15 of the Most Iconic Little Black Dresses of All Time

Fashion historians credit Coco Chanel with popularizing the “little black dress” as haute couture in the 1920s.

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Coco Chanel’s “little black dress” was shown at the auction. It sold for 1,500 pounds, which equates to $3,000, at Christie’s.

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According to The Atlantic, an October 1926 issue of Vogue featured a sketch of a black, long-sleeved sheath dress made by Coco Chanel. The magazine’s editors predicted the dress would “become sort of a uniform for all women of taste.”

The outlet notes that little black dresses were already linked to the working class and those in mourning, but as it found its way into magazines and showrooms, the dress became popular for upper-class women as well.

Vogue’s prediction proved to be true. The style took off and can now be found in a wide array of silhouettes, lengths, and sizes. The little black dress, commonly abbreviated as the “LBD,” has long been considered an iconic classic and a closet staple for many people — including celebrities.

The off-the-shoulder black dress Princess Diana wore is so famous it has its own nickname: “The Revenge Dress.”

Princess Diana wears the "revenge dress" and stretches her hand out to greet someone


Princess Diana at London’s Serpentine Gallery in June 1994.

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In 1994, Princess Diana donned a velvet, off-the-shoulder minidress for an event at the Serpentine Gallery in London, England.

The dress, designed by Christina Stambolian, made headlines for its daring silhouette — and for its timing. Diana wore the ensemble the same night that her husband Prince Charles admitted in a tell-all documentary that he had been unfaithful to her, The New York Times reported.

Diana’s most famous little black dress broke with royal convention and made a name for itself in fashion history.

The Versace safety pin dress Elizabeth Hurley wore for the “Four Weddings and Funeral” premiere in 1994 thrust her into the spotlight.

Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant walking together and smiling at the premiere of "Four Weddings and a Funeral."


Elizabeth Hurley and Hugh Grant at the premiere of “Four Weddings and a Funeral” on May 11, 1994, in London, England.

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Another major moment for little black dresses also came in 1994 when Elizabeth Hurley wore a black Versace dress adorned with gold safety pins to the premiere of “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” She attended the event with her then-boyfriend Hugh Grant, who was in the film.

The Telegraph reported in 2014 that Hurley, an unknown actress at the time, described the dress as a “favor” from Versace because she couldn’t afford one. Someone from the Italian fashion house told her there was one item left in their press office that she could wear.

Now commonly referred to as “THAT dress” by fans and media outlets like CNN and Yahoo!, the Versace number made a lasting statement.

“What was notable about Liz Hurley was that it wasn’t actually her film premiere,” Dr. Rebecca Arnold, a fashion history lecturer at The Courtauld Institute of Art, told The Telegraph. “She was one of the first to use clothing to create celebrity and promote aspects of herself … ”

The 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” cemented Audrey Hepburn, and the iconic dress she wore, into fashion history.

Audrey Hepburn dressed up in a black gown as Holly Golightly


Actress Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in a publicity photo for “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” in 1961.

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The legendary actress, who played a character named Holly Golightly in the movie, looked glamorous in the simple black dress, accessorized with a pearl necklace, tiara, and elbow-length gloves. The influential look was designed by Hubert de Givenchy, founder of the luxury fashion house Givenchy.

Hepburn’s dress from “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” sold for $807,000 in 2006, according to “Today.” The instantly recognizable look was also updated for the Givenchy Haute Couture fall show in 2018 after Givenchy’s death, Elle reported at the time.

Meghan Markle looked timeless and elegant in a black fit-and-flare dress in 2018.

Meghan Markle walking with Prince Harry in a black dress


Meghan Markle attends the centenary celebration of the Royal Air Force on July 10, 2018, in London, England.

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The Duchess of Sussex switched up her style when she attended the centenary celebration of the Royal Air Force in 2018.

Cosmopolitan wrote at the time that Meghan typically dressed in form-fitting shift dresses, so the fit-and-flare Dior silhouette was a new look for her.

Meghan’s ensemble was reminiscent of Christian Dior’s “New Look,” a collection the designer unveiled in 1947 showcasing full skirts and tight waistlines. The royal’s black version, paired with a sculptural headpiece by Stephen Jones, proves that the style is still a classic look.

Cindy Crawford stunned in a black Hervé Léger bandage dress at a party in 1998.

Cindy Crawford smiles in a black bandage dress


Cindy Crawford at the Vogue Magazine 100th anniversary party in New York City in 1998.

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Per Glamour, a 1993 runway review by The New York Times described Léger’s signature silhouette as “elastic strips of fabric sewn together to make girdle-tight dresses.”

The designer’s “bandage” clothing was produced in a number of colors and cuts, but supermodel Cindy Crawford stood out when she wore a little black dress by Léger to a Vogue anniversary party in 1998. Glamour notes she was one of the models that wore the original bandage pieces on the runway.

Crawford paired the look with feathered gloves and black heels, but she totally embodied the chic, understated glamour that defined 90s fashion.

Cher took the idea of the little black dress and made it her own.

Cher posing in a black outfit designed by Bob Mackie


Cher poses backstage at the 58th Academy Awards on March 24, 1986.

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In a 2019 “Life in Looks” video with Vogue, Cher revealed that her 1986 Oscars outfit was one of her all-time favorites. The singer and actress wore her own twist on the LBD, sparkling in a black, midriff-bearing outfit designed by Bob Mackie.

Mackie was inspired by showgirls when he designed Cher’s ensemble and matching headdress, according to Vanity Fair. The publication writes the designer told The New Yorker that Cher’s look was meant to draw attention after she was snubbed at the awards ceremony.

“She was pissed off, because she didn’t get nominated for [the film] ‘Mask,'” Mackie said, per Vanity Fair. “There were a lot of people who said, ‘That’s not fashion!’ And I said, ‘Of course it’s not fashion. It’s a crazy getup for attention.'”

Rihanna made waves in 2022 for her maternity style, but this sheer take was one of her most notable looks.

Rihanna in a sheer black maternity gown


Rihanna outside of the Dior show during Paris Fashion Week on March 1, 2022 in Paris, France.

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The singer told Vogue in May that she wanted to redefine maternity fashion, but her sheer Dior look reexamined the little black dress as well.

In one of her best outfits of the year, Rihanna showed off her belly in a black lace bra and thong beneath a sheer lace skirt, creating the illusion of a dress.

She finished the look with thigh-high boots, a leather coat, and stacked necklaces.

Kim Kardashian asked her Twitter followers to pick her outfit for the 2016 VMAs. They chose this sheer mini, which she paired with strappy sandals and wet-look hair.

Kim Kardashian in a black minidress and strappy black sandals


Kim Kardashian at the 2016 MTV Video Music Awards on August 28, 2016, in New York City.

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In an unlikely twist from the Skims founder, Kardashian asked her Twitter followers to help her dress for the VMAs in 2016. Refinery29 reported at the time that the reality TV star posted a poll and asked people to vote for a “casual chill look” and “dressy sexy look.”

After the sexy look won by a slim margin, Kardashian showed up at the event in a cinched, sheer minidress that complimented her dark hair.

Angelina Jolie had the internet buzzing with this iconic moment in 2012 — all while wearing a structured black dress.

Angelina Jolie sticks her leg out of her dress at the 2012 Oscars


Angelina Jolie at the 84th Academy Awards in Los Angeles on February 26, 2012.

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In one of the most memorable Oscars’ red carpet moments ever, the actress popped her leg out of her high-slit dress, generating dozens of memes and chatter online.

Although Jolie’s right leg soaked up much of the limelight, her slinky Versace dress was also made famous by the incident. She later told Extra that she felt confident and at ease in the look.

“I had a more complicated dress and I wore the more comfortable dress, which was that one, and I think I was just so comfortable that … I think when you feel comfortable, when you feel yourself — which is very much the theme of [‘Eternals’], and we know this in life — you embrace it,” Jolie said. “And sometimes, maybe it appears to be a thing, I don’t know.”

In the 1972 film “Le Grand Blond avec une chaussure noire” (which translates to “The Tall Blond Man with One Black Shoe” in English), actress Mireille Darc wore a deep-cut, backless dress that stole the show.

Mireille Darc in a backless black dress


Mireille Darc on the set of “Le grand blond avec une chaussure noire.”

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L’Officiel refers to Mireille Darc as one of the “great godmothers-icons” of the backless, black dress.

The model and actress are known for her appearance in the French film, in which she walks around in a velvet dress with an ultra-low back that reaches the top of her buttocks. The dress, which was designed by Guy LaRoche, also features a gold body chain around the waist.

Michelle Obama went with a sleek midi dress for the ESPYS in 2017, and her ensemble was a twist on her refined style.

Michelle Obama walks onstage at the ESPYS in a black midi dress


Michelle Obama speaks at the ESPYS on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.

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The former First Lady’s turn with the little black dress at the ESPYs featured an asymmetrical cut at the neckline and a bodycon silhouette. Vogue reports that the dress was made by one of her “favorite labels,” Cushnie et Ochs.

Obama has been seen in outfits by designers from all over the world, according to the Los Angeles Times, including Junya Watanabe, Azzedine Alaia, Jason Wu, and Moschino. She’s become notable for her sophisticated taste in clothes that never feels stuffy or stiff, which she proved at the 2017 event.

Lady Gaga added some drama to a strapless minidress for a late-night appearance in January 2022.

Lady Gaga in a black minidress and black sunglasses in Los Angeles, California


Lady Gaga is seen outside “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on January 24, 2022 in Los Angeles, California.

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Gaga received a lot of media attention after she was photographed in a black Christian Siriano dress with dramatic tulle sleeves outside “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” where she was promoting her movie “House of Gucci.”

Elle called the singer’s outfit “the diva version of a little black dress,” while Vogue wrote that the look “projected the right amount of retro attitude.” Siriano also shared a photo of Gaga in the dress on his Instagram, writing in the caption that the star was “just divine” in his design.

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