Notice Board


January 14, 2010

It’s Red Carpet Season folks! and we’re kicking off with the 67th Annual Golden Globe Awards live from The Beverley Hilton on Sunday 17 January. Only about 60 hours to go before Ryan and Giuliana start flashing their pearly whites to coax the stars into revealing their most closely guarded secret to date, ‘who are you wearing?’ Hollywood is abuzz.

However, until that first limo spills its sponsored name-dropper, Tinseltown is rife with a question of another kind. Will Brangelina be there? According to my highly respected, you-heard-to-here-first sources, heat magazine and E online, tension is running high on whether the Jolie-Pitt liaison could cope with another Jennifer Aniston on-stage appearance. Flash back to the Oscars last year when a visibly nervous Jen came face to face with Brad’s guilty discomfort and Ange’s stone-cold glare from in the front row. You could cut the atmosphere with a knife. This year, as fate would have it, Jen has been invited to present again. Needless to say, Ange is not happy. So much so that’s she’s threatened to give this illustrious shindig a miss despite Brad’s nomination for his film, ironically titled, Inglorious Basterd. The guessing game continues. One thing we can be sure of is that Jennifer and Angelina will emerge from this gossip mill looking flawless; style and glamour oozing from every designer-clad pore.

So what’s a recessionista to do if ever she were to find herself in need of a ‘who are you wearing?’ While most of us probably don’t own one, the alternate should certainly not be a ‘what the h*ll are you wearing?’ Enter the LBD.

Coco Chanel unveiled the ‘little black dress’ in 1926, ushering in the epitome of women’s fashion. It was a short, slash-necked silk dress with diagonal pin-tucks as its only decoration. In reference to Henry Ford’s Model T car, American Vogue called it the ‘Ford’ alluding to its almost universal popularity as a fashion basic but only available in black. To the modern eye it may have seemed rather plain but Chanel believed that fashion could be chic yet functional. Although unassuming black dresses existed before, her design was considered haute couture. The garments’ pure simplicity, showing masterful cut and proportion, was designed to fit everyone and not show stains. Popularity soared, thereby securing its position as a staple item throughout subsequent seasons’ collections. Traditional elegant materials like lace, tulle and weightless soft silks were used in a new tailored way. Women wearing anything else seemed overdressed. She showed us how a simple cocktail dress could be turned into an evening dress with stilettos, long gloves and diamond accessories; yet when combined with a black suit jacket, simple pumps and demure accessories it could be worn to a daytime business meeting. A classic piece of 20th-century women’s wear was borne. 

In March 2006 a survey was conducted in the UK to mark the 80th anniversary of the first LBD. The poll of 1,023 men and women in Manchester and London was conducted on behalf of event organisers, Little Black Dress. A spokeswoman said; “From the classic sophistication of Chanel to the raunchy come-and-get-it allure of Versace, the beauty of the little black dress is that it really is all things to all women. Women love wearing them, men love women in them and there just is nothing quite as glamorous as an LBD for that special occasion.”

Hollywood legend Audrey Hepburn was voted as the most unforgettable wearer of the little black dress ahead of modern day style icons. Wearing a strikingly simple Givenchy accessorised with pearls, her appearance as Holly Golightly in the 1961 film Breakfast at Tiffany`s epitomized the Chanel ideal of elegant simplicity seen frequently throughout the early 60’s. Diana, Princess of Wales, was the only woman to make it into the top 10 for two separate occasions when her dresses stole the limelight. Second place was awarded to the little number worn to a gala at the Serpentine Gallery on the same evening her husband was making a televised confession to adultery. Her second appearance in a black strapless dress shortly before her death, photographed by Mario Testino, made it to number seven. Third place is held by Liz Hurley in the tight-fitting Valentino dress held together with gold safety pins which she wore to the premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral in 1994. Celebrities like Julia Roberts, Cameron Diaz, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Kidman are further included on this esteemed list – but a few other famous LBD wearers also deserve a mention.

Betty Boop, a cartoon character partly based on the 1920’s ‘It Girl’ Clara Bow, was drawn in her earlier films, wearing a little black dress. With the introduction of Technicolor, Betty’s dress became red. Edith Piaf, the French folk icon, performed in a black sheath dress throughout her career, earning her the nickname ‘little black sparrow.’ It was thought that the dress helped audiences focus more on Piaf’s singing and less on her appearance.

‘When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.’
– Wallis Warfield Windsor

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