In 1926, Coco Chanel introduced what is considered to be the first little black dress to the runway. She had no idea what a hit her creation would prove to be, as every woman seemed to leap onto the idea and clutch it with both hands. Chanel’s legendary little black dressed was dubbed the “Ford”. It was a dress that was suddenly everywhere at once, available to everyone – but only in black.
Chanel’s LBD was a sleeveless tailored sheath dress, cut just above the knee. Prior to her introduction of black as a fashion colour, black was typically seen as a sign of mourning to be worn at funerals. Chanel wanted to subvert that, and so she did. The little black dress became her signature garment, and the elegant, youthful silhouette it created was quickly coveted by women worldwide.
Chanel was not the first to conceive of the power of the little black dress, however. Tolstoy’s eponymous heroine, Anna Karenina, wore a black ball gown in the backdrop of 19th century Europe, causing quite a stir. In Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence, a black satin dress was worn by Ellen Olenska to her coming out ball. Compared to all the other girls in drab pastel shades, it is the girl in the black dress who captures the imagination and attention of the room.
The 1920s was the perfect time for the LBD to arise. Women were gaining independence, shedding long, layered dresses, cutting their hair and baring some skin. Women needed something beautiful and functional, elegant but practical. As Chanel herself said: “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”
There have been many iconic LBDs over the years. One of the images most imprinted in our cultural mind is that of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, wearing a stunning LBD by Givenchy. Lady Diana Spencer wore a low cut black gown when she first appeared in public following her split from Prince Charles, and when she danced with John Travolta at the Whitehouse. Very recently, in the marketing for both the first and second film adaptations of Sex and the City, Carrie and the girls have been pictured wearing very individual little black dresses. It just goes to show how lasting a trend this is. For more little black dresses visit the online fashion store Very uk. You will definitely be inspired!
Why is the little black dress so popular? It is everything a girl could ever want. It can be worn anywhere, with anything. The LBD says to the world, I am elegant, stylish, and just a little bit mysterious. As said by Christian Dior: “A little black dress is an essential element of a woman’s wardrobe.”