>  "Little Black Dress" exhibition curated by Andre Leon Talley
Aug. 22, 2012
Ralph Lauren Collection, Fall 2011, black silk embroidered art deco evening dress (Chrysler bldg).
Ralph Lauren Collection, Fall 2011, black silk embroidered art deco evening dress (Chrysler bldg).

The SCAD Museum of Art is pleased to present Little Black Dress, the premier exhibition of the Fall 2012 season. The exhibition, curated by SCAD trustee and Vogue Contributing Editor André Leon Talley, will open to the public on September 28th and is sponsored by M·A·C Cosmetics.

Little Black Dress charts the historic and contemporary significance of a singular sartorial phenomenon. 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 Zellweger.

The exhibition will be on display through Jan. 27, 2013 in Savannah at the SCAD Museum of Art with plans to be shown in select cities worldwide in 2013.

Exhibition highlights the strength of individualism

"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."

Selection of garments

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.

Iconic designs in fashion

"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·C Cosmetics 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·C has 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."

Additional SCAD Museum of Art events

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 the Savannah College of Art and Design

SCAD 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, Ontario 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.

Media contacts

For further information about this exhibition, images, or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Elizabeth Reina-Longoria or Deirdre Maher
Blue Medium
T: +1 (212) 675-1800

Ally Hughes
Senior Public Relations Manager
Savannah College of Art and Design
T: +1 (912) 525-5250