LBD THROUGH HISTORY
An icon in its own right and a style essential in every woman's wardrobe, here we explore how the little black dress has evolved into the true fashion great that we’re all so familiar with...SHOP NOW
Artist John Singer Sargent painted the portrait ‘Madame X’ catapulting the black dress in to the fashion scene. The sex appeal surrounding the painting was controversial—previously black was only worn during times of mourning.
Coco Chanel designed the first little black dress to liberate women from the restrictions of the corset. It became known as the ‘Ford’ for its similarity with the (then must-have) car of the moment. Both car and dress were modern, timeless and liberating.
The little black dress was adorned with beading and sported by provocative flapper girls dancing the Charleston. The LBD became synonymous with jazz and wild partying during the prohibition era.
The little black dress in the 40s was seen as the perfect austerity dress. In a time of strict rationing, the little black dress was an easy to accessorise piece to wear anywhere and everywhere thanks to its simplicity and versatility.
Christian Dior upped the glamour of the little black dress in the fifties with the exaggerated full-skirted silhouette. This new, playful design was a welcomed symbol of optimism after the war years and a flattering cut that remains popular to this day.
Thanks to Audrey Hepburn wearing “that dress” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s alongside the pearls, the gloves and the sunglasses- the little black dress became a chic statement piece. Contrasting with the bright shift dresses popular of the swinging 60s it became an elegant and sleek alternative.
Influenced by the punk rock scene; the little black dress in the 70s was an expression of art and varied musical cultures. The little black dress diversified and its versatility was pushed to extremes. The look was embodied by safety pins, glossy PVC panels, studs, drapes of tartan and fishnet tights. The MET Ball’s ‘Chaos to Couture’ theme in 2013 famously paid homage to this rebellious trend.
The little black dress survived the 80s colourful glam rock and evolved with new voluptuous features such as integrated shoulder pads and peplums. The new romantic inspired lace black dress really had its moment, reinventing the LBD once again.
Like everything in the 90s, the little black dress got stripped back to basics and went minimalist. Popularised by the Spice Girls and supermodel Kate Moss, lengths became shorter and the dress embodied simplicity and sexiness in one.
The little black dress was still hugely popular with celebrities at high profile parties, this was the era of the bandeau little black dress and cut-out detail. Once again, the style was seen as a liberating, glamorous statement for women.
The little black dress of today commonly revisits decades gone by adding new twists on classic cuts, new trends including the 2-in-1 look, simple embellishment and midi lengths. What’s been constant over the last 100 years is that the little black dress always makes the wearer feel effortlessly cool and confident. From black tie dresses to black lace dresses, it’s a timeless classic and everyone has a favourite no matter what their style. A wardrobe saviour, instant feel good number and go-to dress whatever the occasion…little black dress, we salute you.