Riches and luxury were fashionable during the “gilded age” of the early twentieth century, and first-class passage on the maiden voyage of a great transatlantic liner was among the heights of that fashion amongst the upper classes. The decor of Titanic’s accommodation
replicated the high fashion of yesteryears. The famous grand staircase was in William and Mary style , but the balustrade was Louis XIV.
First Class Attire & Fashionable Dress on the Titanic
The first-class dining saloon and reception room were Jacobean, the restaurant Louis XVI, the lounge Louis XV (Versailles), the reading and writing room late Georgian, the smoking room early Georgian. The gentlemen, and especially the ladies travelling first class, tried to honour their surroundings through their fashionable dress. In the palm room, for example, full dress was expected. Feminine finery encouraged the chivalry of the men, and that chivalry was to be sorely tested during the hours of the sinking of the Titanic ship
First-class titanic passengers
may have been aware that on board was the well-known American fashion correspondent, Edith Russell, who was travelling with trunks full of French couturière for American clients. She later remembered what she was wearing when being evacuated from the sinking ship and what J. Bruce Ismay was wearing when he ordered her into a lifeboat.
Lady Duff Gordon
A week after the sinking, she recorded for Women’s Wear Daily Lady Duff Gordon’s
apparel when leaving the doomed liner and their conversation about their respective costumes on board the rescue ship, Carpathia. Duff Gordon was “Lucile”, the celebrated couturière the foremost creator of fashions in the world who had opened a branch of her London business in New York. She also designed for London plays, a reminder of the theatrical aspects of Titanic’s first-class interior and passengers. Among those passengers were a famous Broadway producer, actress, novelist, short-story writer, painter, sculptor, journalists – those whose celebrity was itself fashionable. But scenes resembling costume drama were to end in the catastrophe of tragedy.