Suit Up: Exploring the tuxedo fashion trend

Suit Up: Exploring the tuxedo fashion trend

By: Catarina Vasques Rito

Tuxedo fashion is one of the biggest trends at the moment. From Haute Couture collections to Limited Editions, suits stand out for the timeless elegance they grant the female form

Yves Saint Laurent gave women some of the pieces they had long coveted. In fact, the brand was the first couturier to introduce them into its faultless collections. In the 1870s, actress Sarah Bernhardt shocked Parisian society when she wore a tailor-made suit, which she called her “boy’s clothes”.

In the 1930s, German actress Marlene Dietrich wore a suit in the films Morocco (1930) and Blonde Venus (1932), both by Austrian-American director Josef von Sternberg. During the ‘40s, Mexican-American women wore the famous zoot suits — which were also used by jazz musicians, to separate themselves from the middle-class white man — as a symbol of rebellion and resistance to the stereotypes imposed to women’s role in society back then: that they should be home taking care of the children.

Other actresses who fell for the allure of two- and three-piece suits include Katherine Hepburn and Kim Novak. The latter wore a suit in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958), created by costume designer Edith Head (one of Hollywood’s biggest names), who was also responsible for the green suits used by Tippi Hedren’s character in Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963). Launched in 1966, Yves Saint Lau- rent’s Le Smoking for women was hailed as “his greatest creation”.

A tuxedo is highlighted by the sensual curves of the female silhouette, breaking through the severe image associated with the male universe. It is worth noting that the beauty of this piece of menswear lies in its construction, where the raw materials have a crucial role (the better the fabric, the better the final result).

Haute Couture collections for all coming seasons have succumbed to this fashion classic, regardless of fleeting trends. Echoing just that are the offers from collections by Alberta Ferretti, Alexandre Vauthier, Christian Dior, Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, Givenchy, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Ralph & Russo, Ronald van der Kemp, Schiaparelli, Sonia Rykiel or Viktor&Rolf.

Among these luxury lines, the suit can in some cases have a very party-oriented design, in an inspirational mix between a smoking and a classic-cut, two- or three-piece suit. In a professional or party context, suits are always a safe option; the modern approach can, and should, be in the details and/or colour where fabric has an important role to play. Women’s suits can play with high-rise (wide-leg) or narrow trouser models (cigarette), or straight-cut with regular rise. As for the jacket, the choice of model can fall on one to four buttons; simple or double breasted; fitted or straight cut; padded shoulders or not.

Your choices should match your taste and style. And, of course, suits can be wonderfully paired with male-inspired shoes (oxfords, brogues or loafers), high heels (stilettos) and even sneakers.

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