Home Education Item of the week: the little black dress

Item of the week: the little black dress

Image: Wolford

What it is:

The little black dress, or the LBD, is often considered one of the most
influential garments in fashion’s history, widely known for its simplicity,
accessibility and timeless appeal. It is regularly regarded to have risen
into the limelight during the 1920’s, with many fashion historians
crediting Coco Chanel as the pioneer behind the design. Its allure only
increased when it was worn by actress Audrey Hepburn in the film Breakfast
at Tiffany’s, lunging it into popularity and pushing it to become the
wardrobe essential it is known as today. What actually constitutes a LBD is
often quite flexible, but the term is mostly associated with simple, black
dresses that are functional and easy to wear. However, hemlines and
silhouettes for LBD’s on the runway this season were fairly complex, with
many designers offering up a total revamp of the classic dress style.

Image: Wolford

Why you’ll want it:

The LBD is a timeless piece that has remained completely seasonless since
it broke into the industry decades ago. The fact that the LBD’s design
requirements cannot be put into a specific box means that it can appeal to
a broad customer base, with a limitless number of design possibilities
available that can bend to personal preferences and retail concepts. Its
simplicity and accessibility has allowed it to remain relevant for a
lengthy period of time, and will continue to propel it into the centre of
fashion year after year. One of the great qualities of the dress is its
longevity. Once a shopper owns it, they will likely hold on to it for a
long time, giving it an expansive life span and making it a good investment
piece for any buyer.

Image: Madewell

Where we’ve seen it:

While the LBD is usually a part of the designer runway season, its
prominence throughout AW22 has cemented the design’s place in fashion for
the coming months. Amidst the staple bright pink of Valentino’s show,
Pierpaolo Piccioli also presented a selection of black dresses, including
an intricately cut, off-the-shoulder midi, that bore a structured full
skirt. Versace also stuck to the clean cut LBDs, offering up sharp
shoulders and form fitting silhouettes that dominated its ready-to-wear
line in its entirety. Nensi Dojoka also took on the timeless look,
presenting a black dress that utilised her typically complex design style
of string constructions and cut out shaping. Meanwhile, Off-White took a
more modern, literal approach with a mini sequin strapless number, sported
by Kendall Jenner and bearing the words ‘Little Black Dress’ which were
encased in Abloh’s signature quotation marks.

Image: Only

How to style it:

As a stand alone piece, a statement garment or a layered look, the LBD’s
styling opportunities are endless, with its simplicity making it especially
suitable for both a daily look or an occasion wear outfit. For evening’s
out, the dress can be paired with heeled boots or strappy sandals, and can
be worn by itself with simple jewellery or layered under an oversized
blazer or longline coat. To dress the LBD down, pair it with sneakers or
mules and a denim or leather jacket for an easy-to-throw-on daywear look
that can be donned from season to season. Accessories can bring this simple
but classic piece to life, with unlimited options of how to approach this
technique. Belts can tie a piece together, while a wide-brimmed hat or silk
neck scarf can effortlessly elevate an outfit.

Image: Stella McCartney

The LBD is a seasonless staple, with a rich history in fashion that spans
decades and will continue to have an impact for years to come. With its
versatility, accessibility and such a broad spectrum of styles available,
the LBD has the unique ability of appealing to an extensive customer base
and can fit into almost any retail concept.

Image: Superdry


Previous articleM&S favourite Colin the Caterpillar gets a Queen’s jubilee makeover with Connie the Corgi
Next articleAsda, Costco, Sainsbury’s: Cheapest places for petrol in and around Liverpool today