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Essential item: the little black dress


There are little black dresses to be had for €20, but some sell for 10 times that amount. However much you pay for your LBD, it’s a real lifesaver when you haven’t got a clue what to wear. A clothing item that offers the perfect solution for so many occasions is worthy of a tribute

Gallery

The time is the 1920s. A young woman named Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel really knows her way around a needle and thread. The stunning results include a simple black dress designed in 1926. Until then, black had been worn only by people in mourning, but Coco Chanel challenged that custom with her design: a black sleeveless dress cut just above the knee, simple yet elegant. The dress was featured in American Vogue, accompanied by a prediction that the little black dress would become a type of uniform for all women with good taste, regardless of social class. Vogue was right: it was precisely because it was suitable for all layers of society that the little black dress became such a fashion staple.

Through the years
The 1960s saw the heyday of the LBD, the ultimate embodiment being Audrey Hepburn’s outfit in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The Givenchy dress that Hepburn wore in the film, combined with pearls and oversized sunglasses, turned the little black dress into a popular fashion item. Following that peak, the black dress languished in the shadows for the next few decades. In the 1980s fashion was all about colour, lots and lots of colour, and it was a few years before the turn of the century that the LBD once again appeared on the street scene, worn by Hollywood stars donning designs by Yves Saint Laurent, Oscar de la Renta and Valentino.

Essential item
Nowadays, the LBD is an essential item in every fashion lover’s wardrobe. The little black dress is receiving plenty of attention these days as celebrities are turning to the icons of yesteryear for inspiration. And with good reason, as the LBD is timeless. You can combine the dress with eye-catching accessories for a party, or keep your outfit simple by pairing it with nothing more than a quality bag.

Variations
Countless variations on the first black Chanel dress have been made over the past 85 years: from knee-length to just below the hips, body-hugging or oversized, lavished with eye-catching details or pure and simple. The message conveyed by the dress, however, has remained the same: its wearer is effortlessly elegant.

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