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Photographic Portraits by Lafayette from the Collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Motoring and its effect on fashions

Silver baboon coat

Advertisements and fashion articles in the early issues of The Car Illustrated show that the fashion and accessories industry was eagerly following the new life-style afforded by the motor car. There was a need for new fashions, as the early motor cars were not covered and ladies were exposed to the harsh elements. The silver baboon coat seen to the left could be “worn almost every day of the year in chilly England.”

New and specific motoring hats for ladies were the objects of much effort, as ladies’ faces would be exposed to the elements such as wind and dust. The hat including “motoring veil” (as seen in the Thomas & Sons advertisement) was stated by one advertiser to enable the wearer to return fresh and smart from a drive, "instead of showing dishevelled hair, a red nose adorned with smuts, discoloured cheeks and watery eyes." .

Nicoll advertisement


In the image below, the milliner, Miss Hughes, exploits a photo-opportunity with the famous driver, Mr Montagu Grahame-White to show off “the best bonnet which can be put before the public” which, with its removable hood underneath, succeeded in keeping “the back of the head free from dust.”

Montagu Grahame-Whuite with Miss Huges the milliner

Photographs by Lafayette for The Car Illustrated, 8 August 1902.

All texts copyright Barbara Borkowy and Russell Harris 2007