Back in Black: History of the LBD

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If you're as head over heels in love with vintage designer dresses like we are at Rokit, then you'll sure adore the LBD. It's one of those garments that simply refuses to drift out of fashion. Instead, the little black dress changes with the times and continues to be one of those absolute essentials.

The Colourful History Of The Little Black Dress

Back before it was rehabilitated into the ultimate expression of simplistic elegance, black was a colour that had some pretty dreary connotations. Funerals, mourning and other occasions that aren't exactly fun. We've got a little Gallic ingenuity to thank for the birth of the LDB as we know it.

Coco Chanel is some of a legend when it comes to vintage designer dresses. Fashionistas everywhere know her name for obvious reasons. It was the notoriously iron willed French fashion icon who brought the little black dress to mainstream attention in 1926. First published in Vogue, and described as "Chanel's Ford" after the ultra-simplistic Model T car, the short, simple cut was an instant success.

The 30s was something of a wakeup call for the world as the Great Depression loomed like a horrible black cloud over everything. Well, not quite everything, as little black dresses began to flourish. You didn't need a lot of money to turn heads in one, and that's something we can all relate to and doubly so when the entire planet was broke!

The following war-torn decade saw the LBD become a little more utilitarian, matching Vogue's words. In '26, the mag described the style as "a sort of uniform for women of all tastes." It couldn't be truer in the 40s. With the war raging, women turned back to the simplicity that the LBD afforded (quite stylishly too!).

The 50s and 60s is where conservative shapes fade away to more exciting cuts. Dior's 50s New Look collection helped turn the style into something sexy, something edgy; perfect for onscreen glamour that Hollywood demanded.

But let's be honest, the dress that leapt from the brain of Givenchy and onto the slender frame of Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's has to be the most famous LBD in history. This particular model is a sheathe dress that's slinky proportions have become the stuff of screen and fashion legend. We're still a little jealous of Hepburn's flawless style!

Since those halcyon days, the little black dress has continued to shift, evolve and move with the times. 70s punks threw away the rulebook by tearing it up and adding some fishnets. The 80s just saw everything get bigger, bolder and brasher. The LBD enjoyed a revival in the grunge scene too and since then has continued to be one of the most versatile styles of contemporary and vintage designer dresses available.

The LBD: The Leading Black Light Of Vintage Designer Dresses

The beauty of the LBD is, apart from its physical beauty (obviously), is its crazy versatility. Want to pair it with some pumps for a cutesy look? No problem. Need to dazzle with some classic diamond jewellery? You can.

Anything goes with the LDB and it seems that every major designer has created their own spin on this wardrobe essential. Our favourites include Betsey Johnson's goth-meets-50s sweetheart promo dress and a Michael Kors design that screams classical Grecian elegance married to more contemporary touches.

Nearly a century old, we continue to doff our cap to this bona fide fashion icon. Possibly the best dress ever created? We should thank? Coco! Check out our collection of vintage designer dresses at Rokit to snap up a totally unique piece now.