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Little Black Dress, a creation of Coco Chanel

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Little Black Dress, a creation of Coco Chanel

A Little Black Dress is an evening or cocktail dress of simple cut and often short. Fashion historians seek its origins in 1920s designs by Coco Chanel and Jean Patou. It was intended to last and to be worn in many ways. Also, it was affordable, accessible to the general public and in a neutral color. The Little Black Dress was ubiquitous and everyone knew what you were talking about when referring to it.

Before that was the color “black” reserved for mourning. In Victorian and Edwardian times existed the grief of a widow in seven stages spread over at least two years. Due to a large number of widows by the war with in addition the grieving relatives of the victims of the Spanish flu epidemy, black had become a commonly worn color. In 1926, Coco Chanel also published a sketch of a little black cocktail dress in the American Vogue. It fell to just below the knee and was decorated with only a few diagonal lines. Vogue called it the T-model of fashion and predicted that it would become as popular as the eponymous model of the car Ford. The Little Black Dress was simple and accessible to women of all social classes.

The Little Black Dress was soon considered as essential in the wardrobe of every woman with taste. Fashion specialists called it a “rule of fashion” that every woman should possess a little black dress that she could wear on different occasions, depending on the accessories. Worn with a jacket and high heels it would be adequate for business by daytime. Just with some more jewelry and with other accessories, the same dress would be an ideal outfit to go out at night. Meant to last for many years, the Little Black Dress was also made of the simplest possible cut. A short dress modeled clearly following a particular trend wouldn’t be convenient as it would quickly become “out of fashion”.


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