Formerly, black was reserved for mourning and grief whereas today it is the synonym of timeless elegance. That huge change has been made by Gabrielle Chanel in yearly twenties, with the first little black dress design ever. Her inspiration though remains unknown. Was it those demure uniforms from her childhood in orphanage? Or maybe the maids’ garbs, easily arousing erotic connotations?
However, the exact inspiration is not as important as its result. With her first “little black” Coco has transformed fashion forever. She’s liberated women from the immensity of flounces and draperies as well as gaudy colours, proposing an avant-garde minimalist outfit from silk crèpe de chine in return.
The simple Coco Chanel’s dress from twenties, with long sleeves and round hem was reinterpreted by Karl Lagerfeld in 1999, at the fall-winter Chanel haute couture show.
In 1926, American Vogue named this project “The Ford dress”, comparing its unprecedented success to the famous car brand. Since that moment, “little black” has been an obligatory modern female outfit because – as legendary designer said – “Woman wearing black brings attention to herself, not to her dress.”