Dirix, Emmanuelle and Taylor, Lou
Once upon a dress... The story of the little black dress.
In, Masters of Black in Fashion and Constume: Symposium, Antwerp, BE,
12 May 2010.
Fashion deals in fantasy and the aestheticisation of the everyday, it tells stories of glamour and revolution, of key pieces and the ‘genius’ designer, but often the story itself is an abstract simplification, a re-telling, of an unspecific truth. The story, through endless repetition by cultural agents, becomes truth and occupies specific cultural functions, which benefit all parties involved. The perfect example is the story of Chanel’s little black dress; the sartorial blueprint of modernity, the icon of the modern wardrobe. The ethereal but enduring myths surrounding the dress are infinitely more fascinating and relevant than the material reality of this unassuming plain black frock. The ease of their unravelment reveals this storytelling as one of the mainstays of fashion and highlights the rupture between object and narrative.
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