Fashion Lesson #17 The 411 On The LBD

  sex and the city 1   emmanuelle_chriqui

Last week I was asked to write a piece about the Little Black Dress.  A staple in any woman’s closet, The Little Black Dress has an interesting history involving icons, war, “Sex” and even safety pins.  The Little Black Dress first originated in 1926 with Coco Chanel.  The first archetype was silk, calf-length, straight, and decorated only by a few diagonal pin-tucks as decoration.  American Vogue dubbed it the Chanel “Model T”, because like the original automobile, it was simple and accessible for woman in various social classes. Vogue further predicted that the LBD would become “a sort of uniform for all women of taste.”

200px-Breakfast_at_TiffanysInterestingly, prior to the 1920’s the color black was only for women in mourning.  However, due to the number of fatalities in WWI, in addition to the overwhelming fatalities during the Spanish flu epidemic, it became more common for women to appear in public wearing black.

With help from Hollywood, (black was the color of choice for film making during this period as the color would not be distorted on the infant technicolor film), the LBD grew in popularity.  Further more, during World War II, when women began entering the workforce, and a widespread rationing of textiles existed, the Little Black Dress became the uniform of choice for the new legion of civilian working women (with accessories of course).tatiana1

In 1961, Hubert de Givenchy inspired women with his sexy black sheath dress worn by actress Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s“.  Then after a decade of sparkle and sequins in the 1970’s disco era, the LBD experienced a resurgence in popularity during the 1980’s.  Remember Tatiana Thumbtzen in Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” video?  I wanted nothing more as a teenager than to look like that in the fashionable tube dress.

b5c6c2f012048903337307In the 1990’s where grunge and heroine chic ruled, Elizabeth Hurley’s famous safety pin Versace gown dazzled us while she escorted then boyfriend Hugh Grant.  Closing out that decade, the gals from Sex And the City personified the LBD and how woman wore them.

After a fall from grace with certain designers at the start of the millennium, the color black ruled the runway for Fall 2008.  Be it the bleak economic out look, or a newfound appreciation for the Little Black Dress, they’re here to stay.

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Per Nothing Fancy’s request, I have some LBD’s for your consideration. 

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Source: Wikipedia; The Little Black Dress by Jenna Wallis; click on images for photo sources

Related Articles: Vintage Textile; Black Magic;

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Filed under Fashion, Fashion Lesson, Fashion Sensei, retail, runway, Style, Trends, Uncategorized, YouTube

10 responses to “Fashion Lesson #17 The 411 On The LBD

  1. What a great article! I have a personal affinity towards the Badgley Mischka painted floral dress at the end. Do you have a fave?


  2. Thanks Calliope 😀 I think the Badgley Mischka dress would be my favorite too. It has a sort of timelessness to it. I love the structure in the bodice for the girls and the flowing skirt looks so comfortable and easy.

  3. veggiemamma

    Interesting and fun read 🙂
    I like the One Shoulder Dress…I’ll keep it in mind, I have a reunion coming soon.

  4. What an interesting article! I love the Badgley Mischka – How fun! Also like the Maggie London – great flow with both of these skirts! Thanks for the good read, Sensei and the fun pictures!

  5. Sensei – I just tagged you for a meme. See my June 16th post. Hope you don’t mind playing!

  6. I love the short-sleeved one on the girl carrying the purse. So cute. And that would flatter any figure.

  7. Black never goes out of style. It’s classic, timeless, and hides most of the … “body additions”.. that we want to be hidden.

  8. Sensei – I was thinking of ordering a Maggie London. Do you know if the dresses run true to size?

  9. Hi Nothing Fancy, according to Maggy London dresses generally come true to size. Check out this link to see if the dress you are looking to purchase has been reviewed.

    I hope that helps!

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