Wallis Simpson Wearing the Lobster Dress (1937)

During the 1930s, Wallis Simpson was a frequent subject of Cecil Beaton’s photographs.

Shortly before Wallis’s marriage to the Duke of Windsor in May 1937, Cecil Beaton was asked to take some official photographs of the bride-to-be at the Château de Candé, where she was staying as a guest of Charles Bedeaux.

Since many of the past photographs of Simpson were unflattering, Beaton had a bright idea and suggested more romantic-looking pictures, including an image of her standing in the château’s garden wearing the Schiaparelli Lobster dress. The infamous lobster dress was a design collaboration with Salvador Dalí that grew out of the lobsters that started appearing in the artist’s work in 1934.

Beaton took almost a hundred photographs during the session with Simpson, and Vogue devoted an eight-page spread to the results (source).

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 Wallis Simpson in the infamous Schiaparelli dress decorated in the Dali lobster print by Cecil Beaton, 1937

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 Wallis Simpson in the infamous Schiaparelli dress decorated in the Dali lobster print by Cecil Beaton, 1937 via

Early 20th Century Photos of Iconic French Designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (1883 – 1971) was a French fashion designer and founder of the Chanel brand. She is the only fashion designer listed on Time magazine’s list of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century. Along with Paul Poiret, Chanel was credited with liberating women from the constraints of the “corseted silhouette” and popularizing the acceptance of a sportive, casual chic as the feminine standard in the post-World War I era. A prolific fashion creator, Chanel’s influence extended beyond couture clothing. Her design aesthetic was realized in jewelry, handbags, and fragrance. Her signature scent, Chanel No. 5, has become an iconic product.

Chanel was known for her lifelong determination, ambition, and energy which she applied to her professional and social life. She achieved both success as a businesswoman and social prominence thanks to the connections she made through her work. These included many artists and craftspeople to whom she became a patron. However, Chanel’s life choices generated controversy, particularly her behaviour during the German occupation of France in World War II.

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Coco Chanel via

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Coco Chanel à Moulins, 1903 via

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Gabrielle Chanel, Deauville, 1913 via

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Coco Chanel via

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Salvador Dalí and Coco Chanel via

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Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel 1931 via