07/01/2009 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

My Great-Grandmother's Flapper Fashion: A Celebration In Pictures

My great-grandmother Idina Sackville was known as The Bolter because, in 1918, she left her young, handsome and extremely rich husband to run off (bolt) to Africa with a near penniless man. (I written her story in my book The Bolter which will be published by Knopf on June 2nd.) She divorced a total of five times when few people divorced at all and was one of the most scandalous figures of the 1920's and 1930's, very much excluded from polite society.

Nonetheless, she managed to be a style icon. She was a muse for Molyneux, one of the great designers of the day and the clothes she bought each season were reported in newspapers across the world. It was said that she "lit up a room when she entered it."

One of the most remarkable aspects of her style was that she managed to look immaculate even out in the African bush. As her friend the travel writer Rosita Forbes said about a trip in to the Congo jungle with her, Idina emerged from her tent "looking as if she had just stepped out of tissue-paper."

See some examples of this below.


The Bolter is published by Knopf on June 2nd.