“The EVOLUTION of THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS tells a story about the evolution of WOMEN”
Every fashionable woman has one. It has made it through the test of time and come out on top. Look in your closet, you should see it hanging there; a Little Black Dress (aka the LBD). The Little Black Dress is now an essential part of every woman’s wardrobe; but it wasn’t always. Before it was made famous by Designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, it was customary to only wear black in times of mourning. It was considered indecent to wear it otherwise. That is until the woman who created Chanel made it a staple in fashion. In 1926 Coco published a short simple black dress in American Vogue. It was calf-length, straight, and cut with a few diagonal lines. Vogue deemed it the “Chanel Ford”; like the Model T, The Little Black Dress was simple and available to women of all social classes. Vogue declared that the LBD would become “a uniform for all women of taste”.
“Women who wear black lead colorful lives.”
It quickly became incredibly popular and retained its popularity throughout the Great Depression. Film makers relied on little black dresses because other brighter colors were botched on screen and made the coloring process more difficult. During World War II, the LBD maintained its popularity in part due to the rationing of textiles and in part because it became a “uniform” for working women.
“One is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress”
The post war era of the 1950’s gave rise to Dior’s “New Look” and a movement of sexual conservatism. The Little Black dress became known as a look for dangerous women. Hollywood’s Femme Fatales were often seen in black hater style dresses as opposed to the more conservative housewife dresses.
“Women think of all the colors except the absence of color. I have said that black has it all. White too. Their beauty is absolute. It is the perfect harmony.”
The young stylish girl of the 1960’s preferred a shorter version of the dress and was properly catered to as designers continued to shorten the skirt; Hello miniskirt! They continued to experiment with the design, adding cutouts, slits, and sheer fabrics. Older more conservative women continued to favor classic sheaths, like the one worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Coco Chanel brought The Little Black dress into our lives and its ability to withstand time has kept it there. It’s beautiful simplicity has empowered women in a way like no other. It will forever be a classic.
“The No.13 Rule of a Lady
The little black dress is a classic for a reason”