Before a farsighted Mademoiselle decreed the LBD a fashion must-have, black was reserved for mourning; if worn otherwise, it was considered downright indecent (oh, the scandal caused by a fabulously black-clad - and distinctly non-mourning - Madame X in John Singer Sargent's 19th century portrait). In 1926, Vogue published a sleek black Chanel dress - straight, calf-length, and almost entirely without adornment - dubbing it "Chanel's Ford" because, like the Model T, it was affordable, simple, and widely accessible. The magazine also predicted it would become "a sort of uniform for all women of taste."
Acknowledging the enduring power of black, Chanel Makeup Creative Director, Peter Philips, created Collection Noirs Obscurs, an avant garde tribute in eye, lip, and nail colors - each replete with the nuances and undertones you would expect in such an iconic shade. Limited to a single feature, the look is quietly elegant, while worn together, they create quite the dramatic statement.
Available starting November 2009 at Chanel.com.
- Lesley Scott
(images: Vogue fashion plate from 1926 - Art and Fashion: The Impact of Art on Fashion and Fashion on Art by Alice Mackrell (Batsford, 2005); photo of Chanel dress from 1926 - Bunny Got Blog)
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