The SCAD Museum of Art at the Savannah College of Art and Design presents Little Black Dress, curated by André Leon Talley, SCAD trustee, editor at large for Numéro Russia and contributing editor at Vogue. The exhibition will take place in France at the Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture, 34 avenue de New York, 75116 Paris. Sponsored by M·A·C Cosmetics, it is on view to the public July 3-Sept. 22.
Little Black Dress charts the historic and contemporary significance of a singular sartorial phenomenon. Featuring approximately 50 looks, the exhibition includes contributions from a canon of modern fashion designers and international best-dressed list stars including Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Miuccia Prada, Tom Ford, Prabal Gurung, Proenza Schouler, Oscar de la Renta and Lady Gaga. The exhibition was inaugurated in Savannah, Georgia, at the SCAD Museum of Art in September 2012.
“Little Black Dress is designed to showcase the divergent and individual manifestations of the little black dress across this century and the last,” said Talley. “The exhibition highlights the strength of individualism, charting the evolution of the little black dress from its original definition of invariable propriety, to new and distinctly contemporary explorations of texture, tone and silhouette.”
Tracing the bold curve of 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 crêpe de chine dress from 1977,” said Talley. “Little Black Dress also includes the work of a recent SCAD graduate: Alexis Asplundh, who works in neoprene (the new crêpe de chine for designers like Alber Elbaz of Lanvin, who also has a neoprene dress in the exhibition).”
John Demsey, group president of The Estée Lauder Companies Inc. 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 SCAD community and the public alike will truly enjoy this retrospective of the most well-known and trusted garment in any woman’s wardrobe. It is an honor to support SCAD and André for this exciting project.”
Other featured garments presented in Little Black Dress include a selection from Prabal Gurung’s Fall 2011 collection, previously worn by Sarah Jessica Parker, and a Stella McCartney worn by Rihanna. Many other iconic pieces will be displayed including those from L’Wren Scott, Givenchy, Cushnie et Ochs and Yves Saint Laurent, among others.
“SCAD is proud to introduce Little Black Dress to a new audience at the Mona Bismarck American Center,” said Paula Wallace, SCAD president and cofounder. “Tailored to the Parisian summer, it will be a ‘must have’ this season.”
André Leon Talley, SCAD trustee, Numéro Russia editor at large and Vogue contributing editor, has served as a mentor for SCAD fashion students for more than 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 for the SCAD Museum of Art. Talley’s first exhibition at the museum, High Style, organized for the reopening of the expanded SCAD Museum of Art in October 2011, featured the works of esteemed recipients of SCAD’s André Leon Talley Lifetime Achievement Award. In October 2011, Talley curated Joaquín Sorolla and the Glory of Spanish Dress, a seminal exhibition at the Queen Sofía 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).
The André Leon Talley Gallery, the only dedicated couture gallery in the southern United States, celebrates style in its myriad 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.
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 more than 60 disciplines in Savannah and Atlanta, Georgia; in Hong Kong; in Lacoste, France; and online through SCAD eLearning. SCAD has more than 25,000 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 U.S., states and more than 100 countries worldwide. Each student is nurtured and motivated by a faculty of nearly 700 professors with extraordinary academic credentials and valuable professional experience.
For more information, visit scadmoa.org. Follow the SCAD Museum of Art on Twitter @scadmoa.
M·A·C (Makeup Art Cosmetics), a leading brand of professional cosmetics, was created in Toronto 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 83 countries and 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 macartiststweets.com. For a M·A·C location visit maccosmetics.com.
The Mona Bismarck American Center for art and culture aims to offer the public a wide variety of arts and cultural experiences through American innovative programming choices in the heart of Paris. The new Mona Bismarck American Center was launched in 2011, based on the foundations of the former Mona Bismarck Foundation. The foundation became active in 1986, following the death of its founder and patron, the American philanthropist Countess Mona Bismarck, formerly Mrs. Harrison Williams.
Passionate about art and culture, Mona Bismarck has made numerous donations. In order to perpetuate her work, she bequeathed her mansion and the majority of its assets to the foundation in order to further strengthen the Franco-American friendship through art and culture, which remains, to this day, the main mission of the Center.
For more information, visit monabismarck.org.