Little Black Dress FYI
We all wear it, sometimes people say their favourite colour is black but I stand corrected in saying black is a colour but a colour without a hue FYI !! I like black don't get me wrong, but why is it such a strong predominate statement in fashion? Is it because of its slimming attributes? The LBD is often an opinionated generalization put towards society, by fashion realists as a must have item in our closets But why black? Why not brown or yellow (my favourite colour) and even why not sometimes red?
Even before the 19th century, black was one of the most popular colours, used in all facets of life. Black is an achromatic colour, a colour without a hue, much like white and grey. Back in the war era women would wear black to mourn the loss of their husbands and were expected to wear it for at least four years. These days this is still evident, coming from an Orthodox background and losing my partner myself, through religion and tradition it's a way of respecting ones passing from the world and remembering them, sort of like a time of solitude and self reflection.
In 1926, the first ever LBD (little black dress) was revealed to the world and made an impact changing the way women would look at the colour forever. Gabrielle Coco Chanel was her name and fashion was her game. The French designer we all know so well and love, published a small drawing in Vogue, of a simple black dress which Vogue called "Chanel's Ford" and which the designer famously said, "A woman needs just three things, a black dress, a black sweater and on her arm, a man she loves." The dress was a simple straight cut dress, calf-length and decorated only by a few diagonal lines. The LBD, Vogue also said, was a "sort of uniform for all tastes...the frock that all the world will wear."
After this more designs were created by the house of Chanel, which helped disconnect black from being associated with mourning and creating the revolutionary staple that would transform society by putting a new label on it, for the wealthy, high class, sophisticated gal. As Coco Chanel herself proclaimed, "I imposed black; it's still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around."
Other designers were sure to follow suit, as designers did in those days, they followed the leader. Black was the new fashion accessory. It was what they were waiting for, the next new thing to walk the streets and bring all fashion idealists to their feet. Black was the new way, especially since it was so sought after by all because it was a simple yet alluring hue that could be used to create almost anything. Jean Patou a famous French designer was one of them, known for his amazing perfume creations, created a black clothing collection in 1929. Italian designer Gianni Versace said, "black is the quintessence of simplicity and elegance," and French designer Yves Saint Laurent said, "black is the liaison which connects art and fashion." Also one of the most famous black dresses designed by Hubert de Givenchy was worn in the 1961 film 'Breakfast at Tiffany's'.
Black can be considered as a veil to hide behind, shielding your imperfections to avoid public attention and to look overly conservative. Now the LBD on the other hand overrides any limit on age, size and occasion. It's versatile, dressed up or down and flattering on the figure, thus making it a girls best friend. The easy dependable option when you don't know what to wear, when apparently you don't have anything to wear......
As I have discovered, in history that is, black has come along way but was always evident in every century somewhat, with it's own symbolic meaning and approach at the time. It is and always will be a part of our culture, art, fashion, political movements and way of living.
Picardie, Justine (2010). Coco Chanel: the legend and the life. London: Harper Collins Publishers. pp. 92–93. ISBN 9780061963858.
Eva Heller, Psychologie de la Couleur – effets et symboliques, p. 120.
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