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Vogue Essentials: Little Black Dress by Chloe Fox

There's no denying that the Little Black Dress (LBD) is a classic fashion item. But it hasn't always been this way. Black was traditionally the colour of mourning and it was considered shockingly risqué to wear it any other time. It wasn't until the first World War that wearing black became more socially acceptable, largely due to its practicality when more women were working outside the home for the war effort.

The LBD may have been unconventional at the time, but in the 1920's it was Coco Chanel who helped make it part of every modern women's wardrobe. Ninety years after Vogue dubbed her simple short black dress 'the frock that all the world will wear', it continues to be a fashion essential. It remains a reliable fashion staple that can be dressed up or down and works for almost any event. The LBD is the ultimate backdrop for showcasing statement jewellery, handbags, belts and shoes.

During recent decades, designers have consistently reinvented the LBD as fashion's best friend; flowing, fitted, long, short, sleeveless, structured and tailored. The LBD can be casual, dramatic, elegant, fun, professional, sensual, serious or sporty. The real strength of the LBD is its versatility as a fail-safe formula for any woman, with its ability to be whatever the wearer wants or needs it to be.

Writer Chloe Fox celebrates iconic LBDs from the bold designs of Zandra Rhodes and Vivienne Westwood to the pared down simplicity of a Calvin Klein shift dress. Today, with Millennials trending towards minimalism, the LBD will continue to have its place in everyday wear as the ultimate 'less is more' uniform.

This glossy hardback is an ideal gift for any fashion lover, either on its own or with Vogue Essentials: Handbags. The Vogue Essentials series explores the most desirable items of clothing and is illustrated with photographs from the Vogue archive.

Chloe Fox is a contributing editor at British Vogue. She is also the author of Vogue One Alexander McQueen, Vogue on Manolo Blahnik and is currently writing her debut novel.

Reviewer: Andrea Molloy Hachette, RRP $34.99


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