For many in the world of fashion, the colour black is the anchor of style. Chanel's Little Black Dress, Danny Zuko's black leather jacket, a well-polished pair of Church's Black Oxfords.
But its proliferation was more an issue of practicality than it was a pursuit of understated chic. Smog in fast-industrialising cities rendered other colours unworkable in the mid 19th century. The sombre image of men and women marching the streets in their black outfits was as much a practical choice as it was a reflection of Victorian restraint.
And while its rise to ubiquity may have its roots in the fashion of the 1800s, its enduring popularity arises from its versatility, adaptability, and flattering silhouette. That said, it's also a slightly tricky colour - on the wrong fabric, it can be very flat, very functional. In the wrong finish, unattractively shiny.