The book of the exhibition, Beyond the Little Black Dress, 2 July-30 October 2022 at the National Museum of Scotland.
At its inception, the ‘Little Black Dress’ was radically modern: a masculine-inspired, anti-traditionalist female attire.
Yet it has remained a wardrobe staple for almost a century, each new silhouette redressing gendered boundaries of fashion to reflect evolving ideals of beauty and sexuality.
Attempting to reconcile the historical study of fashion in the West with the reality of a global fashion system of production, distribution and consumption, and the urgent demand for the industry to be more aware of its footfalls in our culture, Little Black Dress: A Radical Fashion, seeks to widen the lens through which we interpret the colour black.
Bringing together international scholars, curators and fashion writers, this volume explores how black’s paradoxical meanings have made the LBD simultaneously expressive of respect and rebellion, sophistication and dissident sexualities, piety and perversion.
Taking us from the ateliers of the 20th century’s most innovative designers of the LBD, its history in the evolution of avant-garde fashion in Japan and the assimilation of subcultural styles, to the intervention of smart technologies which are establishing a blueprint for a more sustainable future, it considers its capacity as a vessel for change.
Bridging tradition and innovation, fashion and anti-fashion, and remaining above the fray of mercurial trends, its longevity emerges as a form of resistance - a truly radical fashion.
Published by NMSE – Publishing
Edited by Georgina Ripley
260 x 210mm
84 illustrations, b/w + colour