“My idea of chic is that everyone in the world would have the same dress,” Norman Norell once said. “And the chicest woman would be whoever could do the best thing with it.”
A roomful of women in matching dresses might be unthinkable — outside a Robert Palmer video — but a roomful of black-and-whites comes close.
Monochrome was what powered both Ralph Lauren’s influential spring collection and Tom Ford’s spring debut for Yves Saint Laurent. And just as Mr. Norell might have hoped, its built-in limitations force women to summon real personal style.
So it was at Celine’s dinner for the American Ballet Theater Monday night, where one saw
not the black-and-white of minimalism but the black-and-white of old-school elegance — from Deauville to Hollywood.
“What’s interesting is it’s bad girl versus good girl,” said Tiffany Dubin, who found her feathered blouse in a basement shop in Buenos Aires.
“Black and white is the
ultimate picture frame forpeople’s personalities,” Michael Kors explained. “Fifty women could be in the same room inblack and white, and they would all look different.”

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