Vogue once called little black dresses the “Ford of the fashion world.” But to André Leon Talley, they’re the Ford, the Corvette and the submarine. The Vogue contributing editor curated “Little Black Dress,” a recently-opened exhibition at the SCAD Museum in Savannah, Ga. (on view until Jan. 27). The show contains what the average lady might envision as a classic LBD, but it ranges far beyond that—from an explosive gown by Oscar de la Renta to a latex number by Norma Kamali. The pieces date from the turn of the century to 2012. “Today a little black dress is everything,” the curator says. “It can be little. It can be big. It can be 70 yards to tulle—it’s up to interpretation.” In honor of the exhibition, TIME looks back at some of the most storied little black dresses through history.