Periodically I go to the H&M store on 34th Street at Herald Square (directly across from Macy’s) to check out their Third Floor Home Section, which is excellent. That said, I think their apparel for females is lacking in quality and workmanship – I wouldn’t even buy one of their T-shirts.
This means that I whip through the Main Floor real fast as I head for the escalator to go up. But a few weeks ago, one item stopped me in my tracks. I spotted a LBD (Little Black Dress) that was really well done: very simple and quite elegant. Since this was H&M I decided to check the price. I’ll be honest, I can’t recall exactly what it was – but I know it was absurdly low and, with smart heels and glam jewelry, one could easily pass it off as a $400 number.
NO WONDER “VOGUE” CALLED CHANEL’S LBD “HER FORD"
The LBD goes way back to the 1920s with Coco Chanel who, as we all know, is famous for her timeless designs (an unstructured, quilted, cardigan-style jacket with four pockets) and her trousers that she created for females because she liked wearing them herself. “I gave women a sense of freedom,” she once said.
The Duchess of Windsor owned several LBDs and said, “When a little black dress is right, there is nothing else to wear in its place.” And Edith Piaf, the French singer famous for La Vie en Rose (which she wrote) performed in a LBD because she believed it made audiences focus on her singing and not on her appearance.
GIVENCHY: “FRANCE LOST A MASTER OF ELEGANCE”
When Givenchy died on March 10, 2018 these words were uttered by French president Emmanuel Macron in tribute to a designer who symbolized Parisian chic for more than half a century.
A personal memory: I once saw Givenchy on the first floor of Tiffany’s which is located on Fifth Avenue at 57th Street. I spotted him immediately. How? He towered over everyone around him. I just read that he was 6’ 5” and I believe it. Not only that, he was drop-dead gorgeous – we’re talking Hollywood-movie-star handsome. And, of course, he was beautifully turned out in an elegant custom-made suit.
Givenchy was born into an aristocratic family in the city of Beauvais on February 21, 1927. He left for Paris in his late teens and worked for couturier Jacques Fath where he learned the basics of fashion design. He founded his own house in 1952 when he was only 25.
A year later he was told that Mademoiselle Hepburn was coming in for a fitting. He mistakenly expected Katharine Hepburn and was surprised when Audrey showed up dressed in cigarette pants, a T-shirt and sandals.
Hepburn and Givenchy – photo courtesy of the New York Post
This was the beginning of a very long friendship that saw Givenchy dress the star in nearly a dozen films, including the 1961 hit Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
The long, black silk evening gown she wore in the movie, adorned with a pearl necklace, black opera gloves and oversized sunglasses would end up becoming Givenchy’s most famous look. Later in the movie she wears a knee-length LBD – “little” is not referring to the length of the dress, but rather its ease and simplicity.
In 2006, the original sleeveless floor-length gown that Givenchy created for Breakfast at Tiffany’s sold for close to $l million at Christie’s auction house in London.
Hepburn with her foot-long cigarette holder
Ultimately, Hepburn wore a gown that has been described as “the most famous LBD of all time.”Shaun Nelson-Henrick
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