The Little Black Dress. It’s a staple in any fashionista’s closet, and it often serves as one of the most versatile pieces. Though often seen as a fashion must-have today, this timeless necessity has quite the iconic history which is rooted in controversy and scandal.
It was the late 1800’s in Paris and an up and coming artist, John Singer Sargent, had found his muse- a beautiful socialite namedVirginie Amélie Avegno Gautreau (Madame X). In 1884, Sargent released his masterpiece, The Salon featuring Madame X. She was scandalously posed (shoulder strap down) wearing a BLACK dress of all things. His reputation was ruined, and he was forced to leave Paris and move to London. The controversy over the painting was not solely in the lack of perfect coverage, but it was the dress itself that did him in. During this time, black was for the middle to lower class and shopgirls. Women of society wouldn’t touch the color, and therefore reputations were destroyed over it. What a time.
Enter Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel. In the 1920’s, this fashion icon was revolutionizing the industry and the black dress was no exception. What used to be a symbol of mourning, this drabby black frock got some nips and tucks, embellishments, and a drop waist. Vogue called it the “Ford” of dresses, and thus the classic style was born.
During wartime in the 1940’s, fabrics were more difficult to come by, and they were increasingly expensive to dye. Because of this, basic colors, including black, were very popular. Though the shape of the LBD changed, donning a simplistic and boxy silhouette, it never went out of style. The more practical shapes lacked embellishments, but black dresses were still a popular choice for everyday wear and cocktail attire.
Post-war, in 1947, Christian Dior took up the gauntlet and created a new look for the LBD. The dress was given an iconic update which included a cinched waist and a flared, a-line skirt. This ballerina style dress is still very popular to this day. Another Iconic update occurred in 1961 When Givenchy designed a black dress for Audrey Hepburn inBreakfast at Tiffany’s. This is seen as one of the most iconic styles of the LBD in fashion history.
Fashion changed, and the LBD lost some popularity with the rise of bold colors and groovy prints in the 70’s and into the 80’s. It wasn’t until 1994 when the LBD would make a massive comeback. Princess Diana’s “revenge dress” was both iconic and scandalous. A modern reenactment of Madame X, a lady of status and royalty made a bold and controversial statement. It would be a moment history won’t soon forget, and it was all due to a little black dress.
Today, the LBD holds firm as a closet staple. It can easily be dressed up or down, and various styles are worn for various occasions.
For an evening out, pair your more elegant look with these
For a night with the girls, pair your hot look with these
For a more casual, day-to-day look, these are a favorite
No matter how you choose to wear it, the LBD will surely be a timeless fashion necessity.
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