“One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress”
- Karl Lagerfeld
It has been nearly 100 years since the Little Black Dress came to be a part of women’s wardrobe. Since 1920th the “LPD” has been a “rule of fashion”: an elegant black dress can be used on any occasions, only accessories can change the sense of the dress. Therefore the Black Dress became an essential peace of any woman, who wants to be elegant, stylish, voguish, and sophisticated.
The Little Black Dress has exerted great influence on the fashion life, fashion history, and fashion houses. However, at the same time the “LPD” has been shaped by some historical events such as Great Depression and World War II. For example, Great Depression made the Little Black Dress more elegant with the line lengthened. During World War II the Black Dress was a sort of uniform for working women.
It is very interesting to look through all decades and see how the Little Black Dress was changing.
Pre – 1920s
Up to the end of 19th century a black dress had been considered as a widow’s mourning dress until artist John Singer Sargent painted “Portrait of Madame X”. From that moment a black dress became a symbol of sexiness.
In 1926 American Vogue published a picture of a small, elegant dress that was designed by Coco Chanel. The dress was calf-length, straight and decorated only by a few diagonal lines. Vogue called the little black dress “Chanel’s Ford”, indicating simplicity and accessibility for women of all social classes. The Little Black Dress became the sign of liberation and freedom from old uncomfortable pieces, for example, the corset.
Nettie Rosenstein and Elsa Schiaparelli began to design a little black dress. Therefore more and more women used the Little Black Dress for simple evening occasions. However the silhouette of the dress became more natural, more with feminine flowing curves.
During the war the Little Black Dress did not only lose its popularity, but also became a usual peace of clothes primary for working women.
In the post-war area Dior’s “New Look” collection became very popular. Thanks to this collection, the Little Black Dress was considered as a symbol of the dangerous woman. Consequently Hollywood celebrities were portrayed more and more often in a black dress.
This decade is dedicated to two types of style: the young generation preferred a “mini-skirt” style, while the older generation aspired to a black dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”(1961). The dress was design by Hubert de Givenchy and became the most iconic LBD of the 60s.
Era of 70s was the era of rock and punk music. Undoubtedly it influenced the black dress’s style. The dress was ripped, cut and safety pinned and created with unusual fabrics. Meanwhile Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was wearing the classic Little Black Dress without any big changes on many official events.
During 80s the Little Black Dress got some transformations: broad shoulders or peplums.
The Little Black Dress turned again to its simplicity. However, despite the simplicity, the LBD was contrasted with masculine accessories, as combat boots. For example, singers from “Spice Girls” tended to wear such outfits on their performances.
Today there is a great choice of any types of LBD. It might be a babydoll dress or maxi-dress or tight pencil dress. As long as you feel comfortable in your dress and the dress matches you, you are elegant, stylish, voguish, and sophisticated.
We are keeping you posted!