Edith Lillian Wightman

Female, (1903 - 1992)
FatherGeorge Frank Wightman (1868 - 1938)
MotherHannah Jane Mccracken (circa 1870 - 1920)
BirthEdith Lillian Wightman was born 1903 in Ballarat East, Victoria, Australia. 
INFO CIV REG INDEX Birth Australia . Edith Lilian Wightman, father: Geo Francis Wightman, mother: Hannah Jane Mccracken. Born Ballarat East, Victoria. Registered Victoria 1903:7777. (AusBirIndAnc.) 
MarriageShe married George McGeagh Collins Weir, son of William Weir, 1934. 
INFO PASSENGER LIST. SS. Niagara from Sydney N.S.W. 14 April 1938 to Vancouver B.C. 6 May 1938. Weir, Edith Lillian, 34, female, married, costumiere, can read & write English, Nationaliy Australia, race English, birth: Australia, Ballarat, documents T.V. 512 issued Melbourne 5 Apl 1938, Last permanent address Australia Melbourne. Relative: husband G. Weir, 74 Collins St. Melbourne, Australia; bound for United Kingdom via New York; has ticket paid by self; has $50; never before in U.S; United Kingdom, July 1938, Care Mr. R. Dunn, Kat????, away 2 mths, not polygamist, anarchist, etc., good health, 5'10" fair complexion, brown hair, hazel eyes.Written above line: ret'd via Vancouver. (BordCrossAnc.) 
INFO PROBATE NOTICE FOR FATHER'S WILL. The Argus (Melbourne) 28 Oct 1938. "After the expiration of fourteen days from the publication hereof application will be made to the Supreme Court of the State of Victoria in its Probate jurisdiction, that Probate of the will, dated the twenty-fourth day of August 1936 of George Frank Wightman, late of Fergie street, Fitsroy, and formerly of 66 Glenferrie road, Kew, in the said State, engineer, deceased, may be granted to the Ballarat Trustees, Executors, and Agency Company Limted of 101 Lydiard street south, Ballarat, in the said State and Thomas Richard Wightman of Kitcheneer street, Kew, in the said State draftsman, son of the said deceased, the executors appointed by the said will, leave being reserved to Coralie Eliza Wightman, of Illawarra road, Hawthorn, in the said State, the widow of the said deceased, and his daughters, Edith Lillian Weir (nee Wightman) of Gotham road, Kew, in the said State, married woman, and Margaret Frances Bradford (nee Wightman), of Red Cliffs in the said State, married woman, the executrices appointed by the said will, to come in and prove the same. Dated the twenty-eighth day of October,1938. Brent Robinson, 80 Swanston street, Melbourne, proctor for the applicants." (ArgusTro 28 Oct 1938, p.16.) 
INFO NEWSPAPER INTERVIEW. The Age [Melbourne, Victoria] 2 Nov 1972, p.14. "The Queen of the Rag Trade" -Nancy Dexter. "Fifty glorious years," says the queen of Melbourne fashion. This is Miss Lillian Wightman, couturier, speaking at Le Louvre, her leopard-pelt strewn lair at the top of Collins Street. . . . She has been in the rag trade for half a century -- but to match the Collins Street location, it is strictly the top end of the business. . . . [It is] 40 years since Miss Wightman moved into the little old building which was once home for a 19th century doctor. . . . Life in the couturier business began 10 years before Le Louvre. "I started in 1922, aged 15 with H.V. Thomas, the leading courturier for Melboourne in Howey Place," she says. He dressed the elite. . . . From them I discovered that there is no substitute for quality, in things or people. . . . I have dressed many actresses, many of the governors' ladies. . . ." (AgeMelbGoog.) 
INFO NEWSPAPER ARTICLE. The Sydney Morning Herald, 10 Aug1992, p.30. "Cutting Edge" by Susan Owens. "The Melbourne boutique Le Louvre, nestled at the top end of Collins Street, is a tiny temple of exclusivity - and history. Its founder, Lillian Wightman, now 90, threw open the doors in 1920, and from that time the boutique has been the source of the most exclusive clothes imported into Australia. Wightman, who still goes into the salon four days a week, has long since handed over the reins to her daughter . . .." (SMHNewsStore.) 
DeathEdith Lillian Wightman died 3 November 1992 in Victoria, Australia. 
INFO OBITUARY. The Age [Melbourne, Victoria] 11 Nov 1992, p.7. "The first lady of couture" by Jan Phyland. "Ms Wightman died on 3 November. It seems fitting that the 89-year-old died on Melbourne Cup day - a day considered by many to be one of Melbourne's most fashionable. For Ms Wightman was all about fashion. She had been described alternatively as the dowager empress of Collins Street, Melbourne's first lady of couture, even Luxury Lil. It has been said that she had dressed more society ladies and debutante daughters than any other couturier in Melbourne. Lil Wightman was born in Ballarat on 12 April 1903. She started her fashion career when she was just 19 (she had previously worked with one of the country's leading couturiers at the time, H.V. Thomas, who had a shop opposite Georges in Collins Street). Her father loaned her 400 with the advice 'sink or swim'. . . . After a thriving business in Howey Place, at 34, Ms Wightman bought what is today the home of Le Louvre. 'Buying 74 Collins Street wasn't a big step,' she once said. 'I didn't even think about it. It was an old doctor's home and I pulled a lot of the guts out of it. The lane is cobble-stoned, and the fitting room was the kitchen, it still has the hearth stone in it. Above it was the loft where they threw down the hay for the doctor's horse. It is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Melbourne made of handmade bricks.' . . . In the 11 years in Howey Place I had built up a business which had fantastic snob value, always has had. . . . You've got to aim high to rise. I wanted to go to the top end of Collins Street and own my own business. . . ." (AgeNewsStore.) 
INFO PROBATE INDEX. Public Record Office Victoria [Australia]. Edith Lillian Weir, occupation: director, residence Sth Yarra, death 3 Nov 1992, probate file 1070750. (PROVWillInd.) 
INFO AUSTRALIAN FASHION HISTORY. Book: Australian fashion unstitched: the last 60 years. 2010, edited by Bonnie English and Liliana Pomazan, includes references to the work of Lillian Wightman. A brief section (pp.25-26) appears in "Google Preview" on "Google Books." . . . "Dominating the exclusive end of Melbourne fashion was Le Louvre, which was founded by Lillian Wightman(1903-92) . . . Wightman had a vision of a Paris salon . . .. [She] created a meeting-place for wealthy society women that was original and flamboyant, with gold carpet and gilt mirrors, a valuable collection of furniture and animal skins on the sofa (Whitfield 2005a:117). Wightman believed that 'everything beautiful is made in Paris and everyone wants it' (Perkin 1986:26). . . . Wightman, like the owners and operators of many Australian department stores and dressmaking establishments- purchased toiles and models from representatives in Paris and had them copied in her workroom. During the 1950s, the heyday of Le Louvre, Wightman had thirty seamstresses, many of them immigrant Italians, working in Le Louvre's back room (Whitfield 2006a:117). . . . [Her] success during the 1950s is credited to Wightman's ability to deliver to her clients a modified couture version of the latest looks from Paris. Her own designs . . . also reflected her taste for flamboyance: her signature was an ocelot print which was made up for dresses, coats, handbags and scarves (Joel 1998:81)." (EngAusFasGoo pp.25-26.) 
INFO NEWSPAPER ARTICLE. The Age [Melbourne, Victoria] 26 Feb 2010, p.36. "A nice little frock shop" by Susannah Walker. This is a long article, primarily about Lillian Wightman's daughter and the Le Louvre shop in 2010, but some history about Lillian is included: " . . .[Lillian] Wightman grew up in Ballarat and had never been overseas when she opened her 'mecca of Parisian fashion' in her early 20s. One of four children whose mother had died young, her chance to escape the stepmother she loathed came when she was fitted for a bridesmaid's dress on her first trip to Melbourne and the couturier offered her a job. After learning design and dressmaking, she borrowed #100 from her father to open a shop in the city, dressing the wives and daughters of wealthy Western District farmers. When she was 21 she married George Weir, a successful Irish grazier, but flouted convention by keeping her own name, not wearing a wedding ring, and refusing to join her husband in the country. In the mid-1930s, after noting the number of doctors' rooms in upper Collins Street, she moved her business to the small terrace house at number 74 and built up a clientel among the doctors' wives and society women who belonged to the narby Alexandra Club. . . ." (AgeNewsStore.)