There would be no smiling, cheering crowds waiting for the Titanic in New York on April 17. On April 18th the RMS Carpathia sailed into the harbor with a little over 700 bedraggled and weary survivors. For many this was meant to be the entry into a new life , a new opportunity to better the lives of themselves and their families. Instead the arrival only brought into focus the clear and cold reality of what had just been lost.
According to the memoirs of Lady Duff Gordon, ” . . . where ten thousand men and women had waited for over two hours in a drizzling rain for news of friends and relatives who had been on the Titanic. Before the ship anchored we caught glimpses of white anxious faces with desperate eyes scanning our decks as the vast crowd waited silently. Women wrapped in costly furs and millionaires who had driven up in luxurious cars stood shoulder to shoulder with men and women from the slums, allied in a common sorrow, hoping the same forlorn hope. Most of the women were crying and the men stared straight ahead with set faces.”
Thus the Titanic sank into the dusty tomes of History. Forever remembered as a horrific tragedy that for many not only took with her the greatest men of the day, but the very end of the Edwardian era itself.
One hundred years later the path of the RMS Titanic will once again hold court with a new ship: the MS Balmoral. She will set sail from Southampton on Easter Day April 8, 2012 and on the 15th of April she will reach the wreckage of the Titanic. At 2:20 am the passengers will gather and mark the 100th year exactly that she sank beneath the waves.
On April 6th a fellow costumier will join me at King’s Cross Saint Pancras in London. Garbed in full 1912 attire we will board the train that 100 years ago would have taken us to Southampton. Over the course of the weekend we will reenact the year 1912 and the excitement of the period will be resurrected. On Easter day we will gather at the docks to bid a safe journey to the MS Balmoral.
This is the beginning of the dress diary documenting the research and steps taken to re-create an appropriate wardrobe for 1912. I present to you, The Titanic Project.