Classic Style Inspiration: the Monochrome Dress
Why you should opt for monochrome if you want to stand out from the crowd
Simplicity can be incredibly striking. Whilst both white and black dresses stand out in their own right, monochrome dramatically combines the two. Examples of this glamorous, dramatic look are demonstrated in the images of Hollywood starlets below:
Beautiful footage of Marilyn wearing her printed monochrome dress for 'Something's Gotta Give' (1962) can be seen in the video below:
An appreciation of the elegance of monochrome can be seen in early designs of the first high fashion houses. Lanvin was founded in 1889 and is the oldest French fashion house to still be in operation (lanvin.com). The Lanvin dress in the 1924 photograph below features a predominantly monochrome dress with black appliques and a rust velvet bow.
Chanel, which was founded in 1910 (chanel.com), often include monochrome creations in their collections to this day. The 2023 Met Gala, named 'Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty', has highlighted how many people associate monochrome with Chanel; many stars chose to reference Karl Lagerfeld's work for the fashion house by wearing black and white Chanel/Chanel inspired dresses. Also, Coco Chanel herself often wore a combination of black and white.
A number of early Dior designs, a house which was founded in 1946 (instyle.com, 2022), demonstrate the elegance of monochrome and are likely to have elevated the popularity of the look during the mid-century.
During the 1960s, a time when no look was too eye-catching, monochrome featured predominantly in mod fashion. Monochrome mini shift dresses were popular at the time and are an iconic look of the era (see image below). The popularity of block colours during the decade may have been influenced by Andy Warhol's block colour silk screen images. He began this artistic process in 1962 when he created grid-like paintings of dollar bills. (sothebys.com) Mary Quant, who has been referred to as the inventor of the mini dress (vam.ac.uk), designed many monochrome mini shift dresses in the '60s. These mod-style black and white dresses are a fun and retro look that can be dressed up or down.
Finally, let's look at some of the stand out monochrome dresses that have recently featured on the runway and red carpet.
Let me know in the comments what you think of monochrome dresses. Also, which of the shared dresses do you like the most? Click the Pinterest logo below to see more monochrome inspiration and my picks of current black and white buys:
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