Probably more than any other item in our closets, the little black dress (LBD to some), is the one essential garment we should all own. Like a cup of java in the morning, it’s simply a MUST. Though not much of a stretch by any means, I’m always designing with black, aren’t you?The LBD was birthed in the ’20s as a result of women tossing off their long, layered, heavy dresses, cutting their hair and enjoying a new social party life, daringly displaying more shoulders, backs, and legs for the first time in history. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel inspired the style we think of when we think of flappers, and her designs epitomized the ’20s due to their fresh, modern and updated look. American Vogue published a drawing of Chanel’s LBD design, predicting it would become a uniform; well, guess they were right as it certainly has. She worked with neutral colors and soft easy-to-wear jersey fabrics that were simply shaped and cut. What was most remarkable in her designs was the infusion of comfort and sophistication into the former prim and proper fashion world. Previous to 1926, black was reserved for funerals and mourning periods, not festive events such as the parties of the roaring ’20s. Chanel was quoted, “Luxury must be comfortable, otherwise it is not luxury.”One of our all time faves which has stood the test of time is the classic “Audrey Hepburn” as seen on Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. This LBD was designed by Hubert de Givenchy and it epitomized the standard for wearing little black dresses. Every woman looks great in it and the LBD is the perfect default ensemble when you’re having one of those “I have nothing to wear” days.
Personally, my little black dress isn’t so “little” these days as I experience that dreaded middle-age spread and I certainly don’t attend any parties such as the caliber of those in the 1920s. I have to say, I do love designing jewelry for the LBD. The look is classic, effortless and wearable no matter the event, age or size! I try to make each piece a beautiful work of wearable art paying homage to the LBD. Often, I incorporate Swarovski crystals and pearls which speak to the “classic” and exude ease and sophistication. I like to think my designs would be worn by Audrey Hepburn should Breakfast at Tiffany’s be remade.
Please don’t get me wrong, it’s fun to design for the other end of the spectrum, which I refer to as “Gaga style” (homage to Lady Gaga), but how wearable are these pieces in my little beady corner of the world? They end up in books or competitions but are not frequently worn. And when I did wear one to a party, I could not believe how itchy it was all night! Learned that lesson the hard way!
Whether your life is filled with social events, parties or just a daily trek to the cubicle farm, LBD jewelry is delightfully appropriate. And who doesn’t like getting dressed up once in awhile? So I invite you to join me in paying homage to classic design history and create some LBD jewelry!
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