Is there any stance adopted in the Edwardian decade that is harder to comprehend and describe to current readers than the resolute opposition to universal suffrage among otherwise rational, independent-minded, successful English businesswomen? For such was the position of Lady Duff Gordon, the society designer and dressmaker who for many years traded as Lucile, Ltd., of 23 Hanover Square. Perhaps there is in Lucile’s personal evolution a clue to solving the puzzle of her socio-political outlook, apart from an obvious attachment to what she must have presumed were the views of the majority of her wealthy clientele. Lucy Christiana Sutherland apparently detested her first given name, but not enough to dissuade her from trading after her first marriage in the 1890s as Mrs. Lucy Wallace, or later adjusting her name to Madame Lucile, and finally the stand-alone “Lucile.” Yet she was known to intimate friends as Christiana. Upon marrying for the second time she became Lady Duff Gordon, which iteration was evidently interchangeable with Lucile, at least in print. Many of her ensembles carried evocative titles, and one of them (above) specifically referred to the suffragette movement. “A Protest” was an evening gown, according to Valerie D. Mendes, “in striped taffeta (purple-blue, green and pink) with a chiné [blurry] floral pattern,” a fitted bodice with “a low, off-the-shoulder neckline bordered with purple and green rouleaux [bias-cut piping] within rows of lace and ruched bands of bright green silk. A scallop-edged [white] lace chemisette [worn beneath the bodice] is embroidered with silver bows and slotted with pale blue ribbon, and has puffed elbow-length sleeves gathered by bright green ribbon tied in bows. Lines of rouleaux, a double row of domed buttons, and a central ribbon rosette decorate the lower bodice. The matching smooth-line, gored skirt has piped seams and a center-front row of domed buttons. The seams are trimmed with rectangles of ruched and piped lines in bright green silk.” Although Lucile “met and rather approved of Mrs. [Emmeline] Pankhurst, describing her in her autobiography as ‘a dear little woman’,” Lucile nevertheless expressed her forthright view that the at times traumatic push for women’s suffrage was “a huge joke…a lot of nonsense and rather undignified.” In this instance she went as far as to harness and exploit the signature colors formally adopted in 1908 by the Women’s Social and Political Union: purple for dignity, green for hope, and white for purity—and I doubt if Lucile’s aim, here, was to hedge any bets, in other words to offer “A Protest” to ladies who could either wear those colors with pride, or else with contempt. I fear the likeliest standpoint is contempt. Yet one wonders what she thought she was doing, or what the “nonsense” was really about.