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Fashion Notes: The Perfect LBD
by The Kindly One


As has been much lamented, contemporary fashion has been obsessed with newness: new shapes, new textures, new ways to style clothes, new ways to rehash the 80s, etc. This is great in terms of innovation, as pushing the envelope is one way to move design forward and find out where the boundaries really are. It's terrible for timelessness, though, which means that, no matter how much you pay for your clothes, they're basically disposable. Sure, allowing for fit and age-appropriateness, you can wear your current clothes again in twenty years, when the current fashions are being revived, and you can wear them right now, but when the fashion pendulum swings round again in two or three years, you won't be able to wear today's clothes without looking like you don't know what year you're in.

As with fashion proper, so with LBDs. There is a glut of LBDs on the market right now banking on newness as their primary selling point, with newness indicated in terms of shape, structure, texture, reference point, and even the newness of turning the whole concept on its head and going for a Little White Dress instead. But rather than reinforcing the concept of and need for the LBD, or even the LWD, all this newness slowly renders the concept of the LBD obsolete as it wears away at the basic idea of the LBD itself, which is that Little Black Dresses must be timeless, versatile, and reflective of the wearer herself.

Not so with this stunner from Alexander Wang. Shown as part of his Resort 2010 collection, this dress is the embodiment of everything that is the traditional LBD. It's timeless, without pointed, exhaustive reference to any particular shape, structure, or era of fashion, even it's own. It's cut in a manner to drape over and enhance the figure without adding unnecessary bulk or an odd, unwearable structure. It's versatile enough to adapt to a variety of events, whether the event is a house party or a wedding (it would make a lovely bridesmaid dress). It's soft, feminine, simple, and elegant, which is event enough in itself in an era in which each dress, garment, accessory, and movement must be an event. It is simply a beautiful dress, and this is the point of the LBD (and clothing in general) that I think is being lost in the clutter and roar of newness, general trendiness, and the expansion of the elite club and the general public perception of what is "fashion." It is simply a beautiful dress that showcases and enhances the wearer's own beauty. This is not a simple feat to acheive, and it comes to greater effect than all the avant-garde offerings out right now because viewers are left with the personal, that this is a beautiful woman. That is always going to be more memorable and alluring than simply a great dress or a new idea for a garment. For all the great fashion innovation going on out there, there's still a place for taking a breather and simply enjoying and being beautiful (and really, if you're that beautiful, you don't need to avant-garde to fall back on, anyway). That's where the LBD and its timelessness come into play, because there's never a time when being beautiful won't be desired or attractive. And that's where this Alexander Wang dress hits the spot.

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7/25/2009 [1]

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