Fabulous Fashion: The LBD

“Scheherazade is easy; a little black dress is difficult.”

~Coco Chanel

Some years ago, my sister and I were talking about the LBD and our younger brother overheard.

“What is an LBD?” he asks.
“It is the Little Black Dress!”  I reply.
“Do you have one?”
“NO! It takes a lifetime to find!”
“That is such a Lolo thing to say…”

Now this may seem a bit dramatic but I really do feel that the perfect Little Black Dress does take quite awhile to find. Yesterday, after years of searching, I found mine.

The Little Black Dress dates back to the roaring 20’s and Coco Chanel. It is a simply cut cocktail or evening dress that will never go out of style. If a dress is trendy, it does not qualify as a the LBD as it will eventually appear dated. The proper Little Black Dress will make you feel feminine and powerful, elegant and classy and I guarantee, when you find the right one, all eyes will be on you.

Before the 1920’s, a black dress was mostly worn in periods of mourning. In 1926, Coco Chanel created the first Little Black Dress and Vogue Magazine called it “the Ford of dresses” (like the Ford Model T) as it is universally appealing, widely available, and only offered in black. Vogue went on to say that the Little Black Dress would become “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.”

During the Great Depression, the LBD prevailed because of its economy. When World War II forced rations on textiles,  the Little Black Dress became the ensamble for women entering the workforce.

In the 1950’s the LBD became synonymous with femme fatales because in Hollywood, the black dresses the character would wear were of a great contrast to the conservative housewives of the time.

The “mod” era in the 1960’s created a shorter version of the dress. For the first time, slits and cutouts were introduced to the Little Black Dress. Also during this time, the iconically simple, ultimate Little Black Dress was created by Hubert de Givenchy and introduced on Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This dress was auctioned for a record high at Christie’s Auction House in London for £410,000 which is over $647,000 in today’s market.

The 70’s and 80’s introduced more casual fabrics to the Little Black Dress. Business wear designs were popping up as were fitness wear influences. The grunge era of the 1990’s showed women casually wearing sandals with their dresses.

The late 2000’s brought back the more conservative and muted palate dress which skyrocketed the popularity of the LBD. Now, formalwear is back in style and the Little Black Dress is as in demand as ever. Worn with a simple strand of pearls and diamond earrings or with no accessories at all, the Little Black Dress is arguably the most essential piece of a Lovely Lady’s wardrobe…. and hopefully it does not take you a lifetime to find.

Information for this post gathered from:
http://www.hellomagazine.com/celebrities/2006/12/06/audrey-hepburn-dress/ and
Edelman, Amy Holman (1998). The Little Black Dress. Aurum.
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