Thursday, 01 November 2012


Since its invention by Coco Chanel, the little black dress has become a fashion staple. Katy Pearson picks this season's best black frocks

Written by Katy Pearson
As Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld once said, ‘One is never overdressed or underdressed with a little black dress.’

And since Coco Chanel unveiled the first real little black dress more than 80 years ago, it has become a fashion staple. Hers was a simple creation in crêpe, cut to just above the knee, with a high neckline. There were no buttons, embroidery or layering.

But most controversial of all was its colour. Until this time, black was the hue of mourning, reminiscent of the clergy or, whisper it, servants’ uniforms.

Coco Chanel’s LBD ushered in a new way of dressing and a new way of life. Until her creation, ladies had been bound by the belief that elegance meant many outfits, dressing differently for every occasion and even different parts of the day.

Clothes were, in the main, highly decorative, heavy, uncomfortable and they frequently needed more than one pair of hands to put on.

But the 1926 LBD could be worn from morning to night – and offered effortless, understated elegance. Indeed Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, summed it up by saying, ‘When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.’

With that in mind, here are this season’s best LBDs...

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