Costume Inspiration: Loelia Lindsay

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Or as she was known by her Bright Young peers, the incomparable Loelia Ponsonby. Wether you pick up and book about the Bright Young People or simply perform a google search. Loelia was one of the few members of the circle that embodied the soul of the circle on a daily basis. She was the darling of the tabloids and the most talked about woman in Mayfair. In Evelyn Waughs novel “Vile Bodies”, Loelia was the model of the character the Honorable Agatha Runcible. To this day, Agatha has been one of my favorite fictional characters, right up there with Auntie Mame

Ponsonby came from long line of aristocrats that severed several Kings and Queens. Her father Fritz Ponsonby served as secretary to Queen Victoria, Edward VII and George V. Her childhood was among royalty while she lived at St. James castle and even up into her adulthood. She was to thank for ushering such noble people as Winston Churchill and Edward VII in the Bright Young People circle. Loelia first marriage was to the Duke of Westminster, who had just come off a 5 year affair with designer Coco Chanel. Her marriage as the Duchess of Westminster lasted 17 years. She was pretty outspoken about her distaste for her husbands politics and personal beliefs. 

  Rex Whistler, Stephen Tennant, Captain Crichton, Joan Thurston (later Joan Aly Khan and Viscountess Camrose, Tanis Guinness (later Phillips) Zita Jungman and Loelia Ponsonby (later Duchess of Westminster) Photographed by Cecil Beaton

Rex Whistler, Stephen Tennant, Captain Crichton, Joan Thurston (later Joan Aly Khan and Viscountess Camrose, Tanis Guinness (later Phillips) Zita Jungman and Loelia Ponsonby (later Duchess of Westminster) Photographed by Cecil Beaton

For the next 20 years, Loelia became the grand dame of entertaining. She would even become correspondent at the wedding of Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco because of her personal ties. Over 20 years from her last marriage, she would find love one more time with by marrying Sir Martin Lindsay a decorated WWII hero and member of Parliament. She would outlive her husband by over a decade. In the latter end of her life, Loelia would write to important memoirs that would become great records of her life and life of aristocracy in England during the two world wars. She was also a longtime friend of song master Noel Coward. 

While she was certainly one of the best party throwers during the Bright Young People period, she was also one of the most naive one’s in the bunch. Loelia attributed her naive years to her upbringing and privileged life. She also attributes her awakening to reality to her “vile marriage” to the Duke of Westminster. Towards the end of her life, she was asked about her years as a Bright Young Thing and her life as a whole. She expressed her astonishment of how free she was when she was young and expressed she wish all of the young could live free and wild at some point. In the end she lived life at all social statures. After her divorce with the Duke of Westminster, she went from owning half of London to being left with nothing but she brought herself back thanks to all the friends she had made and the love they showered over her. Many of the Bright Young People were always by her side through out her life.