Thursday, June 5, 2008

A Working Wardrobe Staple: The Pantsuit

One of the most significant fashion legacies of the late Yves Saint Laurent was his introduction of the pantsuit for women. "A woman in a pant suit is not masculine at all - a severe and implacable cut only emphasizes her femininity, her seductiveness all the more."

The YSL pantsuit first appeared in the form of a "smoking tuxedo" in the summer haute couture collection of 1966. This alternative to the evening gown became a YSL "signature look and reappeared in each of his subsequent collections.

In January 1968, YSL introduced the safari look pantsuit. He said "I suddenly became aware of the female form. I started to have a dialogue with women and to understand what a modern woman was." His pantsuits revolutionized what was considered acceptable street wear for chic women after the 1968 Paris student uprisings.

And of course, I cannot write about the YSL pantsuits without mentioning the infamous story of socialite Nan Kemper who was turned away from a fashionable Manhattan restaurant because she was wearing a YSL tunic with pants. Instead of leaving, she simply removed the pants and wore the tunic as a very short dress. Talk about elegance under pressure!!

Yves Saint Laurent gave working woman a lasting gift in designing clothes that allowed us to be both powerful and beautiful. Merci Monsieur!!