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2). 16 The designer Lucile was very much involved with dressing the ‘Gaiety girls’, including Gaby Deslys, both on and off stage. William Macqueen Hope observed, when reflecting on the period, The Gaiety stage door was indeed the gate way to romance. The Girls gilded the evening hours with loveliness as they approached it, and lit up the night, especially for their escorts, when they left after the show. 2: Miss Marie Studholme, Miss Gabrielle Ray, Miss Zena Dare. Postcard. London. Own collection.

Lucile described her first mannequin parade held before an exclusive clientele, and at this point men were absent from the show: The Showroom was crowded. 24 Cecil Beaton, in The Glass of Fashion, described theatrical costumes designed by Lucile as masterpieces of intricate workmanship…Lucile worked with soft materials, delicately mingling them with bead and sequin embroidery, with cobweb lace insertions, true lovers knots, and garlands of minute roses. 25 Lucile herself described such creations as her ‘emotional dresses’.

Own collection. 4: Miss Vesta Tilley, actress. Postcard. London. Own collection. 27 28 FASHIONING THE FEMININE In wearing a monocle, Tilley and Hettie King actually anticipated crossdressing lesbian icons such as Una Trowbridge and Radclyffe Hall, and even later Marlene Dietrich and Madonna. 35 This implies the possible status of a third sex, separate and secure under the stage lights. As discussed at the beginning of the chapter, even conventional female fashion imagery was taken to an extreme that could be described as ‘camp’ in its artificiality, and there was a sense in which women in the context of fashion could be seen to be ‘impersonating’ women in a masquerade, facilitated by the developing apparatus of consumerism.

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