O the marvels of the little black dress. It’s perhaps the most iconic garment of the past century. The dress of liberation. Of revolution. Chic at its most radical.
It’s the dress that was designed to take you anywhere anytime. That may seem an impossibly quaint notion in this anything-goes era — jeans on the red carpet, sweatsuits at an opening-night opera performance — but when Coco Chanel introduced the idea in the mid-1920s of a dress suitable for day and night, she profoundly transformed the way we think about the ritual of attire.
Of course a woman always remembers her first LBD. Mine was a strapless vintage Dior number, handmade lace covering satin with corset-boning. Breathtaking in more ways than one.
Since then I’ve owned dozens if not hundreds of LBDs — many of which I’ve kept. My version of a scrapbook. Each recalls those good, bad or ugly moments in my life. Dancing on a rooftop in Instanbul all night, a friend’s wake, the affair gone wrong.
So what is the perfect LBD? Some 30 West Coast designers — most from Los Angeles — along with three English designers, contemplated that question at the fourth annual Little Black Dress benefit, a rump-bumping bash held poolside last week at the W Hotel that raised more than $30,000 for Stop Cancer.