Lillie langtry

Was the flapper style of the 1920s so liberating?

I had held Beauty’s sceptre, and had seen men slaves beneath it. I knew the isolation, the penalty of this greatness. Yet I owned it was an empire for which it might be well worth paying. —Olivia Shakespear, Beauty’s Hour (1896) All the Rage is a perfect title for a book about terrible beauty. The phrase means what’s fashionable at a particular time; but rage is a violent, sudden anger, stemming from the same Latin word that gives us rabies – mad, passionate, dangerous. Beauty, and its attainment, preservation and curse, are all things Virginia Nicholson chronicles and analyses in this compelling history spanning a century and focusing on its

A ghost at the feast: The LaLee at the Cadogan hotel, reviewed

The Cadogan hotel, Chelsea, is where Oscar Wilde was arrested for sodomy and gross indecency in 1895, in Room 118, which is now memorialised as the site of the arrest. Institutional homophobia is a weird thing to commemorate in fabrics, but everything is a tourist attraction these days. The hotel is a tall red late-Victorian castle incorporating neighbouring houses, one of which belonged to the actress and mistress of Edward VII, Lillie Langtry. It was, then, a hotel for betrayal on the corner of Pont Street. John Betjeman mentions this in his poem ‘The Arrest of Oscar Wilde at the Cadogan Hotel’, and offers disaster PR of a timeless kind: