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Culture Concierge:

October 1, 2012

The LBD Gets Enshrined

Noir Style takes the spotlight at SCAD Museum of Art in the form of the classic “Little Black Dress”

By Nancy Staab

Vogue Editor André Leon Talley curates a can’t-miss fashion show in Savannah that features frocks from everyone from Chanel to YSL.

Curator Andre Leon Talley and dresses from the Curator Andre Leon Talley and dresses from the "Little Black Dress" exhibit at SCAD

LITTLE BLACK DRESS

Sept. 28-Dec. 16, 2012

SCAD Museum of Art, Savanah

Curate by André Leon Talley

 

Little Black Dress is a major exhibition of approximately 80 midnight-colored frocks designed from 1920 to the present day by modern day’s most cutting edge fashion designers. Curated by Vogue Contributing Editor and SCAD Trustee André Leon Talley, the exhibition focuses on historic and contemporary examples of this fashion icon and reveals how it has been endlessly appropriated and translated. “The Little Black Dress” is now such a staple, it’s entered the lexicon in shorthand as “The LBD,” but that was not the case when one of its first proponents, Coco Chanel stitched her seminal black dress in the 1920’s and took black from the funereal world of widows to the ultimate in chic sophistication. However its simplicity can be devastatingly illusive. As Talley stated to Departures magazine:

 “It’s a simplistic little thing, but it demands respect on it’s own. The black dress can liberate one. It can set a new style standard or adhere to old standards. It can be rebellious, reckless, elegant or establishment.”

 

Sarah Jessica Parker in a Prabal Gurung dress from SCAD's Little Black Dress exhibit. Sarah Jessica Parker in a Prabal Gurung dress from SCAD's Little Black Dress exhibit.

Talley elaborates:  “This exhibition celebrates the little black dress in its myriad forms, from the pleated Fortuny dress of the late C.Z. Guest, a style icon and great friend; to the impossibly elegant Madame Grés silk crepe de chine dress from 1977, to Carolina Herrera’s black silk faille dress, a personal favorite she designed for herself this year.” He adds, “Little Black Dress also includes the work of two recent SCAD graduates: Alexis Asplundh, who works in neoprene (the new crepe de chine for designers like Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, who has a neoprene dress in the exhibition) and Victoria Wilmouth, whose evening gown embellished with exquisite gilded plumes is an ode to sharpness and originality.”

Presented in the SCAD Museum of Art’s André Leon Tally Gallery, the only dedicated couture gallery in the southern United States, Little Black Dress traces the bold curve of social history across the 20th and 21st centuries and explores the evolution of a definitive yet democratic style that for more than a century has embodied shifting tides of the modern world. Pieces by Chanel, Yves Saint Laurent, L’Wren Scott,  Isabel Toledo, and Givenchy will be featured in the exhibition, among many others. And what would be a show on the LBD without some reference to “Sex and the City”—in this case a black leather dress by Prabal Gurung that was recently worn by Sarah Jessica Parker. Carrie Bradshaw would approve.

“Little Black Dress” will be on exhibit at SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah from Sept. 28-Jan. 27, 2013. For more info: 912.525.7191 or  www.scadmoa.org. The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays. Admission is $10.