October 1, 1926. In American Vogue a simple black dress is featured for the first time alongside many flamboyant colored garments and lavish embroideries. The Little Black Dress is signed by Coco Chanel and it is praised by the renowned magazine as the garment destined to become “a sort of uniform for women all over the world.” With the hindsight of ninety years the words of the American magazine sound like a prophecy. In short order the Little Black Dress becomes the very symbol of Chanel and a “must” in every woman’s wardrobe.
After Chanel, it was cinema that made the LBD the best-suited costume to express new models of Femininity: Rita Hayworth, Lauren Bacall, Marilyn Monroe, Anita Ekberg…And in 1961, Audrey Hepburn with Breakfast at Tiffany’s lends a touch of eternity to the Little Black Dress.
Since then the LBD continues to spark the imagination and creativity of the important Fashion labels: everyone, no matter if young or established, tests their mettle: from Valentino to Prada, from Thierry Mugler to Alexander McQueen, from Armani to Tom Ford.
Today the LBD is more than ever a crucial point of comparison among the various visions regarding the very idea of Fashion. In France, Karl Lagerfeld renewed the Chanel label proposing through the years a series of LBDs that shatter every consolidated tradition. In Italy il Vestito Siciliano ( “the Sicilian dress” ) of Dolce & Gabbana seems to hark back to the ancestral archetypes of the Mediterranean world.
In Holland, the young designer Iris Van Herpen abandons traditional fabrics and dabbles with new materials. Pivoting between craftsmanship and technology, her LBD made with a 3D printer, relaunches Chanel’s challenge into the new millennium.
director: Adolfo Conti
locations: London, Milan, Rome
international distribution: GA&A Italia
a Doc Art production in coproduction with Molly Aida film (Germany)
in collaboration with NDR ARTE SKY ARTE HD
in association with: ERT Televisione greca RSI Televisione della Svizzera italiana
co-funded by the European Union – Creative Europe – MEDIA
Interviewees: David Downton, Giusi Ferrè, Sofia Gnoli, Suzy Menkes, Ferdinando Scianna, Barbara Vinken
written by: Adolfo Conti
produced by: Amalia Carandini e Adolfo Conti
executive producer: Ilaria Sbarigia
cinematography, graphics and editing: Eugenio Persico
music: Pasquale Catalano
additional cameraman and soundengineer: Tony Costagliola di Fiore