As 2011 comes to a close, we wanted to take a look back at our most popular blog posts of the year. For the next five days, we'll repost the top posts of the year, beginning at number five. Our fifth most popular post features London-born couturier Lucile. Originally published in February, this entry includes a pink Lucile confection, c. 1917.
As a child, Lucile Sutherland (1863-1935) designed and sewed clothing for both herself and her sister Elinor. Years later, Lucile's hobby would become the foundation of an internationally successful business. After the dissolution of her first marriage in 1888, Lucile was left with no means of supporting herself and her young daughter. Lacking any other professionally viable skills, Lucile turned to dressmaking. At first, Lucile worked as a society dressmaker in London under her married name, Mrs. James Wallace. Her business expanded rapidly and by 1894, she operated under the name Maison Lucile, eventually incorporating as Lucile Ltd. in 1903. By this time, Lucile's reputation was international. In 1907, the American edition of Pearson's Magazine encouraged all American travelers to visit Lucile Ltd. when in London, as the proprietress was "pleased to open wide her doors to all Americans--even if they have no intention of purchasing."1 Within a few years, Lucile would open international branches of her store to fulfil the demand for her designs. Lucile Ltd. New York opened in 1910, followed by a Paris store in 1911 and a Chicago store in 1915.