For decades The Little Black Dress is regarded as the must have wardrobe item for every woman. It’s versatility and sophisticated elegance is the reason behind the most praised and long-standing dress in fashion history.
Throughout it’s longevity there have been key-developments that have shaped each decade and made the LBD what it is today.
Prior to the 1920’s, wearing black was a symbol of mourning and was considered highly inappropriate to wear in normal, day to day life. The severe outbreak of the Spanish flu during WW1 brought intense mourning and therefore wearing black was seen almost everywhere. Financial stress and uncertainty brought about more simpler and economical fashions.
In 1926 the first ‘little black dress’ was designed by Coco Chanel. Vogue became the first magazine to publish a drawing of the little black dress and was referred to as ‘Ford’ predicting that it will be a timeless uniform for women of all ages and social class in years to come. Coco’s innovation was time-saving and brought total liberation from the confines of the corset.
“A little black dress allows the wearer to accentuate her physical gifts,” – Vogue Editor-at-Large Andre Leon Talley.
The era of jazz welcomed the ‘little black flapper dress’ with it’s crowd pleasing loose-fitted beaded design. It also symbolised fun and rebelliousness. A long time coming after the great depression.
During the War women were conscious of expenditure and found the Little Black Dress easy to manage and accessorised it to suit the different occasions.
The glamour of Hollywood caught the worlds attention and evoked a more cutting-edge and seductive version of the usually conservative LBD. The full-skirted look introduced by Dior in his ‘New Look Collection ‘ was a popular trend and was seen as a sign of hope and flourish from the dreary war times.
The metamorphosis of the Little Black Dress during the 60’s categorised itself into two generations of styles. The younger generation preferred shorter hemlines with slits coming up from the sides and the older stuck to the more conservative style of dress.
The 60’s gained inspiration from the 20’s slimline flapper approach.
The most iconic Little Black Dress of the 60’s unquestionably is Audrey Hepburn’s ‘Breakfast At Tiffany’s’.
The LBD has gone to a whole new level during the 70’s wherein fashion was a powerful instrument of self-expression. The 70’s saw the most variations of the LBD. The era took on a more creative approach with an abundance of embellishments, sheer fabrics, lace and total transformation.
The 80’s introduced a more structured version of the Little Black Dress by incorporating padded shoulders and embellishments; perfect for the disco era.
The grunge culture took a break from the elaborate styles of the 80’s and reintroduced simplicity. The LBD was shorter, tight-fitted and worn with casual footwear such as sandals and boots.
The mid noughties celebrated the forever trusted LBD in style. Babydoll necklines and bandeau were the most popular of LBD versions.
Today form-fitting and mesh detail LBD’s are most prominent. There is definitely an 80s vibe evident through the use of sheer fabrics and body-sculpting qualities.
Images: pinterest.com,ana-lee.livejournal.com,simplystylebyaldo.blogspot.com, daphnebenosa.com, 1stclassfashion.com, realsimple.com & fashionbombdaily.com.