The „Little Black Dress“ (LBD) is a fashion joker for every woman, a classy piece suitable for every occasion, which always dresses you elegantly and stylish. We look back to the origin and the development of this timeless fashion item…
Hour of Birth
In 1926, Vogue published a photo of a short black dress from Coco Chanel – a classic of the 20th century was born. The designer herself referred to it as a sort of “uniform” for women of taste. She was proven right when Christian Dior shortly afterwards wrote: “a little black dress is an essential element in every woman’s wardrobe.” The British press called Chanel’s design “the little black dress” and gave the legendary garment its famous name.
Black was reserved for married women and widows until the twenties. The choice of this colour therefore implied sexual experience – this very “naughty” association still dominated until the early sixties. The LBD was not only revolutionary in colour – Chanel’s dress only hit below the knees. This length was almost scandalous to the society. The comfortable antidote to the constrained ladies’ fashion of that time is viewed to this day as an important contribution to the female emancipation. Fashion for women became practical for the first time.
Breakfast at Tiffany‘s
In 1961 the LBD achieved a cult status with Audrey Hepburn alias Holly Golightly in the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. The legendary black shift dress the protagonist wears in the movie by day and in the evening went under the hammer for more than 600.000 euros ssat Christie’s in 2006 – the highest price that has ever been paid for a film dress.
Not only Audrey Hepburn, but also well-known personalities such as Edith Piaf, Marlene Dietrich and Romy Schneider mystified the red carpet, and the world, with their beauty and elegance in their LBDs. During the seventies, the classic piece lost popularity for a short time. Nor the simple cut neither the neutral colour could push through the colourful flower power generation. But already in the early 80s the LBD came back to the catwalks and it’s no longer possible to imagine a wardrobe without it.
Throughout its history, the LBD has experienced many transformations. Depending on the season, designer and era, it is cut closely to the body or loosely, with or without sleeves, fitted at the waisted or with a straight cut. For fall 2012, Elena Miro impresses with an elegant lace hem, Anna Scholz adds a low-cut back or peplum to her LBDs, Manon Baptiste relies on a figure-fitting cut and Roberto Cavalli White focuses on the waist. They all have the classy-elegant fit and the length in common, which hits shortly below or above the knees. The main criterion is, as the name implies, the neutral and timeless colour black.
There is the perfect LBD for every woman, regardless of colour, age, size or shape. Chastity Garner, author of the book „The Curvy Girl’s Guide to Style“ranks this fashion piece among her 10 essentials for her wardrobe. She advices curvy women to pick a dress, which accentuates the most gorgeous parts of the body: “If you have great legs, then your LBD may be a little shorter than the standard knee-length hem. If your waist is small, then your LBD could be cinched at the waist. If you have great shoulders and a long neck then your LBD can be strapless. Whatever your favorite feature, your LBD should show it off”.
For almost a century, this model has been a main player in the world of fashion and to this day remains as charming as ever. It has reached an almost historical age in terms of fashion for many reasons: it’s sexy, absolutely timeless, easy to accessorize and always looks stylishly elegant. Wear it with a blazer for the office or add pearls and high heels for a cocktail party. Like an empty canvas it offers all possibilities – now it’s up to the accessories whether the classic piece is took to lunch or an to opera premiere.
Discover all of our little black dresses here.