The black dress, little black dress or a little black dress (LBD for experts) is a mythical story of fashion clothing. And no wonder, because it represents the eternal essence of modernity. For this reason, for designers there has been a steady recovery, sometimes veiled, others more clearly. But always on the track … and in our closets: a classic that never grows old. Designed by Coco Chanel in the mid-’20s, the little black dress has created a school, both in its meaning and its style. Since its first appearance in Vogue in 1926 it has been imposed as a new uniform for women and became an unprecedented bestseller. Until then, women competed to turn heads and show their status. From that time women adopted this dress with simple lines whose simplicity was suitable from day to night. In addition, the little black dress also caused controversy. Maybe it was the color of masculine tailoring business, but in the world of women it had been relegated to mourning, and any other use was considered indecent in fashion for women farmers and workers. “Before me, nobody would have dared to dress in black,” proclaimed Chanel, defying the color of Paul Poiret, while imposing a vendetta of slim, chic black women in uniform. But what is that dress that has seduced thousands of women since then? Glamorous actresses like Audrey Hepburn or Marilyn Monroe had a lot to do with its’ popularity. Unforgettable is the LBD by Givenchy for Sabrina (1954) and Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961), or drawings by Orry Kelly for Some Like It Hot (1959), to name a few.
True: the figures of two actresses are two opposite poles, but the elegant Audrey’s dress suited her as well as the sexy Marilyn. Did not black Patricia Field dress Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda and Samantha in LBDs on the cover of the first season of Sex in New York?
This is one of the qualities of this garment: it adapts to the wearer. If you consider that today one of the main functions of fashion is to highlight the individuality … The LBD is also suitable for any occasion if you use different accessories, so you need to change frequently when you have a busy day, depending on the event or if dinner is included: just put in a clutch bag and heels.
Another point in its favor is its non-color. It was launched by Chanel at a time when women had access to the labor market. It then symbolized the beginning of gender equality, and still does today. Black is anything but frivolous. It denotes seriousness and redraws the figure. It is a non-distraction, as well as being discreet and never fails. And, of course, it always feels good, if it is interpreted as austere and sophisticated. And this is something that the creators have known since its inception and have been responsible for the numerous versions that have been produced without a break. Balenciaga always had one in their collections, a tribute to black Spanish, Prada, and had the courage to do a remake of monastic Chanel late to return to the knee-length of the 80s. Never was a dress so indispensable in the female wardrobe. Out of curiosity I went to mine and I counted 15. What peace!