The little black dress is an endearing symbol. Widely accepted to be popularised by Coco Chanel during her heyday, and adopted by the likes of style icons like Audrey Hepburn, Kate Moss, and every other femme fatale one can think of, the LBD (as it is abbreviated) has transcended the vortex of fashion fads and evolved into a lasting classic that remains in the wardrobes of women until this day. Though the LBD will never die, that sartorial emblem of sensuality has given way to a new model on the Spring/Summer 2019 runways: the little white dress.

Unlike its ivory sibling, the little white dress eschews its capacity for seduction in favour of more modest silhouettes. That’s not to say the LWD stands against sexiness, it merely champions form and comfort for its wearer instead of a need to be visually appealing to the observer. This mood is particularly appropriate at a time where the fashion industry seeks to ingrain feminist ideas into the design processes. This is not to say that it is unfeminist to show skin — a woman’s body is her own to reveal and conceal as she wishes — but the LWD is here to stand as an equally empowering alternative that embodies a different message.

This new influx of little white dresses also harkens to the silhouette of the LBD Chanel herself first championed, with its loose bodice and slightly more androgynous look. If you’re wondering why these designers don’t simply return to the roots of the LBD instead of adopting a whole new colour, then let us offer a simple answer. It’s spring. The season and light breezy colours go hand-in-hand, simple as that.

Before you get to shopping, we’ve rounded some of our favourite little white dresses that have walked the runway.

(Featured and hero image credit: Jacquemus.)