!
http://evelynnesbit.com/picsen1905b.html Here's a link to a photograph of Evelyn Nesbit, whom Shelley mentioned above. In my opinion, she's one of the most beautiful women from any era. At that site, you can look at other pictures, too. Nesbit, of course, got involved in a scandal with famous New York architect Stanford White, who was murdered by Nesbit's jealous lover, Harry K. Thaw. Nesbit died in 1967. She is buried at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, California. Given the story, and those of other women in the so-called "Guilded Age," it was obviously quite a challenge just to be a woman back then. The "Guilded Age" was a rich man's world. A bad place.