A famous clothing item that features many women’ wardrobe, the little black was created by the legendary Coco Chanel back in the 1920s. Usually short and with simple lines, the little black dress is an essential piece and the ultimate refuge for each of those situations when you don’t know what to put on. Classic, chic and timeless, it is the appropriate outfit for social gatherings, formal and informal, but also a symbol for the twentieth century fashion.
A clothing item reserved to mourning periods until then, the little black was made famous by to iconic women – Coco Chanel and Audrey Hepburn. Coco Chanel published a picture of it in Vogue magazine in 1926. It was very simple, had long sleeves and stopped at knees level. The media called it Chanel’s Ford because of its simplicity and affordability.
It was, however, scandalous for those times, both because its length and of its color, which was, at that moment, seen only on widows and servants. However, the French designer’s vision proved to be right as the black dress became over the years a symbol of elegance and refinement. It can be worn by all types of silhouette and it never goes out of fashion.
Other designers among which Nettie Rosenstein claimed without success the patent of the little black dress, but all they actually did was increase its popularity. Chanel’s rival, Elsa Schiaparelli renowned for her shocking cuts and pink shades, also created her version of black dress. Forty years after its first public appearance, the same piece of clothing is stapled for eternity in the books of fashion, when it is worn by Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”.
The little black dress today
Nowadays, the search for the perfect little black dress could be similar to that of the charming prince and only few women can claim to have found the perfect version. Sometimes made of lace and very transparent, sometimes adorned by glittering stones or rock accessories, the little black dress remains in the top of women’s preferences for ever.
We see it featuring the runways year after year, season after season. An item that marked fashion history forever, the little black dress features the designers’ collections and proves its ability to get reinvented, gaining surprising forms each time.
The latest Fashion Week series, introducing the new trends for spring summer of 2015 shows us, once again, the power of the little black dress. If for Valentino it should have a classical form, close to the way Coco Chanel designed it and with a generous V neckline, Giambattista Valli sees it closing up and covered by a white bolero. For Alexander McQueen, it is transparent and features many cut outs, in tone with the gladiator sandals the British fashion designer has in common with his Italian counterpart, Valentino.
The Lebanese designer Elie Saab’s sea inspired collection for spring summer of 2015 collection included, besides water prints, fish motifs and deep green colors, a few very elegant black dresses. One of them was even the piece de résistance that Elie Saab kept for the grand finale.
Louis Vuitton's collection included some black dresses as well. They are shaped like a tunic and come either in transparent lace or in metallic shine.
The Dutch designer, Iris Van Herpen winner this year’s ANDAM prize had a conceptual and provocative collection through which she explored the new techniques of 3D printing and their capabilities in the field of fashion. We saw a lot of suits and dresses in dark colors, intricately woven metallic forms, and other 3D volume associated with fluid silks. The extravagant forms have made a comeback for the finale. Apparently inspired by the idea of the magnetic field, they arrived on the podium in the form of transparent sea sponges, while the most sensational dresses appeared to have been created purely from ice.
Saint Laurent's entire collection for spring summer of 2015 is an immersion into fashion history; hence, the number of black dresses and the various forms this fashion item takes.