There are some fashion stories that just won’t die. Take, for example, the tale of the white dog dress. It began in 2007 when British socialite Lelia James was photographed wearing a snowflake-patterned dress and matching white fur hat. The resulting photograph was such a success that it appeared on the cover of Vogue UK. Since then, the white dog dress has attained a mythical status among fur and flower fans. It is believed that James wore the dress whilst attending a costume party wearing fur and flowers in Mayfair.
In fact, the white dog dress has so captured the imagination that it was selected as the theme for a 2012 exhibition titled “Fashion Beast: A Retrospective of Louis Vuitton’s Design Choices.” The show featured outfits worn by legendary figures such as Grace Kelly and Marjorie Merriweather Post, and even included some outfits that Louis Vuitton himself designed for Prince Charles.
Similarly, there is the saga of Christian Dior’s Chinchilla fur. It began in the 1950s when the French fashion house began using miniatures of chinchilla fur on the sleeves of some of its designs.
The use of chinchilla fur on the sleeves of ladies’ Dior jackets and coats is now a common sight. It is even considered a status symbol. It is a natural alternative to mink, which is more traditionally used. Thanks to Christian Dior, the chinchilla is now a trendy choice amongst fashion lovers.
Other fashion stories that have transcended the decades include the red-soled shoes worn by Audrey Hepburn in iconic fashion photographer Cecil Beaton’s photograph of her taken in 1958 and the green dress worn by Audrey Hepburn in Roman Polanski’s 1955 film “The Unfaithful Wife.” The film is considered among the most beautiful examples of the use of green in movie costume design.
A Variety of Choices
Other fashion stories that have survived the years include the white dress worn by Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1939 film “The 39 Steps,” the black silk dress worn by Marjorie Merriweather Post in the 1953 film “The President’s Lady,” the red dress worn by Barbara Hutton in the 1942 movie “Holiday Inn,” and the white dress worn by Elizabeth Taylor in John Ford’s 1939 film “They Were Expendable.”
If the white dress is considered a classic choice amongst fashion fans, it is because there is such a wide variety of white outfits to choose from. It is possible to create a look that is completely appropriate for various events and situations. This is something that cannot be said for many other fashions.
One of the reasons that white is such a strong theme across the decades can be attributed to the fashion photographers that have created some of the most memorable images in the history of photography. It was, in fact, the famous photographer Cecil Beaton who is credited with popularizing the use of chinchilla fur on the sleeves of ladies’ Dior jackets. He did this because he considered the fur-lined coats and jackets suitable for wearing at the opera or at a gala.
Thanks in part to photographers such as Cecil Beaton, the white dress has become almost as much a part of the cultural landscape as the chinchilla itself. This is particularly the case in the United Kingdom, where many people still consider it bad form to wear fur whilst attending an evening event. So much so, that in 2011 alone, the British government issued more than 2.9 million fur-stocking licenses, worth about £64.5 million.
Fur and Flowers Are Always in Fashion
The fashion for fur and flowers is as strong as ever. In fact, it seems that the demand for these elements is increasing year after year. It was, in fact, London 2012 that saw the revival of the flower dress and the rise of the Botox-beauty. However, these trends were not restricted to the United Kingdom. Worldwide, the demand for fur and flowers appears to be growing.
It was in 2012 that the fashion for fur and flowers was given a contemporary twist. This was courtesy of Marc Jacobs’ brand new line, Marc Jacobs Floral. Floral is a direct reaction to the apathy that many people felt towards spring and summer following the icy temperatures of the previous year. This reaction manifested itself in the form of floral-themed designs. It was, however, not just about giving the spring and summer a run for their money. Jacobs wanted to offer a way for people to celebrate the beauty of nature once more.
It is interesting to note that, with the exception of mink, all of the furs and flowers that Jacobs used are naturally sourced products. This is something that is becoming increasingly important to designers and fashion houses who want to promote sustainability. With nature so bountiful, it only makes sense to use as many natural and sustainable materials as possible.
Whether attending a wedding, birthday party, or just an everyday casual get-together, it is always pleasant to see fashion houses and brands continue to pay homage to some of the most iconic dresses and outfits from the past.