A History of the Little Black Dress
Coco Chanel is credited with creating the LBD in the 1920’s, describing it as "a sort of uniform for women all over the world, from all backgrounds regardless of their walk of life". Before Chanel, black clothing was the colour of mourning, servitude and religious devotees. Chanel’s black was a radical style statement of chic minimalism and modernity. It was also another expression of her central philosophy that women should dress “comme des garcons” – like the boys. By which she meant adopting a simple, practical and elegant way of dressing, completely opposed to the elaborate and highly decorative style of the Parisian Belle Époque at the time.
The “LBD, the little black dress” exhibition at the Museum of Style Icons will house some of the greatest names in fashion from the last century including of course Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, Alaia, Gianni Versace, Gucci, Jean Paul Gautier, Balenciaga, Giorgio Armani, Alexander McQueen and much more.
Highlight pieces include an unlabelled 1920’s cocktail dress, which is in pristine condition. Made from rayon, an inexpensive alternative to silk satin, the style of this dress closely resembles the minimal style that made Chanel famous. It showcases that great style truly never goes out of fashion. Another key piece is an Anthony Price velvet dress with an extraordinary sculptured neckline from the late 1980’s. The structure of this piece is truly spectacular. There is also an Alaia hooded dress from 1987, which became synonymous with the designer and was worn famously by Grace Jones and appeared in the Robert Palmer video for Addicted to Love. This garment is exceptionally made with a spiral zip as a key detail.
This LBD exhibition is a must-see for style and fashion lovers. It shows the versatility as well as the evolution of the black dress into a fashion stable. Every woman has a LBD in their wardrobe and this exhibition will make you want to invest in more.”
The Museum of Style Icons is located at the Newbridge Silverware Visitor Centre in Co Kildare and houses one of the greatest collections of style, fashion and popular culture. It is open seven days per week and admission is €7 for adults and €5 for students and senior citizens. Tickets can be purchase in advance online at our tickets page or in-store. The Museum of Style Icons is a must-visit attraction