The little black dress, also know as LBD, has been there since the 1920s. It is a juxtaposition between a woman that is both daring as well as modest, reserved and shy because a woman can be anything she wants to be. The little black dress has consistently been a symbol of elegance and chic and is a fashion icon recognized across the whole world. It is also form shifting in that it has been interpreted and styled in a myriad of ways. Style icons such as Audrey Hepburn, Maria callas, Edith Piaf among others have rocked versions of the Little Black dress in their different times and to date, we can still take pride in this fashion statement.
In 1944, it was reported in Vogue that 10 out of ten women had a little black dress. It was a time when fashion magazines of the time featured this seemingly groundbreaking phenomenon. Chriatian Dior’s New look collection of 1948 called for hems and necklines to drop and skirts even fuller. In 1954, Dior added that the LBD can be worn to any occasion, at any age and that it is an essential in every woman’s wardrobe.
The versatility of the Little Black dress has made sure it remains immortal. In the 1950s, it was a symbol of creativity and rebellion. It would be paired with black tights and black eyeliner. This was a staple for the beatnik generation.
In the 1960s when one of its masters, Balenciaga, retired, things changed up a little. People started to embrace more colour and fun to bring out youthfulness. This was a shift from the elegance and sophistication of black and the LBD.
A decade later in the 1970s through to the 1980s, the LBD was reborn and taken up by other designers and photographers across the world.
This is the 21st century and the little black dress has remained a mainstay in the fashion and clothing industry. The LBD has become a lens through which the evolution of fashion since the 1920s has changed.
The little black dress was the ideal mix of elements. It was easy, versatile, and practical; it was also chic, elegant, and sophisticated. Capable of embodying many meanings, the little black dress’s chameleon-like quality enabled it to evolve with the trends, but never to be beholden to them.