The Little Black Dress

The Little Black Dress

The little black dress is one of fashion’s true iconic items. We tell you how the LBD changed the fashion history, and show you how to wear it this season.

In 1926, Vogue published a drawing of a Chanel dress. It had long sleeves and a simple yet elegant design. Vogue predicted that the black dress would become the uniform of ‘all women of taste’, comparing it to the Ford Model T automobile.

The Model T car was also simple and universal, and most importantly; ”available in any colour as long as it is black”. 

Just like the car, the little black dress was a child of its time. The dress allowed women of all classes to look modern and fashionable, even in the 1930’s times of recession and depression. Coco Chanel herself was quoted: ”Thanks to me they [non-wealthy] can walk around like millionaires.”

In the 1930s, the little black dress had a softer, more feminine cut, followed by the practical, minimalist style of the 1940’s war years. Postwar, Christian Dior introduced The New Look – one of the real milestones in women’s fashion. Dior added a little drama to the black dress. Wasp waist and fuller skirts gave it a new silhouette. 

But when we hear ”LBD”, most of us probably think of the 1960’s version. The skirt was (a lot!) shorter, the style more simple. 

Actress Audrey Hepburn immortalised the LBD in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961, wearing a long, black dress in the opening scene, designed by French couture master Hubert de Givenchy.

In 2006, the dress sold for £467,200 at an auction in London. 

Chanel usually paired her LBDs with a pearl necklace (or many), and it has been the partner for the little black dress ever since. Right now, we prefer the look to be as simple as possible. For this shoot, stylist Columbine Smille settled for a minimalist silver bracelet. 

”The LBD is one of those perfect, timeless items that never goes out of style. Black is also a very flattering colour, given that you choose a well-fitted dress.”

This season, we prefer a just-below-the-knee cut and a tight silhouette. 

”I like dresses with a short sleeve and a not too revealing crewneck cut”, says Columbine Smille.


Photographer Tobias Lundkvist’s favourite items are the classics: a black t-shirt and Chuck Taylors. Stylist Columbine Smille’s favourite item is the perfect black silk dress. Our model is très cool Aussie Catherine McNeil. Hair by Mette Thorsgaard and makeup by Josefin Scherdin.

Black dresses from now and then: Grace Kelly, Marilyn Monroe with husband Arthur Miller, Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, Josephine Baker, Princess Diana, Kate Moss, Nicki Minaj, First Lady Michelle Obama with president Barack Obama and Joan Bennett from 1928, All Over Press/Getty Images.
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