The Little Black Dress? The Color Black?

The black dress a power house staple to elegant dressing, one may find many of these dresses in their closet. Why so many Little Black Dresses? What is a Slow Fashion pace?

During the long Melbourne lockdown, my curiosity sparked as I wanted to reconnect with my love of fashion history. I read about a free course, Coursera presented by The Museum of Modern Art (MOMA): ‘Fashion as Design‘ led by Department of Architecture and Design Senior Curator Paola Antonelli.

An online seven week course exploring over 70 items of garments and accessories questioning the meaning of what, how, and why we wear these items. Learning from designers, historians and makers about these items made me feel reconnected to the fashion community.

Curator Dr. Valerie Steele: The Little Black Dress Presentation

Finally, thrilled to watch a video by Curator, Dr. Valerie Steele, Abecedarian Presentation on The Little Black Dress. Being an avid lover of dresses and the colour black, Dr. Steele dispels some myths and presents the history of the black dress and the associations of the colour black in a 11 minute video.

Dr. Steele states:

“…Chanel claimed to have invented the little black dress but that’s not true she did help popularised it……

In addition, the curator goes on to give examples of western associations of the color black and the history of the dress:

“… In the middle ages black was not only seen as colour for the elite mourning but also as a very expensive, prestigious, and elegant color… Many Aristocrats would wear black to indicate prestige and…dandiacal elegance which made them stand out among the peacock courtiers around them…” ,

“Valerie Mendez the fashion historian from Britain points out, black was fashionable long before the 1920s. In particular, she writes the little black dress was born in the early 1900s especially after the death of Edward the 7th in 1909.”

Slow Fashion

Coming full circle, if there is one item of clothing that contributes to a slow fashion pace, I would vote for the Little Black Dress. One of the iconic pieces that is kept in your closet for years and one that can be passed on to one generation to the next, if kept in good condition.

Black dresses embody versatility, elegance and modernity and layers of meaning. I highly recommend watching Dr. Valerie Steele presentation as it gives a good snapshot of the history of the dress and color.

Cowl Back Black Dress – a backless dress design with it’s soft, high neckline flowing into a deep back drapey cowl. Featuring contrast mesh strip at the shoulders. Designed and Made Melbourne, Australia. Ingrid Hayes Designs

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