In 1926, fashion magazine Vogue published a drawing of a simple, calf-length black dress fashioned from crêpe de Chine. It featured long narrow sleeves and a low waist, and was adorned with a string of pearls.
The magazine described it as Coco “Chanel’s Ford,” referring to the at-the-time wildly popular and affordable Model T manufactured by the American automaker. In other words, it was a garment so simple it could be accessible to any shopper — “a sort of uniform for all women of taste,” as the publication put it.
The ensemble was dubbed the “little black dress,” and the rest is history.
During the Great Depression in the 1930s, the LBD became the outfit of choice for an entire generation of female consumers, and, in later decades, an essential part of women’s wardrobes everywhere.
Countless iterations and imitations have followed, but the understated elegance of Chanel’s original number remains unmatched.