all aboard

March 31, 2020

Emilie Grigsby (1876 – 1964) was an American socialite who led a colourful life. An affair with a much older, wealthy tycoon landed her a New York mansion and money enough to live a lavish life. Wildly beautiful, and very generous, Grigsby became a patron of artists, sculptors, musicians and writers. She moved to England in 1912, and regularly travelled between Europe and New York on the Olympic, Aquitania and Lusitania liners. W.B. Yeats and sculptor, Auguste Rodin were frequent guests at Grigsby’s Mayfair home, and an obituary in The Times said that “she could out entertain her rivals with wines and cooking beyond their ken.” One of her steamer trunks, and a few cocktail dresses, was part of a recent V&A exhibition, now sadly closed. The silk georgette and glass beaded ‘salambo’ dress was designed by Jeanne Lanvin in Paris in 1925. Oh, the parties these frocks would have seen.

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