Exhibition Opening: Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night

  • Missouri History Museum 5700 Lindell Blvd St. Louis, MO 63112

Presented by the Missouri History Museum
Little Black Dress: From Mourning to Night
April 2-September 5, 2016 | Free

The Little Black Dress—a simple, short cocktail dress—is a sartorial staple for most contemporary women. Prior to the early 20th century, simple, unadorned black garments were limited to mourning, and strict social rules regarding mourning dress were rigidly observed.

Influential French designer Coco Chanel revolutionized fashion by introducing the versatile, affordable, accessible garment. Today, the wearing of black at funerals is in decline and it is not uncommon to see black at weddings—including on the bride! Such flaunting of tradition was unthinkable and scandalous to earlier generations.

Featuring more than 60 dresses from the Missouri History Museum's world-renowned textile collection, this fun—but thought-provoking—exhibit will explore the subject of mourning, as well as the transition of black from a symbol of grief to a symbol of high fashion. You will also see fascinating artifacts—from hair jewelry to tear catchers—that were once a regular part of the mourning process. Plus, you will have the chance to share your own memories of your favorite little black dress and even get the opportunity to design your own dress!