We all refer to the classic little black dress all the time. But do we really know how and why did it become so iconic? Style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss and Lady Diana have always been popular for their great taste in dresses, more specifically their love for the little black dress. The dress was first popularized in the 1920s by the Vogue magazine. The design was simple and by none other than Coco Chanel. The dress was designed to be worn by any woman of any class. It was meant to unite women for having a great taste in fashion.
The colour black, the main component of the dress, has quite some significance of its own. Psychologically, it induces responses that are contradictory at the same time. In other words, it is serious and seductive, chic and discreet at the same time. At one point black was a colour reserved for the members of clergy and the grief stricken. It was when the Flemish painter, a patron of the arts started to wear black robes to set himself apart from his courtiers who always wore different colours. This was back in the 14th Century. It was this incident that helped change people’s perspective towards black. It was now the colour for distinction.
Since then, the journey of the colour has been back and forth the same vision, until the World War 1. After the war, it became a staple across Europe and America. More women stepped out to work and darker shades only seemed practical. Same was the case with the shorter hemlines of the dresses. It was the perfect choice even from a financial point of view. A little black dress required lesser fabric and hence, was cheaper.
After the war, the financial conditions were obviously bad. Chanel made the dress to make tasteful fashion that was accessible to all. The instance of the dress was again seen through Dior in 1950s, Givenchy in 1960s, Vivienne Westwood in 1970s, Azzedine Alia in 1980s and Yohji Yamamoto in 1990s. It was this continuous chain of relatable designs that eventually led to its cynicism.
It is safe to say that the movement or the rise of the LBD was purely out of practicality and functionality, and our designers were creative enough to make it look fashionable. Till date, the dress remains a “wardrobe staple” in all of its literal sense as well as the most effortlessly stylish option for anyone and any occasion.