From the New York Times:
In Edith Wharton's circle, a lady who worked as a dressmaker was no lady. When Lily Bart, the ill-starred adventuress of "The House of Mirth," was finally reduced to working as a milliner, her exile from society was all but complete. That, of course, was before Mlle. Chanel changed the meaning of the term "designing woman" and established that black and white works better as a design statement than as a way of judging others.