Fashion staple stars at Roseville library event

The always stylish fashion industry staple the little black dress will be the star of a historic fashion show at Roseville Public Library on Saturday, Nov. 3.

“The little black dress has had such an impact. No other piece of attire women have worn has had such an impact,” Fashion and the Automobile Fashion curator Lynn Anderson said.

The Little Black Dress will be presented by Fashion and the Automobile: An Exhibit in 10 Eras at 1 p.m. Women are invited to wear their own little black dresses to the fashion show exclusively featuring this item.

“It is one of the newer shows, it highlights Coco Chanel’s creation from 1926,” Anderson said. “It still rules the fashion runways today. The little black dress is as popular as ever.”

The show will feature 12 or 14 little black dresses worn by live models and mannequins. The presentation will pre-date 1926 to illustrate how black dresses were viewed in the Victorian era.

“It was worn as a sign of mourning,” Anderson said. “You’d wear it for a year or two or three years, depending on the stage of mourning.”

By 1926, however, Henry Ford’s black Model T was already popular for the masses. Chanel applied the basic black concept to women’s dresses, creating a look for women that worked for day, evening, formal and informal occasions, Anderson said. With cartoon Betty Boop wearing a little black dress in the 1930s and the onset of the Great Depression, more and more women sought out the Chanel creation, according to Anderson.

“Women decided it was not for mourning anymore and wore it to feel dressy, to work, and to feel put together.” Anderson said.

The only decade which did not have representation of the little black dress is the 1970s, as during this time period little black dresses gave way to bright colors.

“All of a sudden it was back in the 1980s, thanks to Princess Diana,” Anderson said.

Even England’s new princesses, Meghan Markle and Kate Middleton, have adopted little black dresses, according to Anderson.

“In the 1960s, who made it big was ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ Audrey Hepburn,” Anderson said. “Everyone wanted to be Audrey Hepburn.”

Fashion and the Automobile: An Exhibit in 10 Eras debuted in October 2010 at the Anton Art Center in Mount Clemens. Presented by curators Victoria Mobley, Anderson and Elaine Vermeersch, Fashion and the Automobile highlights changes in popular culture developed by the evolution of the car. The group also hosts a variety of history and fashion oriented programs. The Little Black Dress presentation was begun about three years ago, and the group has hosted the presentation only twice this year prior to the Roseville show.

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