Many years ago when I had to promo my arts writing, I donned my not-so-little black dress and some pearls, asked the ever-gracious Metropolitan Museum of Art to let me shoot in its galleries and planted myself in front of the ultimate LBD painting, John Singer Sargent’s “Madame X.” I loved the result so much that I framed one of the pictures and put it on my piano.
What is it about the little black dress that makes it so irresistible? It’s timely and timeless, classic and modern, the go-to for any occasion. Recently, I found myself in Singapore, the Paris of Asia, for just one day. One of my LBDs proved the perfect complement for a whirlwind of shopping, dining and sightseeing.
If you, too, are an LBD fan, then you’ll want to pick up a copy of “Little Black Dress” by Westchester’s own fashionisto André Leon Talley. This latest coffee-table tome from Skira Rizzoli (208 pages, $50) is like the LBD itself – serious enough to be substantive, demure enough so as not to overwhelm. There are some drop-dead gorgeous gowns and dresses, elegantly, dramatically photographed by Adam Kuehl in black and white. But I love the essays, too, particularly Maureen Dowd’s take on Natalie Wood’s LBD in “Love With the Proper Stranger” and how it transforms her into a woman in Steve McQueen’s eyes.
To Dowd I say: Girlfriend, your writing makes me sigh.
Talley will talk about “The Power of Style: Celebrating the Little Black Dress” at 7 p.m. April 15 at the French Institute Alliance Française’s Florence Gould Hall in Manhattan. Tickets are $25. For more, visit fiaf.org. – Georgette Gouveia