1992 Chanel Couture Chain Dress


Credit: maryclaire.com

Actress Audrey Hepburn dons a little black dress in the iconic film Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

You have probably seen Chanel’s Black Couture Chain Dress on TikTok after a recent resurgence caused by Lily-Rose Depp (model, actress, and one of Chanel’s ambassadors) who displayed this dress at the 2019 Met Gala with the theme of Camp (meaning “exaggerated”). Because of Depp’s appearance in this 90s dress, people have started to make their own versions of this dress, raising its popularity for yet another decade. 

Christy Turlington in 1992. (Credit: Getty Images)

Chanel’s renewed presence in the 90s was caused by the mastermind Karl Lagerfeld and his ingenious fashion designs which catered to the new generation rather than the past. His most recognized and famous design: the 1992 Black Chanel Couture Chain Dress. 

This Chanel dress was released in Chanel’s Spring/Summer collection of 1992 where “Christy Turlington donned the ultimate Chanel cocktail attire” (Jeniffer Algoo in “Karl Lagerfeld’s 100 Greatest Chanel Runway Moments,” Harpers Bazaar). The dress features a simple black dress embedded and layered with gold chains and flowers. Modern Gurlz on Youtube explains: “The ensemble was not only a clever way of updating the classic little black dress that had been Chanel’s claim to fame, but it was also a brilliant marketing move that drew focus to Chanel’s costume jewelry which at the time, was the brands most profitable product.” 

Many TV shows and movies such as Sailor Moon, which depicts the dress on the character Sailor Pluto, pay homage to the 1992 Chanel Couture Chain Dress. It also plays a key role in the 2009 film Broken Embraces where Penélope Cruz’s character, Lena, wears the dress symbolizing the chains her character wears in the film. 

An infographic frames Chanel’s iconic dress introduced almost a century ago. (Credit: medium.com)

The “little black dress,” which the dress is based on, was a dress created by Coco Chanel in the 1920s. Coco exclaimed to her friend, Paul Morand in 1920: “At about that time, I remember contemplating the auditorium at the Opera from the back of a box…those reds, those greens, those electric blues made me feel ill.  These colors are impossible.  These women, I’m bloody well going to dress them in black…. I imposed black; it’s still going strong today, for black wipes out everything else around.” In 1926, the little black dress was born along with the fame of the House of Chanel.

As Lagerfeld’s ingenious yet elegant dress that nods to Chanel’s claim to fame, the Little Black Dress, continues to stand the test of time with its popularity of each decade.


Abbie Lindblad ‘24, Co-Arts and Entertainment Editor