André Leon Tally’s Little Black Dress at SCAD

In honor of André Leon Talley, Madge revisits this post on the SCAD “Little Black Dress exhibit originally published in 2012.

Madge recently got a chance to view “The Little Black Dress” exhibit at the SCAD Museum of Art (the Savannah College of Art and Design), curated by André  Leon Talley in Savannah, Georgia.  Luckily, gal pal, Kathy had a business trip in Savannah so Madge motored over from Atlanta to meet up and see the show.


Savannah College of Art & Design

André Leon Tally

André Leon Talley born in 1948, was an American fashion journalist, stylist, creative director, and editor-at-large of Vogue magazine. He was the magazine’s fashion news director from 1983 to 1987, its first African-American male creative director from 1988 to 1995, and then its editor-at-large from 1998 to 2013. A true fashion icon, he was known for supporting emerging designers and advocating for diversity in the fashion industry.

André leon talley
Andre Leon Talley, 2009,
Courtesy of David Shankbone, CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The Little Black Dress

The little black dress, the term believed to be coined by Coco Channel, has been the go-to outfit in every woman’s wardrobe from the 30’s onward. This show not only featured this fashion design icon but also the most important fashion designers from the 1900s to now.

SCAD Book Shop
Madge & Kathy at the SCAD Bookstore. Don't you love the columns covered in books?

Talley design vividly red walls to set off the 73 different dresses and almost as many different designers.  It’s quite a mashup to see so many styles all in a row.  The photo police were not on duty this time so Madge happily snapped away without the threat of arrest!

SCAD little black dress by André Leon Talley

Stella McCartney’s Column Dress from 2011 leads the way

Oscar de la Renta Gown Tulle & Silk Taffeta, 2012

A showstopper ball gown by Oscar de la Renta held the place of honor and it’s a real beauty.

1907. Fortuny Delphos Dress, pleated silk, cording, glass beadsjpg

Talley’s selections were mostly from the last 15 years but there were a few vintage gems in the bunch.  The oldest was an absolutely gorgeous gown from 1907 by Fortuny. Pleated silk, cording, and glass beads.

1957 Balenciaga lace cage dress

Check out this Balenciaga number from 1957.  A lace cage dress. 

Pierre Cardin Tiered Silk Dress 1960s

Madge loved this Pierre Cardin look from the 1960s.

There were also many fabulous vintage-inspired designs.  This 2012 Tom Ford looks like it’s right out of the 50s.  A white version of this dress was worn by Gwyneth Paltrow to last year’s Academy Awards.  If you google it the dress looks completely different in white.

2012 Tom Ford Column Dress, SCAD, André Leon talley
Ralph Lauren Silk Chiffon Deco Spangles 2011, Silk Crepe & embroidery 2011

Two Ralph Lauren dresses from 2011 really caught Madge’s attention, one an art deco masterpiece and the other a demure 50s-style gown.

YSL Le Smoking

Yves St. Laurent even did a take on his own famous Le Smoking Jacket from the 1970s with this gown that had Madge absolutely panting.

André leon talley Scad little black dress, 2012

Talley displayed some wit with this louche lineup who look like they are waiting for next the bus.  and tossing some blue and red into the mix.

The Takeaway

Madge’s only quibble was the very confusing numbering scheme that left this old broad constantly flipping through the brochure trying to figure out at which dress she was gazing.

It was hard to pick a favorite.  André Leon Talley showed an amazing range of styles and eras in this SCAD exhibit and certainly, the Fortuny was the most beautiful and the YSL the most sophisticated.  But in the end the Madame Gris Stingray dress won the day as Madge’s fave at this show.

Madame Gris Stingray Dress 1977
Love & Hats Madge

P.S.  Love vintage dresses?  Check out Madge’s tribute to Pierre Cardin.

Comment Below


  1. Amazing pictures! I wish I lived closer, at least I had this great article to look at!

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