Thanks to the effects of the war, the court case, and no doubt plenty of other things, Lucile Ltd started to hit bad times in 1918. Lucy restructured the company, but the business started to disintegrate.
It was revealed in the press that many of the designs that Lucile Ltd had been selling had been designed by those aforementioned sketch artists, resulting in a battle with the press and the court of public opinion. Eventually, Lucy revealed that, yes, many of the designs weren’t of her own creation…and that had been the case going back as far as 1911, even before the Titanic.
Finding Ways to Meet Demands
In an effort to keep up with demand, especially in America, Lucile Ltd hired a number of sketch artists to create additional designs inspired by her original ideas. These artists included future famous designers Norman Hartnell and Edward Molyneux, as well as Hollywood costume designer Howard Greer.
These designs were published under the name of Lucile Ltd instead of under the name of the sketch artists. We are sure that this can not result in a lawsuit that ultimately makes the business fold. There is just no way, right? The fashion industry is famously incredibly stable through thick and thin.
A Critical Error
Almost as soon as the Great War ended, Lucile Ltd started to struggle. The romantic styles that Lucy had been designing since she started just weren't as popular after the war, which was tilting toward the flappers, “Great Gatsby,” and the jazz age, which would last until the Great Depression.
Fashion historians have looked back and decided that Lucy's firing of Edward Molyneux, who had urged her to try to design bolder, more modern fashions, was her biggest mistake. This came back in 1919, and it was not long before things started to look dire for Lucy and her business.
Closing the Doors of Lucile Ltd
In September 1922, Lucy stopped designing for the company, effectively ending. Not to be discouraged, Lucy started a new company called “Lucile” at the same premises in Paris, working on different designs. Still, Lucy had lost public trust, and the company eventually failed.
At that point, Lucy, who went publicly as “Lucile,” began working from home to design for special clients personally. She also maintained getting work as a fashion columnist and critic even after the failure of her design career. She wrote for “Daily Sketch” and “Daily Express.” She also wrote a best-selling autobiography in 1932, “Discretions and Indiscretions.”
Still Getting Some Work
Even though she was not designing for the wider public and she was the subject of numerous scandals – nobody could say that Lucile was not a gifted designer even after the war had come to an end. While also working at her home doing a little personal design work, Lucile briefly joined the firm Reville, Ltd.
She also maintained a ready-to-wear shop on her own. In addition, she allowed a wholesale operation in America to use her name in perpetuity. It might not have been the heights she once enjoyed, but to most people, it was probably a pretty good living.