Olympic Gymnast Jonathan Horton Photographed with Model Karlie Kloss by Annie Leibovitz for the June Issue of Vogue
Joan Smalls Photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited
by Lynn Yaeger
Clockwise from top left: Dakota Fanning, Elizabeth Olsen, Clémence Poésy, and Astrid Bergès-Frisbey.
Photo: Karl Lagerfeld/Courtesy of Chanel
In 1926, Vogue, writing about Chanel’s revolutionary Little Black Dress, likened the frock, which had just appeared on the fashion scene, to a Model-T Ford, a vehicle available in just one color (the same shade as Coco’s dress) and devoid of excess embellishment, a startlingly democratic innovation that turned upside-down conventional notions of luxury and poverty—at least when it came to car, and dress, shopping. Lacking superfluous ornamentation, taking its cues from menswear, one LBD on a peg could vanquish an armoire bursting with fussy Edwardian gowns.
Now, 86 years later, the house of Chanel has focused its laser gaze on the LBJ (hint—not the 36th American president), launching The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited, by Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld, which will be published late this summer, and is being celebrated with a fete in SoHo tonight. The book showcases well-known personalities, from Yoko Ono to Sarah Jessica Parker (another triplicate monogram) donning the LBJ, and a selection of photographs from the tome will decorate the walls of the space. (The exhibit is open to the public from June 8 through June 15.)
It may not revel in the spotlight quite as much as the scene-hogging LBD, but the LBJ, in its own quiet way, is every bit its equal, as relied upon as a pair of jeans, a trusted boot, a cashmere pullover. And like those necessities, its very ubiquity means the LBJ must flirt with perfection, balancing just the right combination of swagger and sobriety, the winning formula of the offhand and the deliberate.
The house of Chanel, of course, offers a wealth of examples that meet these delectable requirements, but many other designers are issuing their own wonderful interpretations of the LBJ for fall 2012. (And, no, it’s not too soon to think about this—it’s almost July; fall clothes will be in stores any day now!) In the slideshow above, Vogue.com samples the most irresistible LBJs arriving for the new season.
Learn more about Chanel on Voguepedia.com.
Olympic Gymnast Alexandra Raisman Photographed by Bruce Weber for the June Issue of Vogue
NOSTALGIA: Photographed by Irving Penn for the December 1, 1959 Issue of Vogue
NOSTALGIA: Models Jean Patchett and Carmen Dell’Orefice Photographed by Cecil Beaton for the April 1, 1949 Issue of Vogue
Australian Surfer Stephanie Gilmore Photographed by Boo George for the June Issue of Vogue
Visit Vogue.com for a guide to summer surfwear.
Model Joan Smalls Photographed by Patrick Demarchelier for the June Issue of Vogue
Jennifer Lopez Photographed by Mario Testino for the June Issue of Vogue
BEHIND THE SCENES: Vogue’s June Cover Shoot