A Short History of the Little Black Dress
Its silhouette has changed over the years, but the LBD remains supremely chic.
Perhaps more than any other piece of clothing, the little black dress is, women have been told, the essential, the one that will take you practically anywhere. And perhaps more than any other designer, Coco Chanel was the one who made it ubiquitous. She did not invent the concept, of course, but according to Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life (by Justine Picardine, $40, amazon.com), “the little black dress was not formally identified as the shape of the future until 1926, when American Vogue published a drawing of a Chanel design.… It was an apparently simple yet elegant sheath, in black crêpe de Chine, with long, narrow sleeves, worn with a string of white pearls; and Vogue proved to be correct in the prediction that it would become a uniform.…” Contrast that description with these more elaborate dresses from 1925.