ELLE 70th Anniversary Celebration took place at Centre Court, MidValley 2 nights ago. The brand reinvented seven classic black dresses to represent each decade it has spent at the forefront of the fashion world. To celebrate its platinum 70th anniversary this year, ELLE Boutiques will be rolling out reinventions of seven classic black dresses to represent each decade – from the roaring 40s to the 00s. Even with full-on ruffle skirts or kimono sleeves, there are ways to accessorise and modernise the key look from each decade to be more fashionable today.
In the ELLE woman’s spirit of mix-and-matching – a natural for an Parisian woman, “Effortless chic is something that is achieved by playing with the fashion codes,” says Tamara Taichman, leading Parisian stylist, artistic advisor of ELLE Boutiques, Fashion Editor of several popular titles and who also happens to be Fashion Editor of ELLE Paris. With over 20 years of experience at ELLE Magazine and ELLE Boutiques, alongside collaborating with world-class brands, Tamara shares her wealth of fashion knowledge regarding the dresses over the seven decades.
As the 40’s was all about celebration after the passing of a war, fashion was on the rise again. Tamara names Schiaparelli—otherwise known as Chanel’s largest competitor — as the most iconic designer from the era. Regardless, in this decade, a majority of Parisian women did their own sewing. ELLE took the women’s liberation movement seriously and actively encouraged women to both vote and work. To flash back to the decade when ELLE was first founded in 1945, a unique dress that exudes femininity is created. With a full-figured, gently ruffled skirt, and a flattering cut-out belt, it epitomizes the elegance of the 1940s. To modernise this look, Tamara suggests, “Mix this dress with masculine shoes, such as derbies or moccasins.”
The fabulous 50’s are strongly influenced by the glamour of Christian Dior, according to Tamara Taichman. Tiny waists, bouncy skirts and a prissy attitude make up this decade’s “New Look.” Creators gushed over silk, taffeta, embroidery, and beads; however, this wasn’t to everyone’s taste. Still, ELLE’s Fifties dress flaunts a charming knee-length, voluminous skirt, with kimono-style sleeves and an elegant knotted waist belt that sets off the look. “Add a denim jacket to the ensemble,” Tamara says, to bring that casual element to this lady-like look.
Synonymous with sartorial liberation, the 60’s saw a flood of miniskirts, trousers and jeans on the streets. Designers mixed leather with tweed, created head-to-toe fur outfits, and—more scandalous yet— designed tuxedos for women. “Givenchy influenced the shapes and styles in this decade,” Tamara says. Looking very Twiggy, the 60’s LBD is all about a box-style shift dress, with bold, edgy lines and characteristic detailing. For a pop of fun, the stylist recommends colour tights—an affordable, yet playful accessory to really shift the dynamics.
The 70’s fashion is all about prints, being fresh and playful and mixing and matching. It’s a revolution for women! Yves Saint Laurent was an influential style icon.” During this period, designers were notoriously outspoken and brought an element of liberty to their creations. A new sort of femininity emerged including fluid shapes and lines to reflect this desire for change. That sentiment is reflected in ELLE’s flowing shirt dress. Complete with a pussy-bow neck-tie, it toys with masculine and feminine attire with panache. Skip going with the total look for this one though, Tamara advises. “Don’t pair it with accessories from the same decade!”
Think of the 80’s and parties, disco and Madonna springs to mind. Playful spots and stripes turned heads, whilst glitzy rhinestones screamed glam alongside loud plastic accessories. New silhouettes appeared with nipped-in waists and pencil-skirts overwhelmed by the mighty shoulder pad. Designers like Azzedine Alaia, famed for his couture and shoes, was honoured by the Material Girl herself in the music video “Bad Girl”, making him one of the biggest influencers of the decade. To embody this decade’s black dress, sexiness and chicness comes in the form of zippers hugging curvy dresses.
Tamara’s way to make it fully 80’ yet also modern? Sneakers!
In comes the 90’s, when minimalist fashion was at its height. Tamara mentions Helmut Lang, whose clothes spoke only of very sharp lines and careful cuts—it is practically deconstructionist’. The decade also saw the use of third-millennium materials to create asymmetric, sleek, and futuristic pieces. Simple, yet extremely elegant silhouettes in high quality exude a true 90s spirit. For this decade, ELLE has designed an asymmetrical dress with a side slit at just the right place.
Tamara recommends, “Wear your dress with a clutch.”
Last but not least, we see the 00’s bringing with it a wave of globalisation. Fashion moved with a similar rapidity. We shopped online, not just in stores and the press wasn’t the only authority that dispensed fashion advice anymore. Yet, ELLE remained as the cutting edge of current trends and acted as a style guide. While everything, from fashion shows, movie stars to models were studied, reworked, criticised, the female persona was also cut up, broken up and reinvented. Tamara recalls fellow Frenchman Nicolas Ghesquiere as one of the powerhouses of the decade and adds, “For this decade’s dress, mix it with creepers.” To capture the 00’s, a painstakingly crafted dress is created.
MAC Cosmetics sponsored the make-up for ELLE’s 70th Anniversary Celebration Fashion Showcase.