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All,

I agree with what my friends above have said and my thanks to all for saying such great things! It's good to know there are rational, fair-minded people out there, willing to listen and learn the truth rather than relying on tabloid senstationalism and garbled "facts."

As to Cosmo's responsibilty in the matter of boat 1's failure to return to rescue people in the water after Titanic sank, I understand that the "noblesse oblige" mentality of the aristocracy of that day would have placed upon him a distinct obligation. Of course that way of thinking smacks of class prejudice. And from today's more egalitarian perspective, there can be no real confidence placed at all in the philosophy that one's social status or breeding determines leadership capabilities. The notion is sheer, outmoded feudalism.

The basic human fact is just that: he was human. That night on the ocean Cosmo was not a titled gentleman, he was not a star Olympian, he was not a wealthy landowner, he was a man facing fear, caught in an overwhelming catastrophe.

He was comforting his wife who was ill, he was stranded in a lifeboat in mid-ocean, he was unable to see well enough to command any sort of navigation - not just because the night was pitch-black but because he was blind in one eye.

Add to this the horror of witnessing the Titanic sink, hearing 1500 people dying, and fearing that those screaming throngs of panic-stricken swimmers might engulf the boat if it returned to the site to help, and you have basically all the nightmarish thoughts, concerns, and worries that must have gone through his mind that awful night.

None of us have faced that unearthly dilemma. None of us can say for sure what we'd do if we were to face it.

Would it have been swell if boat 1 had gone back to help? Yes. But what would have been more swell was that if EVERY lifeboat had returned. When we start remembering that the other boats could have gone back to help, too, then we can discuss boat 1's failures.

Randy
 
Jul 9, 2000
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Easley South Carolina
Randy, I hope you keep us updated on the progress of your work. I'm looking forward to it. I went on yet another book buying binge with Amazon.com (I swear my mum and I keep them out of bankruptcy court!
wink.gif
) and one of the books I ordered is EXTRA TITANIC. It'll go along with my copy of the book dealing with the Titanic as reported in the British national press. I'm just as certain that the media take on the Duff-Gordons will have very little to do with the facts.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
Mar 20, 2000
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In my opinion, of all the actors selected to portray actual historical personages in Titanic (1997), Martin Jarvis and Rosalind Ayers as Cosmo and Lucy Duff Gordon most resembled their characters. (And isn't it odd that the pair are actually married in real life?!)

Cameron's version:

51040.jpg


And the real Duff Gordons:

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Mar 20, 2000
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When I looked back on this thread yesterday for the first time since I posted the above, I read the messages from last June and was heartened to see again the show of support which the people from this forum gave the Duff Gordons.

It has occurred to me how grateful this misunderstood couple would have been to hear such kind and wise words when in the depths of their public ordeal. It was actually at this time 91 years ago that they were appearing before the hearings of the British Inquiry in London, amidst the glare and scrutiny of the world press.

In her 1932 autobiography "Discretions and Indiscretions," Lucy Duff Gordon recalled with no little emotion:

"...I never realized until the day I attended the Court how alone we all of us are in our moments of sorrow. The Scottish Hall in Buckingham Gate, where it was held, was so crowded that there was scarcely a vacant place anywhere. Looking at them all as I came in, I recognized many who regarded themselves as my intimate friends, yet it came to me that they were rather enjoying the novelty of seeing two people standing in a moral pillory, watching for us to make some slip in our evidence..."

"...Now looking back on it after all these years I think the real cause of the storm which raged round us was that public opinion had to be offered some sacrifice. In the squabble as the whether the Duff Gordons had or had not acted in a cowardly manner the real issue of the Inquiry was very much obscured, at least from the point of view of the man in the street..."

"...As Cosmo stood up to give his evidence I thought suddenly that a court of law can sometimes be a substitute for the arena of the old world. Once or twice I closed my eyes and tried to imagine I was far away from it all. When I opened them again I saw Lord Mersey and the row of counsel through a haze..."

The pictures of the Duff Gordons' days at the Inquiry, May 17 and 20, have been seen by most researchers. But there is one that to my knowledge has not been published. It was taken by a camera set up close to the window of the couple's car as they prepared to leave the hearings on the 17th. Cosmo's face has the most stricken expression, but his head and shoulders are erect. Beside him, Lucy leans in his direction, her face inclined downward with an expression of exhaustion. The picture has that mood of great intensity that is so compelling in news photos and yet it's so obviously intrusive that it was never published. I hope that it can be now. It was an invasive glimpse into their grief in 1912. But I think it's high time that people see their emotion - and understand it.

Randy
 

Kate Bortner

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May 17, 2001
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Randy, Just read your Duff-Gordon article here on ET, and I am impressed indeed. Thank you for such an insightful article. I look forward to the expanded version. (there IS a book in the works, right?!)
-kate.
 
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Hi Kate,

Thanks! Glad you liked the article. And it's good to see you around here again.

>>there IS a book in the works, right?!<<

A book? Well, now there's an idea!
happy.gif


Randy
 

Kate Bortner

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May 17, 2001
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You sweet southern gentleman, you!!! I'm here, just not as often. I'm teaching my a** off and not much time to respond. I catch up about every two weeks. But I love reading what you have to say (and others too!!!) and I really enjoyed your article. School's about over and I'm looking for Titanic travel plans. My students are about "over" all my references to our ship so I look forward to getting back in touch with like-thinkers.
-kate.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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"Howdy" Kate

"...You sweet southern gentleman, you!!!..."

Oh dear, have I got you fooled!

"...School's about over and I'm looking for Titanic travel plans..."

Well, I think maybe you need to get yourself to Texas and come see me and Doug and Cook and some of the other "gentleman" of the Lone Star Titanic Coterie.

"...My students are about "over" all my references to our ship..."

Nonsense! They must love you. What a hit a teacher would have been with me if she had had an interest in Titanic! Talk about one helluva crush! Lucky tykes, those students of yours.

Best to you,
Randy
 

Kate Bortner

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May 17, 2001
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Well considering I've used Titanic as a subject for each part of the "Research Paper" process I've taught my English III students AND included it on the final exam I gave today, they're either learning a lot about it or ignoring a lot of what I'm saying. Not saying which is my guess :0
Texas sounds fun; I'd also like to venture towards Shell and Miss Lizzie. I'll contact you privately and get the scoop on Texas.
And P.S. I'm not easily fooled but ALWAYS fooled by Southern Gentleman!!!!
-kate.
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Miss Kate wrote: "I'd also like to venture towards Shell and Miss Lizzie."

As you know you couldn't be in finer hands. I am trying to get up that way to see Shelley D myself and have been promised the full Lizzie treatment. Well, not exactly - I don't think there will be any hatchets involved this time! But I am all for a stay-over in that old house amongst the ghosties.

Kate: "I'm not easily fooled but ALWAYS fooled by Southern Gentlemen!!!!"

Well I guess we fellas do have the charm; the trick is not letting it wear off! (Mine is like a stick-it note. Ends up getting lost!)

Best to you,
Randy
 
Aug 29, 2000
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The welcome mat is out Miss Kate- and we can squeeze in some Newport Gilded Age on the way to Fall River. Sling that corset in your valise and head North. Need adventure- just axe!
 
Mar 20, 2000
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LADY DUFF GORDON
("Lucile")

66500.jpg


Born Lucy Christiana Sutherland
13 June 1863
St. John's Wood, London, England

(Photo by Campbell Studios, New York, Jan. 1910)
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Those in the New York area still have an opportunity (through Aug. 3) to enjoy the current fashion exhibition "Goddess" at the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute. It includes several gowns designed by Lucile (Lady Duff Gordon). I am going to have to be content with buying the beautiful catalog that accompanies this show. It's available now in bookstores and on amazon.com.

The following is a press release supplied courtesy of Harold Koda, the MMofA's Costume Institute curator:

"Goddess" Theme of Costume Institute's Spring 2003 Exhibition and Gala at Metropolitan Museum

Gucci to Sponsor Exhibition and Costume Institute Benefit Known as 'Party of the Year'

Tom Ford, Nicole Kidman, and Anna Wintour to Co-chair Benefit

Exhibition dates: May 1 — August 3, 2003
Exhibition location: The Costume Institute


From the clothing of ancient Greece to such modern evocations as Madame Grí¨s's emblematic creations and Versace's Neoclassical loincloths, classical dress has profoundly inspired and influenced art and fashion through the millennia. Goddess — a major exhibition opening in The Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute on May 1, 2003 — will present clothing, prints, photographs, and decorative works of art from the 18th century onward, to reveal the many ways in which classical dress has become a truly timeless style.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the Museum's Costume Institute Benefit Gala, also known as the "Party of the Year," will be held on the evening of Monday, April 28. Tom Ford, creative director of Gucci Group, Academy Award-winning actress Nicole Kidman, and Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue, will co-chair the benefit.

The exhibition and the benefit for The Costume Institute are made possible by Gucci.

Additional support has been provided by Condé Nast.

With more than 200 items on display, the exhibition will feature loans of vintage and contemporary designs from international couture houses and private collectors along with works from the permanent collection of The Costume Institute. Interpretive labels will accompany designs on view to offer a unique opportunity for viewers to reference the components of classicism in dress through works of art on exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum.

Organized in five parts, Goddess will begin with costumes that introduce the principles of classical dress that have informed fashion since the late 18th century. This continuous presence of explicit classicism begins with clothing and accessories from the Directoire and Empire periods. Sheer mull dresses from the Napoleonic era will be shown with early 20th-century gowns reflecting the Directoire-revival styles embraced by Paul Poiret and Lucile. Followed by the 1920s and 1930s Modernist-inflected classicism of Madame Grí¨s and Madeleine Vionnet, the first part will conclude with recent, more ironic interpretations of the antique by Alexander McQueen, Tom Ford for Gucci, and Nicolas Ghesquií¨re for Callaghan.

The second gallery will present designs inspired by traditional garments such as the chiton, himation, and peplos worn by women in ancient Greece. The chiton, a loose-fitting gown, is known in two primary styles: sleeveless with shoulders sewn, buttoned, or pinned, or with long dolman-like sleeves formed by a multiple buttoned or pinned shoulderline. The himation, a rectangular cloth of varying dimensions, is a mantle that could be worn partially draped over one shoulder or completely wrapping the body. The peplos, a gown folded over at top to form a double covering above the waist and pinned at the shoulder with brooch-like fibulae, is worn either opened or sewn closed at the right side, and always cinched at the waist. Examples of early 20th-century couture such as Paul Poiret’s peplos will be juxtaposed with recent creations by Ann Demeulemeester, Isabel Toledo, and Yves Saint Laurent.

The means by which the basic garment types of chiton, peplos, and himation were adjusted to modify silhouettes and individualize styles will be explored in the third gallery. The use of waist cinches and harnesses transformed the ancient Greek beauty’s form in innumerable variations. The girdling of the ancients will be recalled in cashmere evening gowns by Halston, pleated silks by Prada, and bondage-style strapwork by Gucci. Nymph-like dresses with airy blousons by Hussein Chalayan and Dolce & Gabbana will be placed alongside the scandalous dance costumes of Isadora Duncan. Also featured is Lauren Bush’s gown made in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger as a historicized fantasy of classical dress.

The focus on drapery, in the fourth gallery, will reveal the hidden constructions and subtle manipulations that create the ideal of feminine dress − gowns of controlled exposure without inadvertent disclosure. An extraordinary selection of works by Issey Miyake, Dolce & Gabbana, and Liberty of London utilizes new technologies and, in some instances, the métiers of the haute couture to create gowns of body-cleaving fluidity. Jean Paul Gaultier resorts to trompe l’oeil by superimposing the front and back views of the Venus of Arles on a light silk chemise dress. Highlights include the John Galliano for Christian Dior gold gown worn by Nicole Kidman to the 2000 Academy Awards.

The final gallery will be devoted to ornamental details and embellishment. The ancient Greek practice of patterning their dress with key and meander motives will be represented by an unusual 19th-century Liberty teagown, an equally rare Fortuny himation, and metal dresses from Douglas Ferguson. Gilt leather belting and gilt leaf corded lariats by Vionnet and Mary McFadden will recall the gold laurels that adorned Hellenic beauties. The attributes of Olympian goddesses Hera, Athena and Aphrodite appear in fashion as decorative devices on evening dresses by Christian Dior and Gianni Versace. A Valentino spiraling seafoam green dress worn famously by Jacqueline Kennedy on her visit to Cambodia merges the structure of the sari with a poetic evocation of the birth of Venus.

The exhibition brings together an incomparable selection of designs by Paul Poiret, Madame Grí¨s, Madeleine Vionnet, Balenciaga, Charles James, Bill Blass, Holly Harp, Gilbert Adrian, Claire McCardell, Jean Patou, Louiseboulanger, Lucile, Lucian Lelong, Pierre Cardin, Elsa Schiaparelli, Yves Saint Laurent, Fortuny, Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Tom Ford for Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Halston, Molyneux, Christian Dior, Hussein Chalayan, Mary McFadden, Donna Karan, Isabel Toledo, La Perla, Stéphane Rolland for Jean Louis Scherrer, Valentino, Rick Owens, Dolce & Gabbana, Gianni Versace, Tommy Hilfiger, Carolina Herrera, Ralph Rucci, Christian Lacroix, m.r.s., Julien MacDonald for Givenchy, Lainey Keogh, Shelley Fox, Thierry Mugler, Cesare Paciotti, Miuccia Prada, Roberto Cavalli, Arnold Scaasi, Vera Wang, Giorgio Armani, Alberta Ferretti, Emanuel Ungaro, Stavropoulos, Norma Kamali, Douglas Ferguson, Oscar de la Renta for Pierre Balmain, Yohji Yamamoto, Romeo Gigli, Clements Ribeiro, Ann Demeulemeester, Lars Nilsson for Bill Blass, Ronaldus Shamask and Michele Oka Doner, Nicolas Ghesquií¨re for Callaghan, Jean Paul Gaultier, Issey Miyake, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, and the costumes created for Isadora Duncan's ground-breaking dance performances.

Goddess is organized by Harold Koda, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute. A book, Goddess: The Classical Mode, written by Harold Koda, will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Published by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and distributed by Yale University Press, the 224-page book will include more than 110 full-color illustrations, and will be available in both clothbound ($39.95) and paperback ($25.00) editions.

A roster of educational programs, including lectures and gallery talks, will accompany the exhibition.

The Web site of the Metropolitan Museum (www.metmuseum.org) will feature the exhibition.
 

Kris Muhvic

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Jul 3, 2001
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Randy-

Being out of the NY scene for quite some time now(yeah, like I was really the hipster at age 8 or 9!!); I must thank you for the above information regarding this cornucopia of fashion history that I wish I could see in person. The book will have to do; suites me just fine. I wonder what Lucile thought of retrospective costume history: what I mean is did she study the historical aspects, or did she go with her contemporary gut in her designs? Oh, there I go with the weirdest questions!

Take care-

Kris
 
Mar 20, 2000
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Hi Kris,

By the way, I'm so sorry I missed your birthday but as we both are better off counting backwards these days, celebrations I thought were not in order.

>>Being out of the NY scene for quite some time now(yeah, like I was really the hipster at age 8 or 9!!)<<

I'm embarrassed to admit how excruciatingly hip I was in NY during the time I was at school there - mid 1980s. I had a look that'd frighten God, being somewhere between George Michael and Cyndi Lauper in effect. Do you recall that odious thing called androgyny? I'm just glad I survived my teens. My poor parents wagered I wouldn't! When Mom would come up to visit me she'd say: "You are not wearing THAT in public are you?" I've quietened down a lot since. If I had known at that time how conservative I'd end up, I'd have wanted to slit my wrists!

>>I must thank you for the above information regarding this cornucopia of fashion history that I wish I could see in person. The book will have to do; suites me just fine.<<

You're welcome. Be warned that while the exhibition features two Lucile gowns, neither costume appears in the catalogue, nor is Lucile even mentioned in the text. I found this out at Barnes and Noble last night and registered my displeasure by not buying the book after all.

>>I wonder what Lucile thought of retrospective costume history<<

Costume was not considered a legitimate study within the field of the decorative arts until the 1920s. Consequently Lucile was astonished when historic dress exhibitions started springing up. She in fact presented some gowns from her collection to the Museum of London at this time. They appeared in a display (ca. 1930) and she attended. She said it was odd to stand in the gallery and watch her dresses being admired in an historical context rather than as the latest thing. She recalled overhearing the public's sentimental remarks like "Do you remember when Mamma wore that sort of thing?" etc. She said she felt proud but at the same time terribly passe.

>>did she study the historical aspects, or did she go with her contemporary gut in her designs?<<

Most of Lucile's frothier or more romantic creations were inspired from the past. She was one of the first major designers to make liberal use of historical cues in her work. She was particularly fond of the neo-classical and rococo periods as well as the early Victorian.

>>there I go with the weirdest questions!<<

Those are always the best questions to pose!

Best to you,
Randy

PS) you really ought to think of coming out to Texas in October for the get-together we're having.
 

Kris Muhvic

Member
Jul 3, 2001
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Randy-
Oh! Happy belated to you! Hmm; if we're counting backwards...that would mean we're, like, 25 or something?!? Right?! HaHa!

80's fashion: Beware!
Actually I was in that "psuedo-beatnik-retro-Velvet Underground-Everything Black-turtleneck-little wire glasses-oh so Angry Young Man" thing in the late "Reagan Era". As I write this I just heard on the radio an announcement for the up-coming tour of "Depeche Mode" (!?!); My God! I'm reliving my own past!

Which brings me to sympathise with Lucile's mixed emotions regarding the exhibit she attended. I have often noticed influences from past eras incorporated into later fashions (even within the historical ones!) As the WWI fashions mimic the 1830's, or the 1870's resemble the 1770's-waist up- the sidehoops were pushed back in the bustles. But as you said, it wasn't the historical study at play; more like past themes being explored or revisited. Two, although arguably, different concepts. Some of Lucile's designs you have shared from the 1910-12 period resemble something out of a Jane Austin novel- pokebonnet-esque hat and all! Today in an era of constant re-hashing; Lucile seemed to understand the idea of "old becomes new again"...by that I don't mean ripping off; just taking the best of one period that could be smoothly fused with the present day.

Enough of me... Texas gathering? You all would probably take turns in trying to shut me up! Although I'm most tempted to see this Lone Star Mafia; just remember not everyone from Detroit has a tie to Hoffa-OK?
happy.gif


Take care-
Kris
 

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