Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

Ralph Lauren Collection, Fall 2011, black silk embroidered art deco evening dress (Chrysler bldg). Photo courtesy of SCAD.
September 11, 2012
Little Black Dress

September 28, 2012–January 27, 2013

SCAD Museum of Art
601 Turner Boulevard
Savannah, Georgia 31401

Curated by André Leon Talley

Little Black Dress, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)’s premier exhibition of Fall 2012 season, charts the historic and contemporary significance of a singular sartorial phenomenon. Curated by SCAD trustee and Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley, and sponsored by M·A·C Cosmetics, Little Black Dress opens to the public on September 28, 2012.

Featuring approximately 80 garments from a canon of modern fashion designers, the exhibition includes contributions from veteran designers and those of the International Best-Dressed List such as Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada and Renee Zellwegger. The exhibition will be on display through January 27, 2013 in Savannah at the SCAD Museum of Art with plans to be shown in select cities worldwide in 2013.

Little Black Dress is designed to showcase the divergent and individual manifestations of the little black dress across this modern century and the last,” said Talley. “The exhibition highlights the strength of individualism, charting the evolution of the little black dress from its native definition of invariable propriety, to new and distinctly contemporary explorations of texture, tone, and silhouette.”

Tracing the bold curve of social history across the 20th and 21st centuries, Little Black Dress explores the evolution of a definitive yet democratic style that, for more than a century, has embodied the shifting social tides of the modern world. In its ubiquity and versatility, the little black dress has delivered some of the most indelible images of our visual age. Endlessly appropriated and translated, each dress is imbued with the value of its day—from service to independence, from restraint to temptation, from glamour to grace.

“This exhibition celebrates the little black dress in its myriad forms, from the pleated Fortuny dress of the late C.Z. Guest, a style icon and great friend; to the impossibly elegant Madame Grès silk crepe de chine dress from 1977; to Carolina Herrera’s black silk faille dress, a personal favorite she designed for herself this year,” said Talley. “Little Black Dress also includes the work of two recent SCAD graduates: Alexis Asplundh, who works in neoprene (the new crepe de chine for designers like Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, who has a neoprene dress in the exhibition) and Victoria Wilmoth, whose evening gown embellished with exquisite gilded plumes is an ode to sharpness and originality.”

Featured garments presented in Little Black Dress include a selection from Tom Ford’s Fall/Winter 2011 collection, previously worn by Lady Gaga; a selection from Prabal Gurung‘s Fall 2011 collection, previously worn by Sarah Jessica Parker; a Nile Cmylo worn by and designed in collaboration with Mariah Carey; and a Stella McCartney worn by Rihanna.  Many other iconic pieces will be displayed including those from Chanel, L’Wren Scott, Givenchy, Cushnie et Ochs, Yves Saint Laurent, Isabel Toledo, among others.

“SCAD is delighted to premiere Little Black Dress this fall,” said SCAD President and Cofounder Paula Wallace. “As envisioned through Andre Leon Talley’s seasoned curatorial eye, this landmark exhibition will introduce iconic designs in fashion to a new generation of SCAD innovators and visitors from around the world.”

John Demsey, Group President Estee Lauder Companies added, “We at M·A·CCosmetics believe passionately in educational partnerships and in supporting exhibitions such as Little Black Dress and we have a history of doing just that. We know the students at SCAD and the public alike will truly enjoy this retrospective of the most well-known and trusted garment in any women’s wardrobe. To accompany the exhibit, M·A·Chas created makeup face charts to correspond with many of the pieces displayed, which will be featured in the catalogue. It is an honor to support SCAD and André for this exciting project.”

Taking place in conjunction with the exhibition will be a variety of public museum events and programs, including community tours and a panel discussion featuring designers, journalists, and other fashion professionals. A full list of related programming will be announced in September 2012.
About André Leon Talley
SCAD trustee and Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley has served as a mentor for SCAD fashion students for over a decade. Talley began his career assisting Diana Vreeland at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute, and later wrote for Interview Magazine and Women’s Wear Daily, before joining Vogue in 1983.

Little Black Dress is the second exhibition curated by Talley to take place at the SCAD Museum of Art. Talley’s first exhibition at the museum, High Style, was presented for the reopening of the expanded SCAD Museum of Art in October 2011, and featured the iconic works of esteemed André Leon Talley Lifetime Award honorees. In October 2011, Talley curated Joaquín Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress, a seminal exhibition at the Queen Sofia Spanish Institute in New York, analyzing the rich history of Spain’s regional clothing styles through the monumental paintings of Valencian artist Joaquín Sorolla y Bastida (1863–1923).

About the André Leon Talley Gallery and the SCAD Museum of Art
The André Leon Talley Gallery, the only dedicated couture gallery in the southern United States, celebrates style in its myriad of forms. The gallery is housed in the new SCAD Museum of Art, the most extensive preservation project in the university’s renowned history of adaptive reuse and community revitalization. The gallery’s position within the museum allows its exhibitions to engage with a diverse panorama of contemporary art exhibitions by internationally renowned artists, the prestigious Walter O. Evans Center for African American Studies, and other permanent holdings, including fashion photographs from 19th and 20th century masters.

About SCAD
The Savannah College of Art and Design is a private, nonprofit, accredited institution conferring bachelor’s and master’s degrees at distinctive locations and online to prepare talented students for professional careers. SCAD offers degrees in more than 40 areas of study, as well as minors in nearly 60 disciplines in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning.

SCAD has more than 20,000 alumni and offers an exceptional education and unparalleled career preparation. The diverse student body, consisting of more than 11,000 students, comes from all 50 United States and nearly 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of more than 700 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience. These professors emphasize learning through individual attention in an inspiring university environment.

For more information, visit Follow the SCAD Museum of Art on Twitter @scadmoa.

About M·A·C Cosmetics
M·A·C (Make-up Art Cosmetics), a leading brand of professional cosmetics, was created in Toronto, Canada in 1984 and is part of The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc. The company’s popularity has grown through a tradition of word-of-mouth endorsement from makeup artists, models, photographers and journalists around the world. M·A·C is now sold in 79 countries/territories worldwide. Follow M·A·C on Twitter @MACcosmetics, become a M·A·C fan on Facebook, watch M·A·C videos on YouTube and find our M·A·C Senior Artists at For a M·A·C location visit
Media contacts
Elizabeth Reina-Longoria, or Deirdre Maher, Blue Medium: T +1 212 675 1800 /
[email protected], [email protected]
Ally Hughes, SCAD: T +1 912 525 5250/ [email protected]


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Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)
September 11, 2012

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