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The Little
Black Dress

   
 

Magie Noire!

   

 

  

 

The little black dress--so perfectly simple and so very perfect.  It reflects the mood of the times--the answer to the new minimal wardrobe and the old staple one returns to in a time when spending on fashion is going to be limited.  It has the ability to make a woman feel quite beautiful and complete--a dress, an idea, with seemingly magic properties.  Slip it on for a casual dinner on the Lower East side or accessorize it with pearls and light up an uptown party.  Givenchy created an unforgettable version for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.  The movie, the dress, and the actress are indistinguishable from each other.  The little black dress is the movie! 

Coco Chanel came up with the original idea of the LBD-- and somehow the overuse of the chic little acronym never quite tarnishes the original brilliance of her vision.  In keeping with her philosophy of accessibility and equality, Chanel meant her little black dress to be easily wearable and affordable.  The power of her idea: the dress as neutral, spare, and transcending all the old barriers. The magic lies in the color black--strong and dramatic, the absence of color itself.  The perfect neutral so that cut and line are emphasized, and in turn, the woman.  Chanel's innovations modernized fashion at the time women were beginning to enter the workplace.  Among other innovations, she replaced the traditional corseted silhouette with the comfort of simple suits and long, clean lines and voilà--it seemed like women could now conquer the world! 

A sketch of the original Chanel little black dress was featured in a 1926 issue of Vogue. Of crèpe-de-chine, with a simple cut and fitted sleeves and falling a little below the knee, it was instantly compared to the Ford Model T.  A workhorse for the wardrobe. 

And so it endures-interpreted and reinterpreted.  And custom cannot stale . . . . 

 

       
 

Read: The Little Black Dress, Didier Ludot

Buy: Variations on the LBD at J.Crew

Buy: The original LBD

 

Tags:  fashion  chanel  design    

 

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