National Museum of Singapore presents ‘Beauty in Black’

If Black is your favourite colour, get ready to be on Cloud 9 as the National Museum of Singapore turns the spotlight to ‘Beauty in Black”, an exhibition featuring 18 black stunning dresses by renown international and local fashion designers. Here’s an opportunity to find out where our favourite little black dresses (LBD) originated from and at the same time, admire the workmanship of dressmaking from 1950s to 2000s.

One of the 18 dresses that were suspending from the ceiling (instead of a static mannequin), this creation by homegrown fashion designer, Thomas Wee, was cut using only one seam. Known for his impeccable tailoring skills, Thomas changed the focal point of the dress to its deep V back.

The most expensive dress in the house is this 1960s couture piece by Cristobal Balenciaga. Taking inspirations from Spanish heritage, the cape was influenced by the Spanish bullfighters. Take a closer look and you’ll find the embroidery work absolutely flawless and alluring.

It is amazing how designers use different black materials to being out different shades of black in these dresses, and improvise designs using embroidery, sequins, prints, jewels and diamonds. The curator’s favourite piece, created by Rei Wawakubo for Comme des Garçons, uses a structured black wool jacket and a collared silk dress to juxtapose feminine versus masculine.

While we can certainly go on further describing every piece of treasure this exhibition displays, but getting up close and personal with these dresses designed by Karl Lagerfeld for Chloe (when was the head of design at the French house), Dries Van Noten, Hubert de Givenchy, Lanvin pre-Alber Elbaz, Christian Dior, Azzedine Alaia, Thierry Mugler and Benny Ong, and traditional Cheongsams kindly donated by Mdm Zhuo Yu Chun, is a chance not to be missed.

Indeed, it is known that Coco Chanel fashioned the LDB trend, however, it was actually the working class women of 1920s who made it so popular. Even our very first First Lady, Puan Noor Aishah (below) was photographed in black. Black was no longer deemed as inauspicious (only for funerals) in the past, but has become something worth investing in every lady’s wardrobe.

‘Beauty in Black’ runs till June 13 at The National Museum of Singapore, located at 93 Stamford Road, Tel: 6332 3659. Open daily from 10am to 7pm. Admission is free.