One of the most iconic statement pieces, the little black dress – or LBD – has captivated imaginations for almost a century. And it is the versatility of the LBD that has seen it become a wardrobe staple for women around the world.
From Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s to Elizabeth Hurley in Versace’s ‘safety pin’ design, the little black dress continues to inspire. The popularity of the LBD shows no sign of waning.
We explore the history of the LBD and how you can find your perfect little black dress, whatever the occasion.
The rise of the LBD
The popularity of the LBD can be traced back to 1926 when Coco Chanel created a design that was published by Vogue magazine. This simple but stunning dress was made from crêpe de Chine and was hailed as a dress that was accessible to all women. Vogue even went as far as to declare the creation as ‘Chanel’s Model T Ford’ and so the concept of ‘little black dress’ as we know it today was born.
Today, whatever the occasion, there is a little black dress design to match. From a casual day event to full-on evening glamour, the LBD will not let you down. As there is a design and silhouette for every woman, the form-flattering little black dress is the ultimate statement in body confidence and sophistication.
The classic little black dress is a timeless design with a heritage that speaks for itself. Elegant and flattering, the classic LBD offers a range of design features that give a nod to its past. Think Bardot necklines, off-the-shoulder, nipped-in waist, choice of sleeveless or demure chiffon sleeves, and you have a modern twist of the LBD classic that will be a special go-to in your wardrobe for years to come.
For inspiration, take a look at the women’s designer sale over at italist which features a selection of classic LBDs to suit your style aspirations and budget.
The little black cocktail dress
The LBD is the ultimate cocktail party attire! The cocktail dress length just below or above the knee is both sophisticated and elegantly flirty and looks stunning with high stilettos or cute kitten heels. And the solid black of the LBD adds glamour and sophistication which works beautifully with any cocktail event. Go flirty with spaghetti straps or play around with the neckline – a Grecian one-shoulder or plunging back adds extra elements of interest and surprise. Or a form-fitting design with subtle cut-outs can also look cocktail sublime. For little black cocktail dress inspiration, check out designers such as Dolce Gabbana, Versace, and Alexander McQueen.
The black bodycon
Up the LBD va-va-voom with the head-turning silhouette of a black bodycon. With all the classic elements that make the little black dress so special, structured tailoring work to show off the contours of your body shape. Perfect for adding some drama to any occasion, the solid black colour enhances the design.
Versace, Off-White, and Alexander Wang are all masters of the black bodycon LBD. Team with colour-pop strappy heels or towering black stilettos and you will always be LBD ready for any event.
The ultimate floor sweeper
The length of a little black dress doesn’t always need to be constrained by its moniker, as the LBD also works beautifully as a red-carpet-ready full-length design. And, as a timeless piece, a floor-length LBD is worth the investment. Designs to explore include a full-length column dress with a form-fitting silhouette and A-line in flowing luxe fabric with an off-the-shoulder or halter neckline. Long sleeves, straps, side-splits, lace panels…there are no rules when it comes to the ultimate floor sweeper. Just find the LBD that expresses your personality, then get set to make an entrance!
The LBD goes casual
Finally, the LBD vibe works beautifully as an everyday casual, offering comfort and style which can be dressed up or down. Team your casual LBD with chunky ankle boots and a boxy denim jacket for a sharp look or add a cutesy cardigan and sneakers for some retro cool. With many of the premium as well as high street designers embracing LBD casual this season, this timeless classic will also add to your day-to-day street cred.