Collection Online
silk, glass beads
125.0 cm (centre back) 47.0 cm (waist, flat)
Place/s of Execution
Paris, France
Accession Number
International Fashion and Textiles
Credit Line
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
Purchased, NGV Foundation, 2013
© Courtesy of CHANEL, Paris
Gallery location
Not on display
In 1926, Vogue likened Chanel’s little black dress to the Model T Ford. Both were reflective of an approach to design and living that focused on speed, efficiency and elegance. Clothes were designed to move. Chanel’s dress slid easily over the uncorseted body. ‘I wanted’, wrote Chanel, ‘to give women comfortable clothes that would flow with her body’. In black, it cited the new urban uniforms of shopgirls and professional men, investing it with sobriety and gravitas, yet it also remained chic, flattering, seductive and mysterious. Its staggered, vertical-beaded ribbons reflected Art Deco’s characteristic geometric stylisation.