The Little Black Dress
The Little Black DressOctober 4, 2012
No doubt some of the country’s best fashion minds hail from the South, from Natalie Chanin to Mad Men’s Janie Bryant. And it seems the fashion world is taking notice. Last Friday, the premier opening of the Fall exhibition season was hosted not in New York or Paris, but in Savannah, Georgia.
Little Black Dress, curated by Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley, held its opening night at the Savannah College of Art and Design Museum of Art on September 28. It was a great excuse for a couple of girls here at G&G to slap on some high-heels and head south for a particularly fashionable night out on the town. What a treat to mingle with some of fashion’s elite, including dermatologist and fashion darling Lisa Airan and Mr. Talley himself.
The exhibit’s 80 dresses span generations of design — a 1907 Fortuny pleated gown from the collection of the late C.Z. Guest sits across from a Tom Ford Fall/Winter 2011 gown worn by Lady Gaga. Designs from two SCAD students were on display as well, including a watercraft-inspired neoprene dress by Alexis Asplundh.
“The exhibition highlights the strength of individualism,” said Talley, “charting the evolution of the little black dress from its native definition of invariable propriety, to new and distinctly contemporary explorations of texture, tone, and silhouette."
Choosing a favorite was difficult, but telling. I fell in love with L’Wren Scott’s “Headmistress” dress, at once sexy and puritanical with its figure-enhancing silhouette and strict white collar.
G&G president Rebecca Wesson Darwin placed her vote for a simple navy, feather print gown by Victoria Wilmoth. We were unsure why it was featured in an exhibit full of little black dresses, but learned later from Mr. Talley that navy is a perfectly suitable substitute for black.
Carmela Spinelli— Chair of SCAD’s School of Fashion and a Brooklyn-bred Italian—chose the Fortuny pleated gown. “The fact that this dress can stand up against the most current (dress) and still look relevant is a testament to his genius.”
We’ll agree to disagree, or take all three. For more information on the exhibit, on view through January 27, 2013, go to http://www.scadmoa.org.