Icons of woman's closet / THE LITTLE BLACK DRESS


I adore black colour. Somebody could argue that this colour describes a huge depression and looks boring. I think the opposite - if you wear black, you can shine more than in any bold colour because you will look elegant, confident and sexy, as well. Black is also very practical by reason of ability to create many original outfits during a few minutes. To be concise, it is wearable with everything.  Imagine cute dress in this colour and many of your "what to wear for today's party, dinner, date, meeting" problems can be solved. There is no doubt that this is an essential fashion staple!

Do you think that the little black dress was first created by Hubert de Givenchy for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's ? If so, you are not right, because the LBD is a little older than that. Read more and find some interesting facts about this versatile fashion piece!

As I have already mentioned, black holds such as significance. It is a fashion uniform for one very good reason - you can not go wrong with black! Furthermore, fashion historian, Anne Hollander thinks the symbolism of black could be used with creative perversity for emotional effect

fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana

Back in time, if lady wore a black dress, it signified mourning, and it would never have been chosen as a fashion colour. Pale colours were more difficult to clean, and therefore were associated with status and wealth. Black was the opposite, and black dresses were worn by women in service. No rich woman wanted to dress like her maid!

The Family Van Loon, painted by Adriaan de Lelie, 18th century

Maid by George Goodwin Kilburne

The fallen soldiers of World War I left behind them vast armies of mourning widows, mothers and sisters. Society became very used to seeing women of all classes clad in black outside the house, getting dirty in the newly industrial world, because darker shades were more practical. Likewise, the size of woman's dresses shrank due to financial restraints (for instance, a typical dress of the 1920s required only two meters of fabric as opposed to the ten or more meters in the past).
Then Coco Chanel came and made big fashion revolution. To great fanfare, American Vogue first featured her sleek black dress in 1926. With its short skirt, long sleeves, and diagonal detailing it looked new, streamlined, and modern-perfect for the 1920s forward-thinking woman. Once again Chanel had neatly taken the class values out of clothing. The little black dress could make any woman look elegant, and without great expense. 

Coco Chanel and her design for Vouge, 1926
Over the following decades, black became an everyday part of women's wardrobes both for reasons of practicality, especially the rationing in many countries during the WWII, and for its growing reputation as the colour of sexiness - see Rita Hayworth in Gilda (1946)

Christian Dior once said : " You can wear black at any hour of the day or night, at any age and for any occasion. A little black dress is the most essential thing in any woman's wardrobe."
But the LBD was not to have its greatest, most defining moment until 1961, when Audrey Hepburn wore the style as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Only then did the little black dress undergo a transformation from wardrobe novelty to universal staple. It was designed by long-time Hepburn collaborator Hubert de Givenchy and made huge success.

Christian Dior
Christian Dior, 1952

Yves Saint Laurent for Dior, 1959

Audrey Hepburn at Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961

Audrey Hepburn at Breakfast at Tiffany's, 1961

Marlene Dietrich in Dior, 1950

Sophia Loren in Dior

Sophia Loren in Dior, 1957

Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn

In the time, the LBD came to be a term applied to almost any black dress, the graphic directness and blank canvas of the shade, whether in silk, spandex or leather, proving more important than any particular cut. This was something that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis recognized, seeing the dress as a means of expressing her love of accessories, notably her signature pillbox hat and outsize sunglasses. Speaking about the Versace's prototype of the LBD, it was in very low cut, split down the side of the torso and fastened by giant gold safety pins - and Elizabeth Hurley wore it, with huge sex-appeal, to attend a movie premiere in 1994.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis

Princess Diana and her "revenge dress"

Elizabeth Hurley in Versace, 1994

Sophia Amoruso



Chiara Ferragni

And which woman today does not have a black dress in her wardrobe?

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