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The Northeast Georgia History Center Presents the Little Black Dress Exhibit

January 17, 2007 - The Northeast Georgia History Center Presents the Little Black Dress Exhibit
The Northeast Georgia History Center is pleased to announce the opening of The Little Black Dress, an exhibition mounted in collaboration with Brenau University. The Little Black Dress will include women’s fashions dating from the 1880’s to the 1970’s. The exhibition traces the history and influence of two different types of garments - the 19th century women’s bodice and the 20th century little black dress. Each of these displays draws heavily from Brenau University’s collection of vintage clothing.
The exhibition includes numerous 19th century women’s bodices (gown tops) from the Bete Todd Wages Vintage Clothing Collection. These garments range in style from the simply cut black taffeta of a middle class lady to elaborately decorated and constructed creations. Jet beading, chenille cording, hand sewn tucks, and delicate lace make up these intricate designs. These bodices reflect a time when black was a color most often worn during periods of mourning, although black was also found in men’s and women’s formal wear. The somber mood of these bodices is a contrast to how black has been celebrated in the form of the modern little black dress.
Dressmakers of the 19th century created scores of black dresses for all classes of women. However, Coco Chanel is credited with designing and popularizing a simple garment now known as the little black dress. For decades, the little black dress has been the staple of every woman’s wardrobe. Suitable for a cocktail party, dinner, reception, or funeral, the simplicity of an unbroken line of black evokes sophistication and elegance. It has become such a staple of our wardrobe that it has earned its own anonym, LBD. The little black dress has seen numerous changes over the years, often reflecting the nation’s mood and political climate.
The exhibit features 20th century dresses and accessories from the Princess Lucie Shirazi Jadot-Rops Collection. Princess Shirazi’s ensembles date from the 1940’s thorough the 1970’s. This collection comprises the core of the display of the evolution of the modern little black dress. A lovely taffeta Dior-inspired “New Look” dress and a 1950’s dress by noted designer Christobal Balenciaga are just two of the highlights of the exhibit that traces the numerous incarnations of the LBD in the 80+ years that it has been a part of our popular culture.
The opening reception for The Little Black Dress will be held at the History Center on Thursday, January 18 at 6:30p.m. The Little Black Dress will be on display until April 29. Throughout the exhibition period there are programs and activities designed to educate and entertain Center visitors. The first of these event will be held on Saturday, January 27 as the Center’s Young Professionals group hosts a Little Black Dress party. The exhibition’s closing reception on April 28 will feature a screening of Breakfast at Tiffany’s which stars Audrey Hepburn wearing the quintessential little black dress.
For more information about the exhibition and ancillary programs, contact the Center at 770-297-5900.


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