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The Fashion Memo

10 of the best little black dresses

Solving sartorial dilemmas since day one, the LBD is a crucial element of a great closet. This season, fashion’s ultimate fail-safe has been given the bad-girl treatment – think higher hems, embellishment, leather and cutouts – elevating it from fallback to first choice

Featuring Ellery, Versace and Tom Ford SS18

Women everywhere will be forever indebted to Coco Chanel for a multitude of reasons, from the rise of larger-than-life costume jewelry to the popularization of pants. But chief among her achievements? The invention of the LBD. Back in 1926, Chanel debuted the first little black dress, a form-fitting, knee-length number that transformed fashion forever. Since then, this wear-anywhere-anytime item has become a key part of our wardrobes. Loved by everyone from Debbie Harry and Princess Diana to Madonna and the Supers, the LBD’s back catalogue is a testament to its universal appeal.

So how can you improve on a classic? For SS18, designers have revisited this wardrobe staple and turned it into a trophy piece. Whether you’re drawn to Ellery’s architectural designs, Versace’s high-octane embellishment or Tom Ford’s Matrix-style leathers, the new souped-up LBDs promise to take your after-dark look to another level. Finish with anything from a classic pointed pump to strappy sandals, as long as the heels are vertiginous – this look isn’t about holding back. These dresses may be little, but they pack a punch.