Wednesday, October 24, 2007
The History of the Little Black Dress
Every woman looks great wearing it, and every woman has her own. It is the default date ensemble when it is one of those “I have nothing to wear” days. In fact, it is so popular, so necessary, and so much an institution in women’s fashion that we had to ask: “Where did the ‘little black dress’ come from?”
To properly understand the fashion environment necessary to produce such a simplistically fabulous necessity for any wardrobe, we must visit the 1920’s. As women shed their long, layered dresses, cut their hair and enjoyed the fast-paced party life, society slowly became more accepting of women baring slightly more of her shoulders, back, and legs. The coveted silhouette of the era was generally very slender and youthful.
It was during the 20's that the legendary fashion designer Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel first stitched her name into the history of women’s clothing design. In fact, Chanel’s designs are often considered to be the epitome of the 20’s style because her work was so fresh, modern, and updated.
Chanel encouraged and inspired the style we typically envision when we think of flappers. She was fond of working with neutral colors and soft easy-to-wear jersey fabrics that were simple in shape and cut. Chanel was able to infuse comfort and sophistication into fashion, and this combination was considered revolutionary. It was during her early work, that Chanel designed and introduced the first little black dress to the world.
First introduced in 1926, black was previously considered to be a color reserved for funerals and periods of mourning. Truly simple and sexy, Chanel’s design was a sleeveless sheath cut just above the knee. She could have never predicted the immediate and lasting love women would have with her simple, chic black dress.
As Chanel was quoted, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.” Whether a woman’s little black dress cost $50 or $2,000 her intention is the same: to look effortlessly classic and appropriately sexy in just seconds. While most of us cannot afford to buy Chanel’s breathtakingly beautiful pieces, we can certainly wear our trusty black dresses with the modern, sophisticated attitude she possessed.