Titanic Fashion

Titanic image courtesy of the National Museums Northern Ireland Collection

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.

Watch our video on fashions on the Titanic- click here for video

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User Comments 14

this is veryy helpful
adam 22 January 2013
Where can I purchase an edwardian styled ladies clothings it has to be for first class traveller
carole wilson 12 June 2012
what did 3rd class passengers wear
emma 30 May 2012
If it is possible, would you be able to upload a few pictures of different looks that passengers might have worn on the Titanic?
linzi 18 April 2012
I was looking for information to include in a scrapbook I am working on. What started as just a few pictures and a 'boarding pass' from the Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge Tennessee, has turned into 20 pages. I was reading the comments left below, and found your's interesting Teresa. My boarding pass was that of Annie Caton. You might do a search for pictures from the movie, or other crew member pictures. I recently read that there were only 2 photos that were known to exist of Annie, one of her at a young age and then when she was much older.
tami 13 April 2012
.My husband and I have been invited to a Titanic Anniversary party. We were given a name and description of an actual passenger and are to dress the part then we will find out if they survived or not. Should be a fun party. My husband is Bruce Ismay,a 1st class passenger, managing director of the White Star Line, so I know what he should look like, but I and Annie Caton,crew, Turkish Bath Stewardess. So I'm wondering what they wore? Any one have any suggestions?
Teresa 04 April 2012
We are hosting a Titanic party at Tir na nOg irish Pub in Raleigh April 13th, serving the 2nd class menu with live music from two Irish bands, so it should be a fun time, I hope everyone will try to dress to suit the occassion.
a simple long skirt ruffed blouse and shawl would be perfect for those who wish to travel steerage class.
www.tnnirishpub.com for more details
Annie Nice 02 April 2012
A restaurant(Cape Light, in Cardigan) in PEI, Candad is having a dinner, celebrating the 100th anniversary on the Titanci sinking.
My husband and I hope to attend. No one has taliked about the fashion at the time, but I think it would be so
interesting if people came dressed in style of the day.
Our anniversary is April 14, so this story has always been of interest to us.
I am thinking about wearing something from the era, so I checked out your site. I found it very well done and intersting.
Thank you.
Linda Patterson-Gibson 09 March 2012
this was a great site!!!! i used it for my reaserch paper and it was the best site i found! also to Jane Moon the book you recomended was helpful! i had to have a book and it was great!!! thank you:)
Emma 24 February 2012
So helpful on my report thanks!
meg 24 February 2012
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