The Evolution of the Little Black Dress

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The little black dress may have been introduced by Coco Chanel, but it was Audrey Hepburn who made the garment famous in the film Breakfast at Tiffany's. From Hepburn's Givenchy sheath to Queen Bey's embellished mini, the LBD has become the uniform of choice for some of the most iconic women in history. Here, we've chronicled the closet staple from the 1920s to now, proving its timeless appeal.

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Joan Bennett, January 1928

Joan Bennett kept the traditional flapper style—a drop waist and a paneled hem—but the black color makes it timeless.

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Lauren Bacall, December 1944

Lauren Bacall dresses up her v-neck LBD with a four-strand pearl choker and, of course, her killer stare.

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Elizabeth Taylor, January 1950

The full skirt and tight bustier of Elizabeth Taylor's dress was the epitome of style in the 1950s, but rather than follow the bright print and pattern trend of the time, the young starlet opted for a simple black fabric.

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Sophia At Cannes
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Sophia Loren, 1955

Actress Sophia Loren shows there's no limit to what you can do with a LBD, thanks to this pleated and nautical design that she wore in Cannes.

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Marilyn Monroe, July 1956

Marilyn Monroe's chic figure-hugging black sheath dress is proof that less is more.

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Audrey Hepburn, June 1961

Givenchy was chosen to design Audrey Hepburn's iconic black sheath dress that she wore in the opening scene of Breakfast at Tiffany's.

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Joan Crawford, October 1962

Joan Crawford opted for a tulle scoop neck black dress when she appeared on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson.

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Sophia Loren, 1965

Sophia Loren knew how to travel in style, which is why the actress opted for a belted black coat dress and cheetah print hat while flying with TWA in the '60s.

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Catherine Deneuve, September 1966

French actress Catherine Deneuve added a bit of flair to her simple black dress with a gold square belt and metal embellishments.

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Jaqueline Kennedy, September 1970

In true '70s style, Jackie O. stepped out of her New York City apartment wearing a chic chiffon- and ruffled-sleeved black dress.

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Madonna, November 1985

The "Like a Virgin" singer was known for her theatrics, which is why she shocked fans with her simple-yet-sophisticated black dress on Saturday Night Live in the '80s.

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Kate Moss, January 1990

A young model at the time, Kate Moss's black dress with a high neck and cutout details wowed on the red carpet alongside her boyfriend, Johnny Depp.

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Princess Diana, June 1994

Princess Diana's off-the-shoulder, form-fitting silk little black dress has been labeled "the revenge dress." She wore it the same night Prince Charles aired his tell-all documentary about the couple's marriage and subsequent divorce. Although Diana didn't make a statement that night, her LBD spoke volumes.

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Sarah Jessica Parker, January 1995

Pre-Carrie Bradshaw, Sarah Jessica Parker flexed her style skills in a short black slip dress and sheer tights.

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Reese Witherspoon, September 1997

If we could personify the '90s in one dress, Reese Witherspoon's spaghetti strap black mini dress for the House of Yes premiere would be it.

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Gwyneth Paltrow, November 2000

Gwyneth Paltrow took the little black dress to a whole new level at the Bounce premiere in 2000. The starlet opted for a strapless and knee-length ruched version of the classic style.

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Mischa Barton, December 2003

The open slit and one shoulder cut on Mischa Barton's Billboard Music Awards dress gave the look a modern spin.

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Naomi Campbell, February 2006

The below-the-knee length on Naomi Campbell's silk corset dress keeps the look sophisticated and classic.

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Angelina Jolie, May 2007

Angelina Jolie looked demure in a black lace dress at the Cannes Film Festival with Brad Pitt.

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Charlize Theron, June 2008

At the Hancock premiere in London, Charlize Theron rocked the red carpet in a peplum black dress with a sky-high slit.

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Kim Kardashian, September 2009

Kim Kardashian channels a vintage look in a detailed one shoulder black dress at the Jill Stuart fashion show.

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Victoria Beckham, September 2010

Black is a signature color of Victoria Beckham, so we're not surprised that Posh Spice showed up in this three-quarter-sleeve black dress for an event at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

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Jennifer Aniston, June 2011

The sequin embellishments on Jennifer Aniston's dress for the premiere of Horrible Bosses ensured the star is always red carpet ready.

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Olivia Palermo, December 2011

Olivia Palermo's outfit for the Valentino Garavani Virtual Museum launch is proof that a LBD doesn't have to have short sleeves.

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Karlie Kloss, June 2012

Karlie Kloss's LBD for the The Amazing Spider-Man premiere in New York City included both cutouts, sheer paneling, and a high neck for a modern and edgy look.

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Halle Berry, October 2012

Halle Berry dressed for success at Variety's 4th annual Power of Women event in a cap sleeved, belted black dress.

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Kerry Washington, January 2013

Kerry Washington's outfit at the 24th Annual Producers Guild Awards had a lot going on—from the black dress's sheer lace detailing and ruffled hem to the actress's matching lip and clutch—and it was fabulous.

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Christy Turlington, November 2013

Christy Turlington channeled the 1920s with her flapper-inspired black dress that she wore to an event in New York City.

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Kate Middleton, April 2014

Regal as ever, the Duchess of Cambridge added a bit of glamour to her long-sleeved black dress with a crystal embellishment on her shoulder.

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Cara Delevingne, September 2014

Cara Delevingne turned a simple LBD into a rocker chic get-up simply by adding a belt and leather jacket for The Face of an Angel premiere party.

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