26 March 2013



 Cushnie et Ochs, LBD in neoprene, 2013
"The little black dress is the essential uniform for every woman's every occasion." Carly Cushnie & Michelle Ochs

about a dozen years ago I had the pleasure of meeting Andre Leon Talley at a book signing for his autobiography- ALT. What a terrific book it is! Talley's story is one all fashion forward youngsters living in the outposts-far outposts away from the World of Fashion can read and take heart-and courage from (required reading for all design hopefuls). Growing up in Durham North Carolina, Talley has remained true to his roots while tramping round New York, Paris and Milan in couture made caftans, sweeping capes, and the occasional very large bauble on a chain.
See-the South grows Originals, fashion loves an Original and ALT is one fashion blue blood. ALT seems to be Auntie Mame, Oscar Wilde & Bobby Short all rolled into one opera pumped bon vivant! 
ALT's  LBD book is very ALT-stylish & memorable just like its subject-the little black dress. 

 Vreeland protege, ALT has her razor sharp sartorial sense.  
André Leon Talley and Diana Vreeland, 1974. © Photograph by Bill Cunningham for The New York Times

A great patron saint of the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Talley curated the college's most recent exhibition Little Black Dress. The book-by the same name- is filled with the perfect black dress-80 of them to be exact, and what makes the book so smashing is that each of those Little Black dresses makes an impact all its own. Talley's Little Black Dress is photographed by Adam Kuehl, SCAD alumni, in black and white, with "Vreeland" red*pages interspersed throughout the book,creating sartorial shivers of satisfaction while reading commentary from ALT and his contributors.Along with dresses from the twentieth century dresses into the current one, Talley has assembled an amazing collection to narrate the tale of the little black dress.

 "The zenith of elegance in any woman's wardrobe is the little black dress, the power of which suggests dash and refinement." Andre Leon Talley

Carolina Herrera, 2007
of the little black dress: "...above all, it must be simple and little and black." CH

Rodarte, 2006
"The creation of the black dress is the purest form of expression for a designer. 
The absence of color allows one to focus on the fundamental elements of design: texture, tone, and silhouette." Kate & Laura Mulleavy

Norma Kamali, mid 1970's
"Black is a definitive statement..." Norma Kamali

Black is the hardest color in the world to get right—except for gray...,” so said Diana Vreeland. Talley's selected LBD's get it right and his book gets it very right. It's beautiful, expertly curated, and destined to be a Classic.

*"All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red. I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’—they have no idea what I’m talking about. About the best red is to copy the color of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait." Diana Vreeland.

on the cover, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel Couture, 2006
all photographs by Adam Kuehl, © SCAD unless otherwise noted
 published by Skira Rizzoli and available here



  1. This looks like a must... as I adore anything to do with LBDs... Your blog is looking gorgeous by the way... xv

  2. the fact alt isn't a slim blonde makes his views interesting, and I have never seen a bad book from rizzoli.

  3. I need a new LBD!! But it has to be perfect.

  4. Divine. ALT scares me a little, but Norma Kamali was my idol for years. Plus I think I've now figured out how to comment and toggle between social platforms and wanted to tell you what a fan I am of yours, always

    1. the Norma Kamali is wonderful. still, I am learning new things with the net that others have moved on from-I'm with You! I need to get my next Didier fix! pgt



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