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The history behind the little black dress

dodano: 8 kwietnia 2016 przez amberfashion


 Drawing on its extensive textile collection, the Missouri History Museum has created Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night. This 6,000 square foot exhibition explores the incredible journey of the black dress from a symbol of morning to the iconic fashion statement that it is today. With more than 60 dresses on display as well as incredible accessories, Little Black Dress examines the way women’s lives have changed since the Victorian era through the lens of this wardrobe staple.

A halter dress from 1974.

image:SheinDressAU bridesmaid dresses

Little Black Dress showcases dresses primarily from the Missouri History Museum’s collection, many of which have never been on display before. The large number of black dresses in this collection speaks volumes about the relevance and importance of the little black dress to women in St. Louis. Most women purchased from local stores and dressmakers. Others went as far away as Paris to buy their fabulous frock or to have a special little black dress made just for them.

“Women spend their entire lives searching for the perfect little black dress,” said Senior Curator Shannon Meyer. “But what is perfect to you is not necessarily perfect to the person next to you. That’s what the visitor will find in this exhibit – examples of everyone’s perfect little black dress.”

Although Coco Chanel has been credited with creating the little black dress in the 1920s, the color black has been used in women’s dress throughout history. During the mid to late 1800’s, black clothing was worn primarily during times of mourning. Following the death of Prince Albert of Britain in 1861, the rituals of mourning became popular in both Europe and the United States. Fashion magazines regularly published articles and images about appropriate mourning etiquette. Several accessories included in the exhibit show the extent of mourning culture— from intricately beaded bags to jewelry made from a deceased persons hair.

This culture of mourning began to fade at the turn of the 20th century. Urbanization, technological advancements, suffrage, and the onset of World War I, influenced how women dressed. The time for elaborate mourning rituals soon came to an end. However, the color black became more popular than ever. As early as the 1920s, fashion designers began to introduce their own versions of the black dress. Over the decades, the color remained the same, but the styles, shapes, and fabrics evolved with the times. A close look at each of the dresses in Little Black Dress, many on display for the first time, reveals the complexity and significance that can be found in one seemingly simple garment.

Little Black Dress is a fun and thought-provoking exhibition that tells the story of not just what women wore, but why they wore it, and why the little black dress is a staple in the modern woman’s wardrobe.

In addition to the exhibit, which runs April 2nd through September 5th, the Missouri History Museum Press is be publishing a companion book, which includes 75 color photographs and additional historical background for many of the objects in the exhibit. The book, also title Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night is available for purchase in the Missouri History Museum Shop or online Admission to Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night is free.

The Missouri History Museum has been active in the St. Louis community since 1866. Founding members established the organization “for the purpose of saving from oblivion the early history of the city and state.” Today, the Missouri Historical Society serves as the confluence of historical perspectives and contemporary issues. Due to its innovative approach to public service, the Missouri History Museum was the first recipient of the Institute of Museum and Library Services National Award for Museum Services in 1994. The Missouri History Museum offers programs and outreach services, including traveling exhibitions; tours; theatrical and musical presentations; programs for school classes and youth groups; family festivals; special events; workshops; and lectures. The Missouri History Museum is funded by the St. Louis City and County taxpayers through the Metropolitan Zoological Park and Museum District and by private donations. The Museum is open seven days a week with general admission always free. The Missouri History Museum in Forest Park also operates the Library and Research Center at 225 South Skinker Boulevard near the Washington University campus.

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