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Beyond the Little Black Dress explores design classics to cutting-edge catwalk creations, deconstructing this iconic garment and examining the radical power of the colour black in fashion.


Discover how fashion students were inspired to create black textiles and the behind the scenes care that garments received from our textile conservators in the run up to the exhibition.

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Black Swan 6 Copy

100 years of the Little Black Dress

Curator Georgina Ripley explores the evolution of the Little Black Dress, from Chanel and Dior to A-COLD-WALL* and VIN +OMI.

Explore the history of the Little Black Dress
The colour black is open to myriad interpretations. Simultaneously expressive of piety and perversion, respect and rebellion, it can be influenced by factors such as cultural background, faith, gender, political affiliation, or economic situation.
- Georgina Ripley, Principal Curator, Modern and Contemporary Design
Jean Muir Ltd, Black Suede Dress, 1970s (K.2005.649.1392.1).

Dress of black suede, by Jean Muir Ltd, c. 1970s (K.2005.649.1392.1-2)

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