It’s black again

By Brigit Grant, November 28, 2012
Audrey Hepburn models the LBD (Photo: PA)

Audrey Hepburn models the LBD (Photo: PA)

As the only garment in your wardrobe that’s known by its initials, the little black dress holds a unique position in the world of fashion.

The navy blazer, plain white tee and camel coat are all contenders as closet staples, but until they are known only as the NB, PWT and CC, they can never compete with the LBD.

It was Coco Chanel who first apotheosised the black dress in the 1920s, lauding it as a blank canvas on which a woman’s personality could emanate unimpeded.

Since then it has been reinterpreted by each generation’s hottest designers and style icons, though most memorably by the late Audrey Hepburn. Apart from my own weddings (yes, I’ve had two), I can’t think of a grand event where I wasn’t in an LBD, and whenever I want to make the right impression at work this sartorial symbol of refinement is what I’ll wear.

Most of us do, but in spite of its year-round versatility, as a member of the fashion press I’m duty-bound to tell you that it’s “officially” LBD season.

Embellished shift dress M&Co, £65

Embellished shift dress M&Co, £65

The most obvious clue is the media obsession with LBD diets that promise to reduce the cling of fabric on your curves in time for all those parties.

Personally, I’ve always believed the purpose of a black dress was to enable one to nosh all night and still appear streamlined. But this is not the case, and if you want to look lithe in charcoal satin while consuming festive latkes, you have to shed the pounds first by following an LBD diet such as the one being promoted by Daybreak’s Lorraine Kelly dressed as Audrey Hepburn. Yes, only Givenchy could tell them apart.

Once you are svelte — or sveltish — the choice of LBDs is unlimited and depending on the style you go for, you can dress it up or down with accessories or a cover-up.

The Vestry have done a great day/night Bodycon dress and teamed with their skull-rhinestone-handle clutch, it’s a statement LBD. I also like Simply Be’s flared dress with a Peter Pan collar and sheer sleeves which has a vintage feel, and M&Co have done an equally appealing embroidered shift.

With so much fuss being made about the Kardashian Kollection at Dorothy Perkins, I had to show you Khloe, Kim and Kourtney’s take on the little black dress, which isn’t too bad, and there are others I liked, though the length of some suggest belt rather than dress. I can only assume the sisters were advised against using their initials for the clothing label as even girls who can’t spell can appreciate that KKK stitched to an LBD is a bit OTT.

Last updated: 3:41pm, November 28 2012