This classic creation has a lot to do with Audrey Hepburn, who still delights millions of people around the world awith her carefree attitude of a New York partygirl. We see her when she takes out her small black dress from the closet for fun and later on, she shines in the crowd of laughing guests.
Although you could see the mass of black dresses on the streets in the early 1920s, it wasn’t a symbol of fashion, but omnipresent mourning after the war. Also in 1926, our beloved black little Chanel dress appeared on the cover of Vogue, started a revolution in women’s thinking and acting, also proving to be an universal elegant outfit. After the Breakfast at Tiffany it became even more widely recognised and desired by millions.
History of the little black dress
Little black appeared as a symbol of mourning during and after the First World War and the pandemic flu in 1918 that infected 500 million people across the world and resulted in the deaths of 50 to 100 million. At that time, black was reserved exclusively for widows.
Coco Chanel introduced a little black to the fashion world. When it was created in the 1920s, it surprised with its simplicity and comfort after years of lace corselets and tight dresses. It symbolized the birth of a new woman – unfettered, confident and free. Emancipation proceeded, and the little black was the symbol of this revolution. Chanel dress was narrow, fitted and reached just below the knee. Its classic little black has become immortal.
In times of great crisis, women increasingly were wearing black. At modest times, they wanted to retain an unpretentious elegance.
Due to the technical limitations of film production, the little black has become extremely popular in Hollywood. Why? Other colours looked distorted on the screen, so the actresses were promoting black dresses.
During the Second World War, the little black dress was the first, most basic female clothing because of the restrictions on the supply of textiles. It also became a typical uniform of women doing mental work.
Dior’s “New Look” in the postwar and conservative years of the 50’s brought the little black to the position of a symbol of the revolution of morality. It was worn by women who were sex symbols in those years: Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth and Brigitte Bardot.
The transitions between generations were evident in the styles of dresses worn by women in the 1960s. Younger women preferred the mini version of a black little dress, when the older ones remained faithful to a model similar from Hubert de Givenchy’s “Breakfast at Tiffany”.
From the day of the premiere of “Breakfast at Tiffany” began an immense worship for a little black dress from Givenchy. Audrey Hepburn promoted the fashion for a dress that was firstly designed by Coco Chanel.
The popularity of classic, natural materials has restored fashion of the little black dress. At the time, it was often enriched with the most fashionable details, such as broad sleeves. By the end of the decade, simple designs of different lengths were extremely popular.
The grunge culture of the 1990s showed for the first time that a little black can be worn in combination with sandals and glans. The dress itself was still simple in its cut. Fashion experiments at the end of this decade have brought many new variations on the little black.
The beginning of the new millennium gradually restored fashion to the classic. Returning models from the previous decade: the rocky little black of the 80s, as well as its more classic versions of the 50s and 60s. Today, the little black, which works in almost every situation, is an absolute must-have for any elegant woman.